The city’s art scene may not get the same level of national attention as the music scene but it is every bit as vibrant. And with the planned extension of the Station North Arts District, the new Bromo Tower Arts and Entertainment District on the west side, and the partnership of Single Carrot Theatre and Woodberry Kitchen in Remington, there will be even more venues to accommodate the growing number of artists, who are deciding?like the Wham City collective did almost a decade ago when they relocated to the city, and Single Carrot did when they moved from Colorado shortly after that?that Baltimore is one of the best places in the country to make art. And with filmmakers like Matthew Porterfield and Lotfy Nathan blowing up the festival circuit, the rest of the country might just start to recognize that as well.
American Visionary Art Museum
800 Key Highway, (410) 244-1900, avam.org
Take care not to be blinded when approaching this building on a sunny day: It’s covered in mirrored mosaics bright enough to set a fleet of ships on fire. The inside is just as whimsical, featuring the weird works of self-taught artists on the fringe. The store on the first level has anything you could imagine ever needing, and several things you never thought of.
Baltimore Museum of Art
10 Art Museum Drive, (443) 573-1700, artbma.org
Home of the billion-dollar post-Impressionism Cone Collection, the BMA also has a large sampling of 19th-century, modern, and contemporary art, the last of which is housed in the museum’s impressive new Contemporary Wing. With its director, Doreen Bolger, arguably the city’s biggest booster of artists, the museum itself has once again become central to the city’s art scene. Sit with Rodin’s “The Thinker” before you go to the sculpture gardens on a journey through the figurative to the abstract. And it’s free.
Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture
830 E. Pratt St., (443) 263-1800, rflewismuseum.org
This museum, dedicated to African-American history, is distinguished by its powerful curation of shows, such asGrowing up AFRO: Snapshots of Black Childhood from the Afro-American Newspaper, or Ashe to Amen African Americans and Biblical Imagery.
Walters Art Museum
600 N. Charles St., (410) 547-9000, thewalters.org
Since the Walters is free, we often slip away to spend a few minutes with one of our favorite pieces or in one of our favorite periods: the stunning sarcophagus with Dionysus and Ariadne; or maybe “Chamber of Wonders,” which recreates a cabinet of curiosities from the European Age of Exploration, filled with stuffed birds and giant beetles and curiosities of human ingenuity and the natural world. You could immerse yourself in the Mesopotamian, the ancient Egyptian, Greek, or medieval for days or weeks at a time. Check out the special exhibitions on rotation.
Art Centers and Galleries
405 E. Oliver St., (410) 528-1968, area405.com
This massive, artist-owned warehouse is the perfect place to go see a clandestine performance after dark or to see an out-there group show. Located in the Station North Arts District, it’s close to tons of other art spaces.
C. Grimaldis Gallery
523 N. Charles St., (410) 539-1080, cgrimaldisgallery.com
One of Baltimore’s only high-end, big-name, selling galleries, Grimaldis plays a unique role in the art scene here. But the venerable nature of the gallery doesn’t take away its edge.
Creative Alliance at the Patterson