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AFS Review: Notes

Explore Baltimore: Register Now for Preconference Tours and Workshop

Friday, July 12, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lorraine Cashman

Gain a richer understanding of our meeting place, some of its people, and their ways by participating in these unique events organized by Baltimore insiders on the 2019 Local Planning Committee. These ticketed, preconference events are a great way to get outside the conference hotel and gain a wider perspective from those who know the area best. Seats are limited, and registration closes August 31. Book your seat now!

Rowhouse Arts of Baltimore: Rowhouses, Murals and Painted Screens

A screen painting of a street with red rowhouses on either side, a street lamp, blue skie and fluffy clouds

Baltimore is a city of rowhouses. Our ubiquitous, architectural template provides the canvas for two iconic art forms: murals and painted screens, one contemporary and one historic, where vision and paint combine to tell Baltimore’s story.

We will cross the city by yellow school bus, stopping first at the American Visionary Art Museum’s installation dedicated to our featured art forms. From Westside to Eastside, our day builds on the brick and mortar foundation of walls/canvases made available by urban upheavals. We will visit the iconic African-American Main Street—Pennsylvania Avenue—where the Royal Theater once stood and Billie Holiday made her name. See spontaneous creations marking “the Uprising” after our city’s watershed Freddie Gray moment, and much more: a house of mirrors and its creator, famed city parks and perhaps an Arabber (the last of our horse drawn produce vendors). 

Wall mural of Freddie Gray's name with halo, wings, and dates, 8-16-89--4-19-15After lunch at local culture doyenne Kevin “Downtown” Brown’s Nancy in the Station North Arts District, we head to former Little Bohemia and Highlandtown in East Baltimore, where painted screens defined a popular domestic aesthetic for tens of thousands of working class homes since 1913. Take part in a neighborhood stroll for an up-close look at what defines community and rowhouse. Meet a screen painter at the local Highlandtown Gallery, featuring local artists, for a demonstration. Prepare to be fully schooled by three experts who know and love this city.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019, 9:30 am4:00 pm
Registration: $75, including lunch. Maximum: 27 participants. Click here for more information


A Walk through “the Reservation”—The Historic Lumbee Indian Community of East Baltimore

The front and side of a brick building in East Baltimore with a Lumbee Indian mural painted on the side.

Following World War II, thousands of Lumbee Indians migrated from North Carolina to Baltimore City seeking jobs and a better quality of life. They settled on the east side of town, in an area that bridges the neighborhoods of Upper Fells Point and Washington Hill. Today, most Baltimoreans would be surprised to learn that this area was once so densely populated by Indians that it was known as “the reservation.” Come walk with members of Baltimore’s Lumbee community to learn more about the places and spaces tied to their history in the city, including active sites like South Broadway Baptist Church and the Baltimore American Indian Center. These institutions were established by Lumbee people in the mid-twentieth century as safe spaces where their culture could be freely practiced in diaspora. They survive today as the cornerstones of the community. The Baltimore American Heritage Museum features a permanent collection of artifacts from throughout the Americas, as well as a revolving exhibit that is typically curated by community members. 

The tour concludes with a stop for lunch at El Salvador restaurant, but the price of lunch is not included in the tour registration fee. Photo by Colby Ware.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019, 9:00 am12:30 pm
Registration: $25. Maximum: 25 participants. Click here for more information.

Baltimore’s Crankies: Make the World’s Greatest Stories Unroll before Your Eyes!

Image from a Katerhine-Fahey crankie with a girl falling through water, with sea creatures, and lightning coming from her fingersIn the contemporary world of shadow puppetry, Baltimore is famous for its Crankies. Crankies are moving panoramas with long pictorial scrolls that are typically hand-cranked, hence the name, to tell a story inside a viewing box, much like film in an old camera. The boxes are often backlit for shadow puppetry. Song, narration, and pageantry accompany the performance, often drawing on folk tales and local legends to highlight contemporary community experiences. Baltimore’s Creative Alliance has hosted the annual Baltimore Crankie Fest for six years to sold-out audiences eager to slip into the world of shadow and light.

“There’s a fireside magic to it,” says Josh Kohn, performance director at Creative Alliance. “It’s like an old-school variety show.” More than performance, however, Crankies are a genre-defying artform changing the way local museums and arts organizations are engaging with their communities. 

Join renowned artist and Crankie-maker Katherine Fahey for a special collaborative workshop geared for adults to make hand-cranked scrolling performance art.


Sponsored by the Local Planning Committee and the Maryland State Arts Council


Photo and artwork by Katherine Fahy.


Wednesday, October 16, 2019, 1:00–4:00 PM

Cost: $25, maximum 20 people (includes the kit). Click here for more information

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