Artscape is too darn hot

July 18, 2013

I remember vividly the Baltimore police officer who strode into my tent at Artscape, glanced at my art, and in very explicit terms told me how angry he was. My wife looked at me, wondering whether I was about to be arrested.

"So why is this about the only fine art in the whole place?" He asked. "This is Artscape — so where's all the art?"

Having slowly roasted in a large tent by the Lyric for three Artscapes while displaying pastels and oil paintings of wild storms, I can tell you exactly why — having Artscape in July is insane.

I lost eight pounds the first time I did Artscape in spite of drinking water and having four fans in my tent. I watched another pastel artist taken to the hospital with heat stroke. I lived in fear that one of our frequent summer storms would sweep away hundreds of hours of my work, not to mention the financial cost involved.

All I can say is that it is time to seriously discuss having Artscape in the spring or in the fall. Anathema? Perhaps, but Artscape was originally held in the spring. The summers are only going to be hotter and stormier from here on out.

I have immense respect for the organizers of Artscape and the wild tribe of people who work at such fairs. My wife and I truly loved being part of Artscape and hope that my thoughts will be given some consideration.

John Davis Held

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