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Downtown Baltimore is getting multiple new digital billboards

Downtown Partnership President Shelonda Stokes envisions the digital displays serving as “a free marketing resource for small and local businesses."

The digital billboard in Downtown Baltimore. (Courtesy Downtown Partnership of Baltimore)
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The Downtown Partnership of Baltimore (DPOB) has collaborated with DC-based Capitol Outdoor Media and Orange Barrel Media (OBM), a sister company of IKE Smart City, to launch a digital sign network north of the Inner Harbor.

OBM’s first “digital spectacular,” or electronic billboard, is already in place, with plans for six more by January 2024 and another by summer 2024. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in Downtown yesterday to celebrate the first billboard in the new network.

OBM has offices in Ohio, California and New York. CEO Pete Scantland expressed gratitude for the company’s Baltimore partners in an announcement.

“We value our longstanding partnership with DPOB and the City of Baltimore, and we appreciate the continued collaboration and leadership from the City on this project,” Scantland said. “Since our founding nearly 20 years ago, we have been committed to a community-oriented model of outdoor media. We are honored to highlight the amazing art and artists of Baltimore as part of our ongoing programming and look forward to partnering with BMoreArt, Visit Baltimore, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and dozens of other organizations on a new model for outdoor media that will benefit the entire city.”

Another similar installation, the Shanklin Media LED Art Billboard on Charles Street, was unveiled at Artscape in 2014. That billboard, positioned seemingly atop Metro Gallery, runs ads while also showcasing local artists. OBM is similarly collaborating with the arts-focused publication BmoreArt to feature local artists and community content across multiple new digital signs throughout the city.

“We are thrilled to see vibrant images of Baltimore-based artists and culture on so many kiosks and billboards throughout the city,” said Bmore Art Founding Editor Cara Ober. “In many cases, we have been alerted to their presence via social media photos where audiences celebrate these images and tag us in their posts.”

A group of people standing behind a red ribbon in front of digital billboard.

Shelonda Stokes (second from left) with others at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the digital spectacular. (Courtesy DPOB)

Six of the signs, equipped with dimming sensors, were approved in 2022 by the city’s Planning Commission. They can adjust brightness according to the time of day and be manually dimmed. DPOB President Shelonda Stokes highlighted the project’s multifaceted benefits in the announcement.

“Our team has been shepherding this project through its many phases over the last few years and today is a milestone,” Stokes said. “These billboards will provide much more for our community than meets the eye. They will serve as a free marketing resource for small and local businesses, a space to spotlight artists who call Charm City home, and open the door for Baltimore to host future world-class sporting events.”

Besides the aforementioned partnerships, plans for the new digital signage network also include promotion plans via Visit Baltimore, Charm TV, DPOB BOOST businesses and the Squeegee Collaborative.

Companies: Visit Baltimore / Downtown Partnership of Baltimore / City of Baltimore

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