AMONG the delights of Baltimore living are its monthly...


February 04, 1993

AMONG the delights of Baltimore living are its monthly First Thursday festivities. On days like today, many downtown galleries, boutiques and museums, mostly on North Charles Street, stay open later than usual. If the weather is pleasant, they draw quite a crowd.

In addition to displaying paintings and other works of art, some spaces also provide refreshments and entertainment. One hair salon, for example, has been in the habit of creating a pleasant atmosphere by having live string music on the premises, in addition to art work.

SoWeBo, the neighborhood around West Baltimore's Hollins Market, is now hoping to stretch the beginning of each month into an arts weekend.

SoWeBo is sponsoring First Sundays for afternoon browsers. Half a dozen restaurants and coffee houses in that somewhat Dickensian rowhouse area not far from the Inner Harbor display art with a difference between 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. this Sunday.

The difference is that most of the work on display was created by employees of those eateries themselves.

At Tell Tale Hearth, a pizzeria with a big wood-burning oven in the kitchen corner, employees have banded together as the Brick Oven School of Art, exhibiting photography and mixed-media work.

At the nearby Gypsy's Cafe in the 1100 block Hollins Street, employees call their show "Affairs of the Heart" (no doubt in celebration of Valentine's Day). Two other Hollins Street establishments, Mencken's Cultured Pearl and the Corner Cafe, have exhibits of their own.

For a number of years, SoWeBo has been luring artistically inclined residents. The neighborhood also sponsors one of the most eclectic summer weekend festivals in the city. As for First Sunday, "We are doing it to encourage the arts and increased interest in the area," Gypsy's JoeAnne Whitely explained.

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