Artscape, America’s largest free arts festival, will take place this weekend Friday, July 21 – Sunday, July 23 in Baltimore. The streets of the cities arts district will be packed with a variety of things to see and do including: concerts, street theater, opera, performance arts, dance, photography, comedy acts, films, DJ’s, outdoor sculptures and exhibits, food and beverage vendors, artist markets, and much more.
With so much to see and do, here is a list of 9 things that I consider a must to see or experience during Artscape.
Location: 1400 Cathedral Street, near Mount Royal Avenue
There are a number of musical acts that are worth checking out this coming weekend at Artscape. Not just on the Mainstage, but also on the Morgan St. University Sound Off Live! Stage, Johns Hopkins University Station North Stage, and the many other performance spaces throughout the festival.
With that said, there are two performances that I am looking forward to on Artscape’s Mainstage because of past experiences and the energy that they bring to the stage. On Friday, July 21, make sure you have claimed a good spot in front of the Main Stage by 6:30 p.m., the area fills up fast, for Sheila E. Her set kicks off at 7:30 p.m., and if you have never seen her perform live you will not be disappointed. The musicianship and showmanship that she displays is amazing.
On Saturday, July 22, again make sure you have claimed a good spot in front of the Main Stage by 6:30 p.m., the area fills up fast, for Gogol Bordello. Their set will keep you on your feet and entertained. They are scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. I’m looking forward to photographing their performance. Click here to see photos from when I photographed the band during their 2014 performance in Baltimore.
Location: Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric, 140 West Mount Royal Avenue
The Argentinian dance company, Che Malambo, will take up residence in the Modell Performing Arts Center for two days and four performances. The company combines precision footwork, rhythmic stomping, drumming and song, which is at the heart of the gaucho (South American cowboy) tradition, to create their productions. This current production was created by director and choreographer Gilles Brinas.
Location: Artscape Playhouse, 1727 North Charles Street
LOL@Artscape will take place on Friday, July 21 and Saturday, July 22 during Artscape After-Hours. Hosted by standup comedian Josh Kuderna, LOL@Artscape will feature 19 standup comedians from the DC, Maryland, and Virginia region and beyond. All performances are free and are for the 18+ audience. In addition to Josh Kuderna, be sure to checkout Elahe Izadi, Mark Joyner, Umar Khan, and Nicole Fuchs to name a few.
Location: Charles Street by Penn Station
Surveillance has not only been a hot topic nationally and internationally, but it has been a hot topic in Baltimore for a couple of years. Artist Kevin Blackistone has created an interactive, fun, and immersive experience that will allow visitors to his tents to keep eyes on others around them without knowing that visitors in another tent may have eyes on them too. Visitors to both tents will have their surveillance interrupted at times with Baltimore City surveillance footage from 2015. I am looking forward to experiencing this visual art project and seeing others experience it too.
Location: H. Mebane Turner Learning Commons, 1415 Maryland Ave
Twelve unique video games, that visitors will be able to interact with throughout the weekend, will be a part of this years Gamescape at Artscape presented by The University of Baltimore. The work of national and local video game developers works will be on display with many exhibiting multiple games. In addition, classic arcade games like pinball, Streetfighter and more will be available to play too. Be ready!
One of my favorite parts of Artscape is the real-time video game competitions that take place on a giant LED billboard that sits high above Charles St. near Penn Station. Click here to see the complete list of video games and the developers who will be at Gamescape at Artscape
Location: Charles Street by Penn Station
The Art Cars return to Artscape this year is more than welcomed. When the Art Cars are not on display at Artscape it is like something is missing. For me, Artscape is not complete without these uniquely tricked out pieces of art on wheels. The cars will be on display throughout the weekend. On Saturday, July 22, the art cars will take a trip to the American Visionary Arts Museum on Key Highway before making their way back to Artscape to parade around the festival before returning to their location on Charles St. by Penn Station.
Location: Charles Street Theater Parking Lot (1704 N. Charles Street)
This is one of the new additions to Artscape that I am looking forward to seeing and photographing. Dance Camp! at Artscape is going to include professional dance battles, performances, dance workshops, choreography workshops, demonstrations, performance showcases, panel discussions, and nightly dance parties. In addition, there will be a 1v1 Baltimore Club Battle for $200 w/ Bmore Than Dance on Friday, a 4v4 Breakin’ Battle for $1,000 on Saturday, and a 2v2 All-Styles Battle for $400 on Saturday. Dance Camp! is being hosted by Guardian Baltimore which is a cooperative of teaching artists that uses an educational approach to their work to achieve a more just society through a cultural awareness curriculum which promotes the respect of self and others.
My words do not do this exciting addition to Artscape justice, visit the Dance Camp at Artscape Facebook page to see all of the details including the complete list of events, days, and times.
Location: Mount Royal Avenue, near Lafayette Avenue
On Saturday, July 22 at 2pm, Baltimore’s very own Wordsmith will take the stage. The man has bars for days. You will never hear him cuss in his raps, but you will hear a story with a message. This will be my first time seeing him live and I am looking forward to it.
Location: Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St
How often do you get a chance to see a free concert by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and then get to meet the musicians who make the music. Head to the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall on Friday, July 21 at 6pm for the concert and stick around afterwards for the musicians meet and greet at 7:30 p.m.
There is a lot to experience at Artscape. Visit the Artscape website to see the complete schedule for the weekend. Also don’t forget to download the Artscape App to help plan your visit.