Artscape is synonymous with summer in Baltimore. It’s the time of the year when people and all things creative converge in the heart of the city’s Arts & Cultural District, when quirky and edgy are normal and square is not.
My first and fondest memories of Artscape were when it was in its infancy, just a few years old. My mother put my sister and me in the car on hot Saturday in July and headed into town so we could check out this new free arts festival. I was probably 11 or 12 years old at the time. Life for me was about Michael Jackson and Prince and MTV and the Rubik’s Cube.
The 80s were bright and big. Shoulder pads were in. So was the Jheri Curl. As a child of the era, I was subjected to both. However, it was during that decade that I learned to appreciate creativity in all its glory. Looking at all of the outdoor art exhibits at Artscape, I marveled at the wild, quirky artwork on display. I remember seeing painted toilets, newspaper and foil fashioned into art, and many other unthinkable things. Nothing inappropriate, just strange.
I embraced Artscape. It was a big playground for the creative types. Individuality and expression were celebrated. People sang, danced, ate, and danced some more. My mom, my sister and I walked around that first year and took it all in. Artscape became an annual tradition.
This year, Artscape turns 30. To mark the occasion, Artscape are going retro. 1982 to be exact. There plenty of beats and eats to take in this weekend. Add to that karaoke and improv comedy and storytelling workshops, and shows paying homage to pop culture (Think: all the 80s toys and fashion your nostalgic heart can hold).
If you’re in the area this weekend, head on town to the Mt. Royal area. You can plan out your Artscape experience, or just let it happen. Whatever this case, you won’t want to miss all the music, the performances, the food and the shopping. (Come to think of it, I bought the cutest pink & green purse from Artscape a couple of years ago. Now I can’t find it. Someone must have borrowed it permanently. I also bought a cute pair of pants made out of 100% Egyptian cotton sheets. Now I can find those, but can’t fit them anymore. Oh well.)
Happy Birthday, Artscape!