Baltimore offers a rich and diverse visual arts culture. The Walters Art Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Art display older, more traditional collections of painting, sculpture and ceramics from ancient times through the present. Younger museums like the Contemporary and the American Visionary Art Museum lure visitors with installations or fresh collections of outsider art.
Art in Baltimore is often free and easy to access. Artscape, America’s largest free arts festival, entertains residents and visitors each summer. This three-day festival includes painting, drawing, film and sculptures displayed both indoors and out. Free Fall Baltimore makes it possible to experience culture on a budget each October. The Walters and the BMA do not charge admission fees. The outdoor arts scene in Baltimore is also very active as artists display works in the windows of empty shops or even paste them on abandoned buildings.
Baltimore is home to several visual arts schools, both large and small. Students at the nearby Maryland Institute, College of Art may be the most visible in the local art scene. They often display their work at the school itself or in small galleries around the city. The Schuler School of Fine Arts, while lesser known, also offers student exhibitions, as do the art departments of schools like UMBC and Johns Hopkins University.
Artists in Baltimore often reach out to the community to share their work. Some open their workspaces during the Baltimore Open Studio tour, which is sponsored by School 33 each fall. The American Visionary Art Museum sponsors a kinetic sculpture race in the spring. Participants in this race create amusing and unusual sculptures that race through Baltimore, both on land and in the water. The Creative Alliance at the Patterson offers drawing classes and critiques, along with many other activities. (Catherine Mezensky)