Barbara Raymond wasn't convinced. She eyed the children pedaling backward on bicycles which were perched in a pool, the spinning wheels spewing water like a fountain. This was art?
"It's considered interactive art," Annalisa Gojmerac explained to Ms. Raymond as she stood along Mount Royal Avenue in the midst of Artscape, Baltimore's annual celebration of the arts.
"But I can't see the art in it," replied Ms. Raymond, whose son is a sculptor.
Down the street, another patron was having the same trouble. Deandre Taylor leaned his face into a small wooden box adorned with a bronze Madonna, as if to smell the dried flowers within the piece. And this, art?
"Nope," the 14-year-old said emphatically, of the sprawling outdoor sculpture entitled, "The Shrine of Our Lost Children."
Artists Sam Christian Holmes, Osvaldo Mesa and Harold Smith wanted to make a point: "The boxes represent losses of children in an urban contemporary society," the victims of guns, fire, sexual child abuse, said Jean Cooper, an Artscape volunteer.
Thirteen-year-old Nathaniel Winder got the point: "It teaches us something [that] all this violence over here is killing all these kids."
LTC At Artscape, art's the thing. And half the fun is trying to decide whether a jazz trumpeter, a recitation of a poem or a pool full of backward-pedaling bicycles move you.
This year, the city's annual arts festival celebrates its 10th
When street performer James VanLiew played Artscape back then, it rained buckets and the entire outdoor festival moved into the cavernous Fifth Regiment Armory. It was just another "gig, another reason to go out and get paid," said the 35-year-old Perry Hall magician, fire eater and ventriloquist.
"But when I found out what it was and doing it the first time," he added. "All I could think of was, 'My God, this really is going to work.' "
And work it has. Sprawled across Baltimore's Mount Royal area, home to the city's Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, Lyric Opera House and Maryland Institute of Art, the festival stretches over three days. When it premiered, the literary arts weren't even represented in the program. This year, celebrated novelist John Barth and former poet laureate Lucille Clifton share top billing with entertainers Gladys Knight and Diane Schuur.
Last year, the festival drew 1 million people.
Festival organizers hope the sleek new Light Rail trains, which make two stops in the Artscape area, could lure even more patrons.
Irving and Hedy Goldstein and their daughter Nissa rode the rails for one simple reason: to avoid the "hassle of traffic and parking."
When they came to the festival in the past, they arrived "very, very early."
Festival organizers hope the sleek new light rail trains, which have two stops within the Artscape area, will boost attendance. Today's schedule of events is listed on Page 2B.