The sky overcast, threatening rain at any moment. Looking outside, you’d think it was nice and cool, so you bring a light jacket. But after walking around the sad morning scene of Mt. Royal Avenue, with tables of trinkets, jewelery, prints, and photographs, you’re feverish and sweaty from the hot air trapped about the nape of your neck.
I love Baltimore. I’ve only visited the city a few times, but I love the buildings—the architecture, the artsy essence, the stark contrast of all that can be great about a city (like MICA), to what can be the worst (homelessness, rundown row houses). For a photographer, the city is like what Candyland would be for a 5-year-old.
On Sunday, my partner and I took a trip to Artscape 2012. I have never been to Artscape so planning the trip was an exciting moment for me.
We didn’t spend longer than about an hour and half in the city. With each step we took, a sense of sadness overcame me. Were my expectations for Artscape realistic? Were they too high? What was it, exactly, that I was looking for from the free arts festival?
I have no fucking clue.
I brought my camera with me, but looking around, my initial thought was the photography wasn’t happening. Ignoring the dark, overcast sky, nothing spoke to me. Eventually, I brought my camera out and took
some limited shots. I just wasn’t feeling the scene.
Disappointed wasn’t the right word to describe how I felt walking up and down Mt. Royal Avenue, and it wasn’t how I felt driving back toward Silver Spring. What was it? Dissatisfied? Heartbroken? Whatever this feeling was, Artscape just didn’t do it for me. I did see some art that caught my eye, but the scene overall was just… bleak.
I was unimpressed by the festival. It was like walking through any other festival or farmer’s market. A small Ferris Wheel in the center of the event with some other random statuettes and corporate
sponsorship show-and-tell, over priced beverages and soggy food, and rows of tents with artists showing off their wares.
The city’s buildings and streets were more interesting than the festival. On Charles Street, there was a mural painted by Freddy Sam on Everyman Theatre. On our way back to the parking lot where we left the car, a row house with only one set of fire escape ladder painted a bright, fire engine red. A stark contrast against the sandy, copper-rust-colored buildings, and the rusty black-painted fire escape ladders on either side of it. Behind me, even more row houses, delicate-looking that a touch of the fingertip would be enough to send the entire structure crumbling.
Driving towards I-95, the light rail, Camden Yards, the little orange and black lamp-post flags marking Orioles territory was more interesting than the tents or the people just a few blocks away.
We finished the day off with a trip to Trader Joe’s for groceries, a few episodes of John Benjamin Has A Van, and I Love You Phillip Morris.
I still love Baltimore, and its vibrant art and cultural atmosphere beckons another trip back but as for Artscape, Sunday may be the first, and last trip I make for that.
I'm an intern in Bethesda, Md.
When I'm not working, I'm writing, photographing, reading or enjoying some other equally leisurely activity.
All my opinions are my own, and do not reflect anyone else's views or endorsements. Guests posts are views of the guests, and are not a reflection of my own views.
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