The Art Scene
Published: September 4, 2013
The city’s art scene may not get the same level of national attention as the music scene but it is every bit as vibrant. And with the planned extension of the Station North Arts District, the new Bromo Tower Arts and Entertainment District on the west side, and the partnership of Single Carrot Theatre and Woodberry Kitchen in Remington, there will be even more venues to accommodate the growing number of artists, who are deciding?like the Wham City collective did almost a decade ago when they relocated to the city, and Single Carrot did when they moved from Colorado shortly after that?that Baltimore is one of the best places in the country to make art. And with filmmakers like Matthew Porterfield and Lotfy Nathan blowing up the festival circuit, the rest of the country might just start to recognize that as well.
American Visionary Art Museum
800 Key Highway, (410) 244-1900, avam.org
Take care not to be blinded when approaching this building on a sunny day: It’s covered in mirrored mosaics bright enough to set a fleet of ships on fire. The inside is just as whimsical, featuring the weird works of self-taught artists on the fringe. The store on the first level has anything you could imagine ever needing, and several things you never thought of.
Baltimore Museum of Art
10 Art Museum Drive, (443) 573-1700, artbma.org
Home of the billion-dollar post-Impressionism Cone Collection, the BMA also has a large sampling of 19th-century, modern, and contemporary art, the last of which is housed in the museum’s impressive new Contemporary Wing. With its director, Doreen Bolger, arguably the city’s biggest booster of artists, the museum itself has once again become central to the city’s art scene. Sit with Rodin’s “The Thinker” before you go to the sculpture gardens on a journey through the figurative to the abstract. And it’s free.
Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture
830 E. Pratt St., (443) 263-1800, rflewismuseum.org
This museum, dedicated to African-American history, is distinguished by its powerful curation of shows, such as Growing up AFRO: Snapshots of Black Childhood from the Afro-American Newspaper, or Ashe to Amen African Americans and Biblical Imagery.
Walters Art Museum
600 N. Charles St., (410) 547-9000, thewalters.org
Since the Walters is free, we often slip away to spend a few minutes with one of our favorite pieces or in one of our favorite periods: the stunning sarcophagus with Dionysus and Ariadne; or maybe “Chamber of Wonders,” which recreates a cabinet of curiosities from the European Age of Exploration, filled with stuffed birds and giant beetles and curiosities of human ingenuity and the natural world. You could immerse yourself in the Mesopotamian, the ancient Egyptian, Greek, or medieval for days or weeks at a time. Check out the special exhibitions on rotation.
Art Centers and Galleries
405 E. Oliver St., (410) 528-1968, area405.com
This massive, artist-owned warehouse is the perfect place to go see a clandestine performance after dark or to see an out-there group show. Located in the Station North Arts District, it’s close to tons of other art spaces.
C. Grimaldis Gallery
523 N. Charles St., (410) 539-1080, cgrimaldisgallery.com
One of Baltimore’s only high-end, big-name, selling galleries, Grimaldis plays a unique role in the art scene here. But the venerable nature of the gallery doesn’t take away its edge.
Creative Alliance at the Patterson
3134 Eastern Ave., (410) 276-1651, creativealliance.org
This Highlandtown creative art center hosts something almost every night, from gallery shows to music performances to film screenings and more. They also do community outreach, offer workshops, host parties, and have a fantastic bar/restaurant on the premises. Seriously, this is the place to be on any given day.
3000 Chestnut Ave., Studio 214, (410) 366-2001, goyacontemporary.com
Goya represents major artists like Joyce J. Scott and Soledad Salame, and produces an impressive array of publications.
Guest Spot @ the Reinstitute
1715 N. Calvert St., guestspot.org
Curator Rod Malin moved this gallery from his Fells Point home into the Station North Arts District with a radical idea. In addition to curating a wide variety of shows, Malin hopes that the Guest Spot can provide a kind of alternative art education with programming, lectures, and students.
405 W. Franklin St.
The H&H Building hosts several different galleries and performance spaces, including Nudashank and Gallery Four (two of the best galleries in town).
Load of Fun
120 W. North Ave., loadoffun.net
The former home of Single Carrot and Glass Mind theaters and a number of artists studios is closed right now. We keep the listing, knowing that this address will be valuable to you. Something cool will be there.
Maryland Art Place
8 Market Place, Power Plant Live, Suite 100, (410) 962-8565, mdartplace.org
Maryland Art Place, or MAP, feels like a bit of Station North snuck into David Cordish’s Power Plant Live complex. With powerful curation of ambitious shows and the Curators’ Incubator program to help train new curators, MAP is redesigning the, er, map of Baltimore’s cultural landscape.
Maryland Institute College of Art
1300 W. Mount Royal Ave., (410) 669-9200, mica.edu
Spread across MICA’s Bolton Hill campus, on the edge of Mount Vernon, are a number of galleries featuring the works of graduate and undergraduate students, professors, and working artists. You have the chance to see art of every medium, from video to video game art, from high-caliber artists who know how to put on a show.
School 33 Art Center
1427 Light St., (443) 263-4350, school33.org
There’s always something different going on at this Federal Hill space. The former brick-and-brownstone building is home to ever-changing gallery shows and studio and classroom space for artists and the community.
510 W. Franklin St., sophiajacob.com
This new artist-run gallery on the west side shows what a little ambition and a lot of talent can do.
1511 Guilford Ave., B303
This gallery in the Copycat Building is one of the brightest lights in Station North—both literally and figuratively.
Station North Chicken Box
1 W. North Ave., stationnorth.org
The new headquarters of Station North Arts and Entertainment Inc. acts as a welcome center for the district, an art gallery, and a theater.
1 W. North Ave., baltimoreannextheater.org
This scrappy experimental theater does everything from adaptations of Philip K. Dick to gender-bending Macbeth.
700 N. Calvert St., (410) 986-4000, centerstage.org
This professional powerhouse offers lively new seasons year after year; this year’s has a bit of everything, including classics such as Twelfth Night (March 5-April 6) and comedic musicals such as Animal Crackers (Sept. 4-Oct. 13).
315 W. Fayette St., (410) 752-2208, everymantheatre.org
With the slogan “Engage. Inspire. Transform.,” this professional theater company shapes the local theater landscape with a mix of time-honored classics and innovative programming in their gorgeous new location.
Fells Point Corner Theatre
251 S. Ann St., (410) 276-7837, fpct.org
Operating out of an old firehouse, this group brings theater to one of the city’s most historical districts.
Glass Mind Theatre
307 W. Baltimore St., (443) 475-0223, glassmindtheatre.com
This group of young artists strives to connect theater to the Baltimore community.
12 N. Eutaw St., (410) 837-7400, france-merrickpac.com
This stunning historic building hosts traveling Broadway shows, such as this year’s production of The Book of Mormon.
3600 Clipper Mill Road, mobtownplayers.net
This theater, in the former London Fog factory at Meadow Mills, hosts the Mobtown Players, who present stunning reimaginings of classics along with original fare.
Single Carrot Theatre
1727 N. Charles St., (443) 844-9253, singlecarrot.com
This troupe moved to Baltimore from Colorado en masse. Having left their longtime home in the Load of Fun, they now occupy the former Everyman, but plan to move to a new home in Remington next year.
817 St. Paul St., (410) 752-1225, spotlighters.org
After celebrating 50 years of theater, the Spotlighters aggressively put on large-scale productions in their small, in-the-round theater.
45 W. Preston St., (410) 752-8558, theatreproject.org
This group has been actively seeking experimental programming to show in its black box theater since the early 1970s.
806 S. Broadway, (410) 563-9135, vagabondplayers.org
Contrary to the meaning of their name, this group is sticking around to produce some entertaining theater; it’s the oldest continuously operated community theater in the United States.