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What do I need to know about Baltimore Museum Week? by Cara Ober

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I have received a number of email announcements about Baltimore Museum Week, starting this Sunday May 19. At first I was curious about this new event, but all I could find out was that museum professionals will descent upon Baltimore for meetings (yawn) and that local museums would be fee of charge, which isn’t a big deal because the BMA and Walters are already free. I chalked it up to hype and forgot about it until recently, when I checked out the specifics of the event. It turns out, there are some very cool things happening in conjunction with Baltimore Museum Week – maybe just to impress some out of town curators, but that doesn’t mean the locals shouldn’t enjoy them too.

Because the are so many events to choose from, I have put together a short synopsis of interesting and worthwhile Museum Week events, happening at art galleries and museums near you. Please note, all events are free, but require a rsvp.

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Baltimore Museum of Art: New Art, New Ideas & New Experiences to Engage Audiences
Sunday, May 19 from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Meet the BMA Education and Marketing teams and discover the stories behind their strategies to engage audiences with the newly renovated BMA Contemporary Wing. More than 100 artworks were reinstalled in November 2012 with state-of-the-art lighting and fresh floor and wall finishes, a new black box gallery, two new interactive galleries, and the museum’s first mobile art guide. The program includes a close-up look at fresh on-site initiatives, including mobile technology, interactive galleries, and site-specific artist installations. (RSVP: 443-573-1872/spedroni@artbma.org)

Creative Alliance on Sunday, May 19 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:30pm

Onsite-Insight at the Creative Alliance provides an in-depth look at a dynamic collaboration between two Baltimore institutions, the Creative Alliance and Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). The community-based multi-arts center Creative Alliance, and MICA’s MFA program in Curatorial Practice co-produced the exhibition and performances, lectures, films, panels, and workshops showcasing the groundbreaking work of Globe Poster Printing Corporation, a celebrated and historic family company that promoted American music and entertainment with bright and iconic letterpress posters from 1929-2010. James Brown, B.B. King, Otis Redding, and Ike and Tina Turner—as well as gospel, rock, hip hop, funk, and go-go acts sought Globe to produce their concert posters. The company’s collection was acquired by MICA in 2011 and Globe co-owner Bob Cicero now teaches letterpress printing at the college. (RSVP: Brittney@creativealliance.org or 410-276-1651, ext. 200)

MICA instructor Mary Mashburn will tell the story of transferring the Globe Poster collection to MICA and how the college is actively sharing it with the students; exhibition curator and MICA graduate student Chloe Helton-Gallagher will lead a tour of the exhibition; and Creative Alliance Executive Director Margaret Footner will discuss the collaboration. Helton-Gallagher and Creative Alliance Education Coordinator Karen Summerville will discuss the exhibition and multi-disciplinary public programs. Continental breakfast provided.

Maryland Historical Society: Finding the Keys to Maryland History
Sunday, May 19 from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

As Maryland joins the country in commemorating anniversaries of the Civil War and the War of 1812, the Maryland Historical Society has used its vast collections of artifacts and documents to mount two large and popular exhibits; “Divided Voices” and “In Full Glory Reflected.”

The key to bringing these impressive but static exhibits to life has been finding the individual stories of people, heroes and villains caught up in the sweep of historic events. The Maryland Historical Society Players, now in their second year, portrays of a whole host of characters, some famous and others unknown until now, that brings these stories to life. The talented cast and creators of this groundbreaking interpretative program lifts the curtain on how they have brought the anniversary exhibits to life for visitors through biographical monologues, playlets and character tours. Participants will see how a pioneering program has been built from the ground up with many partnerships, good research, an impressive talent pool and large doses of imagination. (RSVP: 410-685-3750 x377 or email events@mdhs.org)

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) Talk and Tour
Sunday, May 19 @ 131 W. North Avenue 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Attendees will meet with the director and first graduates of MICA’s MFA in Curatorial Practice in the college’s newly opened Graduate Center. Afterwards attendees will be taken on a tour of various examples of the graduates’ thesis projects situated throughout Baltimore City.

This innovative graduate program is the first Masters of Fine Arts in Curatorial Practice in the United States. Designed to forge connections among art, artists, and the community, the program takes a responsible approach to the expanding role curator’s play in creating a vibrant cultural life in the 21st century’s global society. (RSVP: cpmfa@mica.edu)

The Johns Hopkins Hospital
Sunday, May 19, 2013 from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Join Johns Hopkins Medicine on a tour of its recently opened Sheikh Zayed Tower and The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center, which is at the intersection of the art of medicine and creativity. Learn how art, architecture and landscaping were integrated to create a welcoming and healing environment. From the external facade inspired by Claude Monet’s Water Lilies to whimsical oversized animal sculptures, you will see highlights of the 600 works of art on display throughout the two buildings during a two hour presentation by curator Nancy Rosen and tour. Featured artists include Brooklyn-based Spencer Finch, set designer Robert Israel, artist Jim Boyd, and a long list of local and nationally renowned artists whose work were inspired by nature and children’s literature and are now on permanent display throughout the facilities. (RSVP: hopkinsmedicine.org/art)

Jewish Museum of Maryland: Everything Old is New Again
Monday, May 20 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

The Jewish Museum of Maryland campus features two historic synagogues (1845; 1876) including the 3rd oldest in the nation. Recent initiatives embark on exciting new ways to interpret these old sites and draw repeat visitors: a multimedia exhibition, specialty tours focusing on unexpected themes, and a new series of dialogs with living history characters. Visit the Museum, tour the synagogues, and learn about the process involved in creating the specialty tours. (RSVP: (410) 732-6400 x214 or rcylus@jewishmuseummd.org)

Station North: Open Walls Baltimore Walking Tour
Tuesday, May 21 6:00 p.m. (Rain Date: Thursday, May 23, 6:00 p.m.)

In spring of 2012, Station North Arts & Entertainment, Inc. (SNAE) joined forces with Gaia, a resident of SNAE District and leader in the international street art movement, to produce Open Walls Baltimore (OWB). Over the course of two months, an unparalleled outdoor exhibition of 23 murals created by 29 street artists was mounted in Station North Arts & Entertainment District. Part public art project, part community revitalization strategy, OWB has brought increased attention, civic pride, and increased investment to the Station North Arts District, its artists and businesses.

Join us for a one-hour walking tour and conversation about the Open Walls Baltimore murals in Station North. The tour will highlight key developments in the neighborhood critically linked to OWB’s community impact and the overall revitalization of the neighborhood. The tour will also discuss project implementation and logistics, and how it relates to other street art projects in the U.S. If available, local artists that contributed to the project will speak about their pieces. The tour will be limited to 25 participants and each will receive a complimentary map of the Open Walls Baltimore murals.

For more information and examples of the murals, please visit the SNAE website (www.stationnorth.org) or the Open Walls Baltimore Facebook page (www.facebook.com/OpenWallsBaltimore). RSVP: rebecca.chan@stationnorth.org

American Visionary Art Museum Store: A PERFECT MARRIAGE: OMG Shopping at OMG Museums
Date: Wednesday, May 22 at 10 a.m.

Legendary retailer and designer, Ted Frankel, owner and operator of the American Visionary Art Museum store “Sideshow,” will share his thinking and hands on experience of creating and maintaining a non-generic, visitor friendly, shop experience that compliments the one-of-a-kind museum. This talk could have been called, “How to respectfully and intuitively make your museum store a must-see destination in itself!” Frankel knows FUN! RSVP: 410-244-1900 x227 or frontdesk@avam.org

The Walters Art Museum on Thursday, May 23 from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

The Walters Art Museum develops special exhibitions through a team process. New Eyes on America: The Genius of Richard Caton Woodville, on view at the museum during the AAM meetings, is the first exhibition on this short-lived and influential Baltimore-born genre painter since 1967. Drawing on the museum’s own extensive holdings, the exhibition gathers the artist’s 16 known paintings, as well as rare drawings and numerous versions of the popular prints through which his work was widely distributed in the 1840s and 1850s. The artist’s often humorous depictions of everyday life tell evocative visual tales of intergenerational communication, ambiguous relations among strangers and human reactions to changing technologies in modern life. RSVP: www.thewalters.org

Mt. Vernon Walking Tour Sunday, May 19
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Follow in the footsteps of Baltimore’s literary luminaries and discover the elegant brownstone mansions and majestic cultural institutions built by Baltimore’s successful 19th century merchants and industrialists. Learn how a neighborhood of scholars, struggling artists and authors, newspapermen, philanthropists and social reformers offered rich opportunities to discuss and debate ideas and open new literary avenues. Tours will be cancelled if there is inclement weather. Tours take 90 mins-2 hours depending upon size and pacing of group. The tour starts at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Central Branch, located at 400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore. RSVP: www.MtVernonLitWalkaama.eventbrite.com, or by calling Michele Alexander at (410) 685-4186 Meet the tour guide in front of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, located at 400 Cathedral Street

Art Outside: Enjoy a celebration commemorating 150 years of the Reservoir at Druid Hill Park.
Sunday, May 19 11:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

More than a craft show, this day-long arts festival will feature Maryland artists showcasing and selling their creative works, performing arts courtesy of Baltimore area schools, strolling entertainment, children’s arts & crafts with Baltimore’s leading art entities, local food trucks and so much more. This event recaptures the spirit of the historic outdoor festival that was held on Sundays around the Druid Hill Reservoir during the 1950s and 1960s connecting communities and local artisans. http://artoutsidemd.org

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