Artscape 2009

July 16, 2009

What's new

Here are some of the newest offerings for Artscape 2009:

Getting there: : This year, you can ride on over to the bike parking zone at Maryland Avenue between Oliver Street and Mount Royal Avenue to receive a free goody bag. A shuttle service that had been planned for this year has been postponed until 2010.

ArtEscape VIP lounge: : Purchase an Artscape VIP credential for only $25 per day to score some shade, snacks, a view of the goings-on below and even a 10-minute massage to prepare you for the next exciting activity. The VIP lounge is on the top floor of the Meyerhoff Garage at 1311 Cathedral St.

Acrobatics and dance: : Step in and cool off in the Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave., on Friday, Saturday or Sunday and experience inspiring performances by some top international dance and acrobatics companies. Companies scheduled to perform include Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Acrobats of China, Baltimore Ballet Company, Sankofa Dance Theater, Raw Sound Tap Company and Fuira Flamenco.

Sew Me What You Got Competition: : Five finalists who created designs using Ikea fabric will present their collections on the Artscape runway at 6 p.m. Sunday for a $1,000 grand prize.

Shorts at the Charles Theatre: : The Maryland Film Festival brings back the popular shorts in a tent program, but moves it to the Charles Theatre, 1711 N. Charles St. During the festival, one of the Charles' five screens will be dedicated to shorts, ranging from three minutes to 20 minutes long.

Nevermore 2009: : Artscape's theater showcase at the Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston St., offers a variety of Poe-inspired plays Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Offerings include everything from supernatural clowns to improv for a family-friendly experience.

- Dayna Ryan, Special to The Baltimore Sun

Reasons to go

Baltimore's famed summer arts festival is a sprawling affair. Friday through Sunday, live music can be heard on three outdoor stages, a variety of indoor venues and along the streets and sidewalks of the Station North Arts District.

Large food courts are situated throughout, and vendors pack the nooks and crannies not occupied by those attractions or the 350,000 people that will attend. Making the most of Artscape can be a daunting task, but there are plenty of reasons to attend. A little pre-planning couldn't hurt, though.

Music line up: : Sure, legendary singer Dionne Warwick performs, as do well-known acts such as Cake and Robin Thicke. Plenty of high-quality local musicians perform, as well. Why not see what's happening on the Baltimore music scene with live performances by Lo Moda, Jason Dove, ellen cherry or Lafayette Gilchrest? (See the full schedule below.)

Festival food: : The continuing joke about Artscape is that it's a place to eat more than it's a place to honor Baltimore art. In the past few years, the festival has made strides away from that reputation, but there is still plenty of fair food to be had, from Asian grill items to spicy Jamaican dishes to finger-licking South Carolina barbecue. Food court vendors are set up in four locations: The Green Food Court is across from the Charles Theater, 1711 N. Charles St., with additional food courts at the northeast corner of Charles Street and Mount Royal Avenue, on Cathedral Street between Mount Royal Avenue and Preston Street and on Mount Royal Avenue between Lafayette Avenue and Lanvale Street.

Art you can wear: : The shimmering sea of handmade jewelry represents only a small glimpse of the lovely items with which stylish festival-goers can adorn themselves. Unique, handcrafted bags, handprinted garments, hand-knitted shawls and a plethora of other hand-verbed items are also available.

Art-car parade: : Who doesn't love a parade? Especially one touting these wacky and sublime vehicles. Artscape's adored autos return (with some new friends), and caravan from the American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Highway, to Station North beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Photo booth: : Local photographers take and print portraits on-site, which then fill space along a 60-foot-long glass wall displayed at Penn Station. The installation works to remind the city what Artscape is all about: its people.

Painted Screen Society: : Though the quirky Baltimore tradition of painting screens may have seen its heyday, the Painted Screen Society keeps the folk art alive with a variety of workshops and presentations. Meet artists, learn to paint screens and, at 2 p.m. Sunday, learn a little something about Formstone at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St.

Sound-Off! Competition: : For the People Entertainment takes the Festival Stage at 2 p.m. Friday and the Main Stage at 3:30 p.m. Saturday to show fans exactly why the group received the bulk of the 14,000 votes cast at Artscape.org.

Street theater: : This is one of the few places in Baltimore to find the Monkey Man, Clowns at Work and Pee Wee Pirates - performing vaudeville, improv and comedy (respectively).

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