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Tour: Rowhouse Arts of Baltimore: Rowhouses, Murals and Painted Screens

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019, 9:30 am4:00 pm
pick up at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor, Charles Street entrance
Sponsored by the 2019 Local Planning Committee

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. Wall mural of Freddie Gray's name with halo, wings, and dates, 8-16-89--4-19-15

We will cross the city by yellow school bus, with a first stop 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 encounter an Arabber (the last of our horse drawn produce vendors). 

After 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.

What to expect: A round-trip bus ride from conference hotel to all destinations. A wheelchair-accessible bus can be arranged; let us know if you need this accommodation. Tour includes 1-2 blocks of walking, and one optional 20-minute neighborhood walking tour). Lunch included.

Tour guides:

Elaine Eff, former Baltimore City and MD state folklorist, wrote the book on painted screens and co-founded the non-profit Painted Screen Society to sustain them.

Dean Krimmel was curator of Baltimore’s City Life Museum, of distant memory. Their rowhouse exhibition is still talked about as the best intro to local arts, life and architecture.  He lectures and consults with cultural institutions nationwide.

Ryan Patterson, graphic artist and city life booster, heads the Public Arts Program of the Baltimore Office of Promotion and Arts. He knows the location and maker of every painted wall in town.

Register by August 31. Maximum: 27 participants

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