Escape to Artscape
America's Largest Free Art Festival Returns
From Friday, July 20 – Sunday, July 22, Artscape returns to the streets of Baltimore for three days of art, entertainment, local food and drinks, craft vendors and more. Artscape, which started in 1982 and attracts more than 350,000 attendees annually, is America’s largest free arts festival.
In past years, Artscape has had a theme, but this year, organizers said they are going “back to the basics” and simply celebrating art. Artscape 2018 will feature an Artists’ Market with 150+ vendors and craftspeople; live concerts on three outdoor stages; outdoor sculpture and art installations; visual art exhibits; performing arts including dance, street theater, jazz, opera and classical music; and film, experimental music and a comedy club.
Artwork, events and activities will be spread out along Mount Royal Avenue & Cathedral Street, Charles Street, Bolton Hill, and the Station North Arts & Entertainment District neighborhoods. Artscape, which is produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, is held outdoors in tents, and inside the neighborhood’s exhibition spaces and performing arts venues.
Artscape’s main music stage, sponsored by MICA features international and regional singers and musicians from different music genres. Nineties R&B group TLC, reggae band Toots & the Maytals and blues rocker ZZ Ward are the headliners. Admission for all parts of Artscape, including the concerts is free.
There are several new highlights for 2018, including more youth-focused programming. Both performance and visual art (indoor and outdoor) by Baltimore’s talented youth artists, makers, and performers will be featured throughout opening day. There’s also a new Kidscape Performance Space in Pearlstone Park, which is an interactive platform with demonstrations and performances, featuring education and entertainment, with programming from a wide range of organizations.
Teenscape at Pearlstone Park will feature teen programming such as a chalk art mural, a special effects makeup tutorial, a photo booth, and a lounge area for friends and family to watch the photo session and learn about the photography process.
Silent Disco dance parties are a full sensory experience, as a crowd of people are dancing wearing wireless headphones, but no music can be heard. As guests walk in, they will be handed their own pair of headphones to enjoy a diverse sampling of dance music from some of Baltimore’s best DJs.
Squonk Opera’s Pneumatica is an event about air, made of air and powered by air. The Squonkers pump up the volume with live original music that permeates the air, while inflatables pump up and immerse the audience. Figures and tentacles grow, powered by blowers and vortex fans, and culminate in the 40-foot high Lady Pneumatica who incorporates a wind turbine on her head. Music includes electronic bagpipes and a vertical accordion.
New to the comedy portion of Artscape this year is the BIG-Baltimore Improv Group. Experience free improv workshops all three days of the festival, and attend free improv shows Friday and Saturday night. These shows all lead up to Artscape’s pop-up comedy club, LOL@Artscape, which features approximately 20 local and regional standup comedians.
If all that walking is leaving you too tired to explore, you can always grab a free pedicab ride during festival hours. Pedicab rides take place on Mt. Royal Avenue, between Maryland Avenue and Lafayette Ave.
Artscape will have local brews from The Brewer’s Art and Monument City Brewing Company, plus Natty BOH, in addition to wine and orange crushes. According to organizers, all proceeds from the festival’s beverage stands directly benefit the festival, helping to ensure that Artscape stays free and open to the public.
More than 30 Maryland food vendors such as Rouge Fine Catering, CREPE, Ekiben, the Local Oyster, Connie’s Chicken & Waffles, and Otterbein Cookies will be on hand for the festival. Vegetarian and vegan options will also be available, along with desserts, snow balls and ice cream vendors to end your day with something sweet. Ar tscape
Friday, July 20 — Sunday, July 22
Friday: 11am-9pm, Saturday: 11am-9pm, Sunday: 11am-7pm
The Patricia and Arthur Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric
140 West Mt. Royal Avenue, 21201 Admission: Free
For more information, go to http://www.artscape. org/about.