Priya Bhayana is the inaugural Director of the Bromo Tower Arts & Entertainment District. Priya grew up in Annapolis and, after stints in Connecticut (for college) and Chicago (for the architecture), she came back to Maryland to serve an AmeriCorps year as a Community Organizer in the Baltimore neighborhood Greenmount West. She then worked at the Maryland Institute College of Art supporting the college’s community-based art and design initiatives. Priya is also a founding Trustee of the Baltimore Chapter of the Awesome Foundation and a member of a newly-formed collective working to address social inequity through participatory education and cultural production.
Name: Priya Bhayana
Occupation: Director, Bromo Tower Arts & Entertainment District
Baltimore Neighborhood: I spend most of my waking hours in the Bromo District. Sleeping hours: my house in Ednor Gardens.
Obsessive Collections: I have an obscene amount of things made of fleece – most of which were gifted to me by family when I lived in Chicago, where they apparently thought I was freezing to death.
Currently Reading: W.E.B. DuBois, The Quest of the Silver Fleece.
Coolest Place You’ve Ever Been: Villa de Leyva, Colombia.
Hobbies or Leisure Activities: When I have nowhere to be, I love just walking through the city with no particular destination. I could walk forever.
Favorite Food to Eat at Home: Anything my culinary genius roommate bakes.
Favorite Food to Eat Out: Crispy Polenta sticks with eggplant ragout at Birroteca in Hampden. Crispy outside, melt-in-your-mouth inside. I want it right now and always.
Favorite Beverage of Choice: Vanilla almond milk.
Political Leanings: Experimental. I believe in fair and equitable development, and exploring alternative policies, actions and ways of thinking that support this.
Favorite Baltimore spot to hang out: The chaise lounge in the sunroom of my house. It is the place where I go to pretend that I’m going to do work and then fall asleep.
Pets: Technically none of my own, but my roommates collectively have 3: Mason (lab-pit mix) and 2 devil cats, Pippi and Amos. I also, very recently and briefly, had a 4-week-old gray tabby named DJ Tummy Scratch that my friend and I found in Brooklyn and thought was a stray. Scratch and I traveled by train to Soho, we made plans over brunch for a life together in Baltimore, and I returned to Brooklyn only to realize that I’d stolen him from my friend’s neighbor. I will love him forever.
Favorite Artist, Living or Dead: Taryn Simon. Rick Lowe. I also want every scene of my life to be designed by Yayoi Kusama.
Movie that Sums Up the Current State of Your Life: “A League of Their Own.” Baltimore has some talented, brilliant and just plain badass women, many of whom I’m proud to call friends and sure, teammates. I am also quite certain that I look just like Mae (Madonna) when I dance.
Favorite Bad Habit: On occasion, I’ll eat food with dairy even though I’m very lactose intolerant. Because, pizza.
Mantra or Favorite Quote: “When sh*t brings you down, just say ‘f*ck it’, and eat yourself some motherf*cking candy.” – David Sedaris