What’s New at PMF, Baltimore’s Publications and Multiples Fair

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Open Space Members Jasmine Sarp and Colin Alexander on PMF 6

Of all the art events that happen in Baltimore, the annual Publications and Multiples Fair, now in its sixth incarnation, is my favorite, hands down, for affordable and GOOD art shopping. Last year I attended with about a hundred bucks in cash, and I walked away with five prints, two ‘zines, and one hand printed book. There is no other scenario – anywhere – that I know of that is so affordable and so full of beautiful stuff you will want to bring home with you.

The Publications and Multiples Fair was founded in 2010 by Open Space, a local artist collective, who initially created it as an affordable alternative to the 2010 Baltimore Museum of Art Contemporary Print Fair. Now in its sixth incarnation, PMF has outgrown multiple locations and added a number of vendors and programming each year.  It’s happening this weekend – Saturday, March 28 and Sunday, March 29 – at the Baltimore Design School.

I spoke with Open Space members Jasmine Sarp and Colin Alexander, go get a better sense of what to expect for this year’s event.


BmoreArt: What is new or different about this year’s PMF?

Jasmine Sarp:  This year we worked with the Baltimore Museum of Art to coordinate our fairs on the same weekend. Open Space held the first PMF in 2010, intentionally on the same weekend of the BMA’s Contemporary Print Fair. It seemed that not many museum goers at the time were interested in the Open Space fair, but now, six years later, the museum is really excited for PMF. The BMA has put together a website, Print City, to promote PMF, the Contemporary Print Fair, and related programming that is happening all around Baltimore throughout the weekend. We owe a big thanks to Ann Shafer, Ben Levy and Doreen Bolger!

BmoreArt: What about the newer, bigger venue at The Baltimore Design School?

Jasmine Sarp: The biggest difference is the location of the fair – it’s being held at the Baltimore Design School in Station North. Because PMF has been growing so much every year, we wanted to hold it in a larger space, and BDS worked out. It took a lot of extra effort on our part to bring it there, but we think it will be well worth it. The location is also interesting because a lot of people know that building as “the old coat factory” behind the Copycat, but they haven’t been inside since the renovation. It will be nice to bring the surrounding community in for the event. We’re hoping a good number of the BDS students will come share their work as well.

Colin Alexander: The Baltimore Design School is an incredible venue for the fair. I can’t wait to see everyone packed in it. There’s something like 30 or 40 more vendors we can fit in this year because of the venue change. Along with that, it’s going to be easier to flow between the fair and the scheduled programming, which is a huge plus when you want to rifle through every vendor’s offerings without missing a minute of the V. Vale lecture or the Pecha Kucha Chit Chat inspirational speeches. That all in combination with the huge amount of off-site programming at Alloverstreet on Friday or in the Seton Hill neighborhood has me working now to get mentally prepared to fit it all in.

Jasmine Sarp: Additional new features include “live zining” with Kimi Hanauer, a series of live stream podcast interviews from Human Eye (Max Guy and Miranda Pfeiffer), and live performances in the school courtyard. We may be taking advantage of the school’s intercom system too!


BmoreArt: How does the new location affect the vendors and programming?

Jasmine Sarp: Every year the fair happens, the more people hear about it. This year we’re excited to have more vendors joining us from out of town, including Vale, who’s flying in from San Francisco, and Printed Matter- NY artists’ books pros who puts on two of their own high profile print fairs every year.

BmoreArt: In your own words, can you tell readers why they should come?

Jasmine Sarp: People should come to PMF because it is an amalgamation of so many killer artists, and simply put, it’s fun. At the fair, artists and presses get the chance to talk about their work with viewers in a very approachable way. Artists also get a chance to share and talk with each other. The IRL social nature of PMF is something that I think makes it very special, especially considering the scale the fair has now reached. Artists and attendees will literally all be hanging out together in a huge swank cafeteria for the weekend, and I imagine the vibe will endearing.

BmoreArt: What should visitors expect?

Jasmine Sarp: Entry to the fair is free. The range of works available is great – there will be zines, prints, photography, records, apparel, literature, ceramics, jewelry, and more. Prices are very reasonable. Programming is on-site at the school, and will be happening all weekend. There will be talks, poetry readings, screenings, music performances, so much stuff! In terms of programming, I think I am most excited for our special guest speaker V. Vale, and a performance by the dance duo, FlucT.

Colin Alexander: PMF highlights a specific sort of inertia in Baltimore’s arts scene. In the context of the arts, the multiple always seems to occupy the space of a semi-radical gesture in its accessibility, so it’s always exciting to hear from friends how they made a small profit on the items they were selling moments before turning and spending it all again on a cornucopia of their neighbor’s art objects. That back and forth support is deeply engrained at the heart of what I love about PMF. Even if you just go to look, the sheer variety of impulses on display makes it worth the trip.

Jasmine Sarp: We are all really excited and look forward to seeing you at the fair!!!

More information can be found here.

Top image is by Karl Connolly Photography.


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