Craft's creator helps prepare man-powered vehicle race Art museum welcomes 'kinetic sculpture' effort

October 15, 1998|By Jamie Stiehm | Jamie Stiehm,SUN STAFF

To move about in Hobart Brown's world, all you need is a little muscle, ingenuity and perspiration.

The 64-year-old Californian flew into Baltimore yesterday for his first public appearance in Maryland to lecture about an art form he invented and plans to launch here next spring: "Kinetic Sculpture Racing."

The concept takes a little explaining, but the first principle is simple: "It's fueled by nothing more than human sweat," said Brown, who will give a free lecture at 7 p.m. today at the Visionary Art Museum.

As long as an object can move on land and water, whether it is made of used bicycle gears or Styrofoam or whatever other materials the human mind can conjure, it works for kinetic sculpture racing.

Rebecca Hoffberger, the museum founder and director, said a kinetic sculpture race will be a central event in Baltimore's second annual waterfront festival in April. Everyone is invited to participate, in teams or individually.

The winner of the Baltimore race -- which will cross about 10 miles of the Inner Harbor area -- will be eligible for the world championship race in Ferndale, Calif., where Brown lives. He will chart the local course today.

Hobart has traveled to Japan, Poland and Australia to promote his passion.

He believes it offers a creative solution to inner-city problems, particularly for youths. Referring to existing kinetic sculpture racing programs, he said, "We can't keep kids away. They're getting good grades so they can get in this race."

The inventor is also a folk philosopher.

"There's a lot of closet Don Quixotes out there," he said. "We are adults having fun so kids will want to get older," Hobart said.

The Visionary Art Museum is at 800 Key Highway. Information: 410-244-1900.

Pub Date: 10/15/98

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