Thursday, July 15, 2010

Artscape in 3... 2...

It all starts tomorrow at noon. So if your artist friends are acting more like ants or focused bees instead of the easy going people you know, this is why. We're getting ready.

You'll find many BEST and Charm City Craft Mafia members selling their wares in the Artist's Market as well as the DIY section on Charles St. Keep walking north on Charles, and you'll be in my favorite (and my daughter's favorite) part of the festival, Midway. I can't even tell you how long we spent last year at one artist's installation feeding a giant fake bunny (I think) carrots. Mesmerizing.

From Urbanite...
One popular attraction is Midway, which for the third year spills its carnival sideshowesque flare onto the Charles Street bridge. For this year's version, a crew of about forty local artists have worked individually and collaboratively to create an otherworldly experience, with skate ramp/golf hole, a life-size Whack-a-Mole game, and a stuffed animal-filled chill-out room.

Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts visual arts coordinator Jim Lucio was responsible for assembling this year's diverse crew of artists. "I'm really excited to see the whole thing come together as one big piece," he says. The sixteen installations are "both conceptual and functional"—and depend on audience participation, as in Alisa Alig's "Stink Hole: A Subterrestrial Quest," in which safarioutfitted guides lead visitors through a passageway filled with all sorts of odd creatures, peculiar plant life, and strange peepholes.

There's also Clark Agre and C. Christopher Rouse's shooting gallery, where passersby can aim laser guns at hand-painted ducks and old appliances. (Look out: Some of this rifle-fodder may talk back.) The duo also created a pulsating, 20-foot-by-15-foot kinetic balloon sculpture to hover above Midway. And if the excitement of the festival is too much, take a moment to recline on the analyst's couch in "Art Therapy." Artist Jeremy Crawford's installation features a contemplation room where Artscapers can ponder their existence—or at least figure out which event to visit next.

—Simon Pollock