20 Questions with Auni Gelles

Jan. 12, 2024

Get to know our newest Live Baltimore team members with a good, old-fashioned round of 20 Questions! This installment features Program Manager Auni Gelles.

How long have you lived in Baltimore City?

15 years

Which neighborhood do you currently live in?

Glenham-Belhar in the Northeast, after 12 years in Hampden.

Are you a homeowner or a renter?

Homeowner

If you had to live in a different Baltimore neighborhood, which would you choose and why? (Pretend money is no object.)

I’ve always loved Dickeyville, which feels like an English country village nestled in Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park. Those historic stone houses are so charming.

What’s the best thing to do in Baltimore City on a Saturday night…go!

I am not much of a night owl, so I would say gathering with friends around a cozy backyard firepit, making s’mores, and having our kids play around us.

What is still on your Baltimore “to-do” list?

There are SO many restaurants I have yet to visit, including some in my own neighborhood! I hope to make it to Silver Queen and Koco’s Pub soon.

Who is your favorite Baltimore mascot: Mr. Boh, the oriole bird, Poe (the raven), or someone else?

The Oriole Bird! Let’s Go, O’s.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone moving to Baltimore from out of town?

Like many things in life, you’ll get out what you put into it. If you do a little research on what’s happening, you will no doubt find some amazing stuff—from block parties, parades, festivals, and performances to shops, restaurants, and markets.

What do you love the most about the city?

The people. There are so many interesting folks—both transplants and natives—committed to the city and doing great work in their respective fields.

What is your preferred mode of transportation?

In an ideal world, I’d be able to walk everywhere.

What is your favorite feature of the city?

I love that we have such a range of green spaces within the city and many more just a short drive away.

Besides Live Baltimore, what other local nonprofits do you support?

I’m on the board of the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House and a member of Baltimore Heritage. I am also a proud graduate of Goucher College and remain involved with my alma mater.

What’s your favorite outdoor city activity?

We have some amazing annual events that take place outside. I try to make it to the Kinetic Sculpture Race, Artscape, Fiesta Baltimore, Great Halloween Lantern Parade, and the Mayor’s Christmas Parade in Hampden just about every year.

What is your superpower?

Staying organized!

Which Baltimore celebrity (past or present) would you most like to have dinner with?

Mary Pickersgill.

What is your favorite locally-made product?

I’m a big fan of stationery from Tiny Dog Press and Drama MaMa Bookshop, and prints from the Globe Collection and Press at MICA. And perhaps the tofu brah bowl from Ekiben.

What is one thing you want the world to know about Baltimore?

The cost of living isn’t the only thing that makes Baltimore an amazing place to live (though it certainly helps)—there’s so much to discover here.

What is one thing you’d still like to learn about Baltimore?

I would like to become more familiar with all 279 neighborhoods, both on paper and IRL—and hopefully get to know Baltimoreans in each one!

What three words best describe your work personality?

Detail-oriented, systematic, and practical.

What excites you most about joining the Live Baltimore team?

I’m looking forward to building upon the amazing work that Live Baltimore has been doing for 25+ years. I truly appreciated Live Baltimore’s resources when househunting in 2022 and look forward to being on the other side of the table to answer questions, connect like-minded people, and generate civic pride.

We’ve had fun introducing you to our new colleague! Look for more installments of this series in the future as our team continues to grow. You can read more about Glenham-Belhar on our Neighborhoods page.