Heralded as America’s largest free arts festival, Baltimore’s Artscape is a visual extravaganza, a riotous excuse for anyone who has an ounce of creativity to come out of the woodwork. Artscape offers a cornucopia of arts and crafts but to be honest, the people-watching exceeded the art in terms of interest and creativity. From punks to old hippies, to hipsters, to bizarre characters, it was a time to let it all hang out.
Although I did not discover any fine art which made any lasting impression, I came across some really different and creative sights. Take for example a Houseboat parked on the street and converted into a landlocked gallery. Very cool indeed!
I also enjoyed chatting with the bearded lady at A Feminist Tea Party – politics and conversation over a cup of tea. Now that’s taking art in a direction I never thought of….
An estimated 300,000 people mingled on Baltimore’s streets. Every square inch of space was taken up with a multitude of creative outpouring – art, music, food, dance. It made me feel grateful that we live in a society which fosters freedom of expression. While we are able to enjoy such an abundance of freedoms, artists in Russia (Pussy Riot) and China (Ai Weiwei) are being imprisoned and harassed by the state. And now news of Syrian sculptor Wael Kaston being tortured and killed by government forces. These incidents are a blight on humanity. It’s hard to believe that that sort of repression of artistic voices is still so prevalent around the globe.
One particular sculpture caught my attention just as I was leaving – a beautifully carved torso (alabaster I believe) by sculptor Corrine Thompson.