(credit: artscape.org)

31st Annual Artscape
Bolton Hill, Station North and Midtown Belvedere
140 W Mount Royal Ave
Baltimore, Md. 21201
(410) 752-8632

Dates: July 20 to 22, 2012
Hours: Friday and Saturday – 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday – 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Price: Free admission and handicapped accessible

It’s that time again for the awe-inspiring Artscape. America’s largest free festival, located between historic Mount Vernon and the Charles Village art district, brings hundreds of thousands of guests to Baltimore to celebrate creativity in all its forms. Head over to view the talents of more than 150 artists and craftsmen, listen to a wide variety of music and participate in hands-on activities.

(credit: artscape.org)

Art Car Show and Parade
Charles St between Mount Royal Ave and Lanvale St

Parade Date: July 21 Click here for more information

Prepare your eyes for Volkswagen Beetles, vintage vehicles and cars decorated so much that you will not be able to determine the make and model. The car show and parade is one of the main highlights of Artscape each year. The parade begins on Mount Royal Avenue before it turns north on Charles Street. The cars will then be parked on the Charles Street Bridge for your viewing pleasure during the remainder of the festival. Take a break from the summer sun by visiting the car lounge, where car parts make up eye-catching seating.

Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
1212 Cathedral St
Check here for the Backstage Tour dates and times.

The Meyerhoff gains national recognition through its “pursuit of artistic excellence.” During Artscape, the hall will open its doors so that festival goers will have the rare opportunity to listen to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for free. The BSO has played the music of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Brahm and many others, while the Meyerhoff provides the ideal space for acoustical wonders. Don’t pass up the opportunity to listen to one of the country’s most prominent orchestras.

(credit: artscape.org)

Roadside Attractions
North Charles St between Preston and North Ave

Do you ever drive past signs for roadside attractions becoming curious about what wonders they behold but not wanting to waste time or gas on the detour? Artscape lets you enjoy these fun, artistic exhibits without worry. Western frontier towns, sculptures made of junk, interactive performances and walking tours await you at this captivating “roadside stop.”

Artists’ Market
Mount Royal Ave between Mosher St and Maryland Ave

Stroll along at a leisurely pace to let your eyes feast on the sculptures, pottery, jewelry and galleries of professional artists. There will be much on display and even some crafts to purchase. If you are looking for that new conversation piece for the home or a unique gift for a friend, the Artists’ Market at Artscape is the place to go.

The Charles Theater
1711 N Charles St

The Charles Theater leads the way in promoting independent films throughout the year. Artscape is no exception as the theater will open its doors to show a variety of short films. As it recently hosted the annual Maryland Film Festival, The Charles Theater is sure to have plenty of new and intriguing films to show audiences. Check back here for an upcoming film schedule.

Wells Fargo Stage at 1400 Cathedral St
Station North at Charles St and North Ave
Festival Stage at Mount Royal Ave and Mosher St

There will be a wide variety of music for everyone to enjoy throughout the festival. Listen to the national anthem and some of today’s popular musicians, including Brian McKnight, at the Wells Fargo stage. Tune into indie bands and disc jockeys at Station North. And keep an ear out for local artists and the Sound Off-Live! music competition at the Festival stage.

Cohen Plaza in front of MICA’s Brown Center; 1300 W Mount Royal Ave

Raise your hand if you have an eager child (or many eager children) who would love to participate in the festival’s activities. KIDscape offers storytelling and a variety of arts and crafts for children, including painting and sculpture making, in a family-friendly environment.

(credit: artscape.org)

Pinkard Gallery in the Bunting Center of MICA; 1300 W Mount Royal Ave

It may be hard to believe for some, but video games have their place within the art world. Simply viewing the landscapes, architecture and costumes shows the work and dedication behind creating the games. The history and evolution of this art can be seen within recent video games of the popular Xbox and Playstation consoles, as well as “classic” arcade games of the past (for those who casually play Tetris in the office). Their proud creators and developers are also on hand to discuss your questions and comments. This year, Gamescape is supported in part by Zynga.

Related: Best Organizations Giving Back To The Maryland Arts

High Zero’s Worlds in Collusion
Location: University of Baltimore Center 21 Mount Royal Avenue, 5th floor
Check here for performers’ dates and times

The High Zero Foundation presents this year’s experimental music and other mind-bending acts. Local performance artists will have you guessing “how did they do that?” as they delve into the traditional as well as the weird. Remember to stop by Saturday at 7 p.m. to support Towson University’s World Music ensemble.

(credit: artscape.org)

Janet and Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize
Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA)
Alvin and Fanny Blaustein Galleries
10 Art Museum Drive
Baltimore, Md. 21218

Display Dates: June 16 through July 29, 2012

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)
Decker and Meyerhoff Galleries
1303 W Mount Royal Ave
Baltimore, Md. 21217

Display Dates: July 20 to July 22, 2012

Near to the festival, the work of the six Sondheim Artscape prize finalists will be on display at the BMA and MICA. These artists are Lisa Dillin, Jonathan Duff, Hasan Elahi, Matthew Janson, John McNeil and Renee Stout, each possessing extensive education and experience as sculptors, photographers or painters. The top winner will be announced during a reception held on July 14 at 7 p.m. at the BMA and will be awarded $30,000 to further their artistic endeavors.

Pam Smith graduated from Penn State with a B.A. in English and a passion for writing. Her adaptive nature led her to work in the scientific, energy supply, and business industries while writing on a multitude of topics for various online media. Pam currently resides in Baltimore County. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.