Ready for another Artscape

July 23, 1993

Over the past 12 years, Artscape has developed into a cavalcade of arts, music and food that draws exhibitors and visitors from throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.

Its strongest impact, however, is felt locally.

It can be safely said that Baltimore's increasingly active crafts scene -- including many thriving shops -- is a direct result of this festival and its drawing power.

Yes, drawing power.

City officials estimate that up to a million people visit thArtscape grounds around the Maryland Institute on Mount Royal Avenue.

Envious sponsors of other festivals say this is nonsense; it well may be. But there is no question that hundreds of thousands of xTC people will attend, today through Sunday, to be inspired by the exhibited art and music.

This is the one annual event that does most to glue this city and its citizens in a celebration of togetherness in a way that has not existed since the now-defunct City Fair's early days.

Any city should count itself lucky to have Artscape; Baltimore ought to feel thankful for having invented it. In this age, when fractionalization of purpose and lifestyles is in vogue, Artscape helps bring us all together. Ethnicity, for example, becomes a necessary artistic ingredient, not a divider.

This year's Artscape comes on the heels of All-Star week, an enormously successful celebration of the traditions and commerce of major league baseball. Tickets to its events were hard to get even for money.

In contrast, Artscape is free. It is true that one needs money to enjoy Artscape's tantalizing variety of food and drink, but admission to the exhibits or concerts does not require a ticket or cost a penny. Anyone claiming to be too poor to attend Artscape can blame only poverty of mind and imagination. That includes those who for some reason find they cannot be in Baltimore this weekend. The festivals' three main exhibits will remain open until Aug. 15.

For long-time Baltimoreans, newcomers and visitors alike, Artscape offers a one-stop way to find out what's going on among the city's creative people. Many cultural institutions have their own stands, so do publishers of specialty books. Those inclined to get involved in volunteer efforts can sign up on the spot.

We urge our readers to go and enjoy themselves. It's a fine way to get re-acquainted with Baltimore's variety.

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