The next Wallace and Gromit may well get its start on Pennsylvania Avenue.
A Towson University stop-motion animation class, a collaboration between its departments of art and electronic media and film, is being held on the ground floor of Towson Commons, in a converted former cell phone shop.
Between now and the end of the semester, passers-by will be able to watch students build scenery and characters during the class, held Mondays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. In the class, students will create a short stop-motion film from scratch.
Moving the class up the road to Towson Commons was for more than show, said Susan Picinich, the dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication.
"They're using that space to have a large space to set up the sets that they're working with and move around the figures ... without being disturbed as they move from one class to the other," Picinich said. "Also, the notion of doing the work in a place the public could see it was appealing."
Picinich said the agreement to use the space at Towson Commons was only in place for the spring semester.
A spokeswoman for Cushman and Wakefield, the brokerage firm that manages leasing for Towson Commons, could not be reached for comment on Monday afternoon.
The retail space at Towson Commons has sat largely empty since owner Capmark Finance ended its lease with longtime tenant AMC Theaters last year.
"I'm just really excited to say something's happening in there," said Nancy Hafford, executive director of the Towson Chamber of Commerce. Hafford expressed hope that the university could host more classes and galleries in the building.
The university's art department also shares a gallery with Towson Arts Collective on the ground floor of Towson Commons, facing York Road. The university was also in negotiations last year to move various offices and classrooms into Towson Commons; those talks broke down.