By Sophie Vinograd
Baltimore has some serious street cred when it comes to art. Charm City is home to MICA, Maryland Institute College of Art and one of the nation’s best art schools; the Artscape festival, celebrated every July; the wildly fun and avant-garde American Visionary Arts Museum and endless street art and underground projects at every turn.
Luckily, for those of us trying to steer clear of extraneous expenses, Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) hosts Free Fall Baltimore. A month-long event extravaganza developed to generate a propensity for art and culture among youth and families (the future patrons of the arts, of course), Free Fall features a myriad of opportunities to get as artsy as you want to. The options are seemingly endless: Feel like glassblowing at the Hot Glass Center? Maybe you’ve been waiting for a chance to explore the Baltimore Museum of Art on the cheap. Fancy a dance class? Or a puppet show, perhaps? Event themes range from art & museums, to dance and theatre, to special workshops at locales all over the city, and it’s all F-R-E-E! Could a culture junkie ask for a better deal? We think not.
Every year, more and more events pop up and entice patrons to participate, and 2011 is no exception. This year’s newest features are two unique experiences. “Black Male Identity” is an Art on Purpose project “dedicated to inspiring, collecting and sharing art, images and narratives from the community that explore and illuminate positives of black male identity.” For the reading and writing crowd, Literary Arts Week kicks off on Oct. 15, offering poetry readings, writing workshops and other activities that bring light to Baltimore’s flourishing literary art scene and the home of Poe, Ogden Nash and Upton Sinclair.
Other can’t-miss highlights include:
Opera performances at John’s Hopkins’ Peabody School of Music
Treasure hunt at the Amaranthine Museum
Tour of historic ships of Baltimore
Dance workshop at Muse360
Play, post show talk-back and reception put on by Baltimore Theatre Project
Free Fall Baltimore lasts all throughout October, and their website offers a calendar of everything you can take advantage of, and where you need to go to do it. All activities are free, but some require reservations due to limited space. Start charting out your arty October now, and visit www.freefallbaltimore.com for more information.
Sophie Vinograd is a writer, creative strategist and funk enthusiast living in Charles Village. You can check out her portfolio at www.sophievinograd.com, and her social commentary blog, Blackout Factory, at www.blackoutfactory.blogspot.com.