On Saturday, May 4, 2024, the American Visionary Art Museum’s fun and frenzied Kinetic Sculpture Race, Powered by PNC, returns for its 24th year. The festivities will commence, rain or shine!

As of this date, there are 24 registered teams, with participants ranging from teenagers to octogenarians, echoing the race theme of “Monuments and Masterpieces” in their design and theme songs as they prepare to travel through 15 miles of downtown Baltimore streets, mud and sand pits at Patterson Park, and the Inner Harbor, vying for honors such as ACE, Best Pit Crew, People’s Choice, Sock Creature of the Universe, and Spirit of the Glorious Founder. The highest honor in the Kinetic Sculpture Race is the Grand Mediocre Champion, awarded to the team that finishes exactly in the middle of the pack.

Sculptor David Hess has entered his vehicle, PLATYPUS (Personal Long-range All-Terrain Yacht Proven UnSafe), in every one of the 24 years of the race. PLATYPUS is a 9-person, 26-foot long, 4000-lb amphibious sculpture constructed from truck, bike, and pontoon boat parts. For Hess the race has become an annual family rite of passage, as both his son Eli, who started at age 4 and is now 29, and his 87-year-old father George have been part of the team in most years. Hess reflects, “For me the race is emblematic of how art can foster joy and a sense of community. The Kinetic race is simultaneously preposterous and perfect, bringing many smiles to the racers and our fans. It always reminds me that we humans have boundless capacities for problem-solving and creativity. Ultimately, it’s a reminder that anything and everything is possible.”

Three of the five Baltimore-area school teams confirmed for this year’s race hail from Jemicy School, which offers its students an official course designed to prepare them for the annual race, led by instructor August DiMucci. The program, called Kinetic Sculpture Race Industrial Design, focuses on developing universally applicable skills through the lens of this unique tradition. Last year, the Jemicy team was awarded Best Pit Crew “for their patience, ingenuity, and resourcefulness,” according to the Baltimore Kinetic website. The other two participating Baltimore-area schools are St. Paul’s School for Boys and The Park School. For the first time this year, Duke University will be participating in the race, represented by students from its mechanical engineering department.

Be sure to keep an eye on the following stand-out contenders: the Mountain Club of Maryland will debut their first vehicle, “Happy Trails”; TeamConestoga Creamers claims they will have ice cream churning capacity with their wheels and will deliver frosty treats; and The Battle of Ball’s Deeppromises a huge Dung Beetle’s Dungball—complete with “odors.”

Press passes are required and will be distributed on site at AVAM at the registration table, the day of the race. Please contact our marketing team via [email protected] to register for press credentials.

Kinetic Sculpture Race Approximate Schedule:
8:00 AM • Safety Check & Brake Test
9:30 AM • Opening Ceremonies at AVAM
10:00 AM • LeMans Start of Race on Covington Street
11:15-1:00 PM • Water Entry at Canton Waterfront
1:15-3:30 PM • Sand & Mud Obstacles in Patterson Park
4:00 PM • Finish Line at AVAM
6:00- 7:00 PM • Awards Ceremony at AVAM
Learn more
Add to Calendar 20240504 America/New_York 800 Key Highway Baltimore MD 21230 Kinetic Sculpture Race