There are few things I support more than the plight of the artist. I think art, in all of its forms, is a crucial component of a civilized society, and I regularly make a point of exposing myself to it in Baltimore. (Look for posts on museums, theaters, local venues and bands, etc on another yet-to-be-determined date)
I don't know if you know this, but Artscape is kind of a big deal. Back in 2009, I made the drive up from DC suburbia with some friends because I desperately wanted to see Cake. I knew nothing about Baltimore, I knew nothing about Artscape, I just knew I wanted to see Cake. We were an odd group, and while seeing Cake was fantastic and I remember thinking Baltimore was quirkier than I had given it props for in the past, what I most recall from that day were high temperatures and short tempers. When house hunting with my sister last September, two weeks before I was to start my job, I remember walking down Charles Street and it all hitting me like I'd just walked into a wall - I'd been here before. I'd seen this hideous statue before, I'd seen this theater. Fate would have it that I'd move into this area, and I would come to love it.
I love Club Charles, I love that heinous statue, I love the sound of Amtrak as I go to bed, I love Brewer's Art, I love Single Carrot, I love everything that made me reconsider Baltimore three years ago.
But this is not about my love for midtown and Station North. No. This is about Artscape.
Artscape is massive. As their website brags, "3 Days, 350,000 people." It's the largest free arts festival in the United States. This is fantastic. No, honestly, it is. One of the things I love so much about Baltimore is how well it treats its artists. We give them nice spaces like this (and this!) at affordable(ish) prices, and sometimes they even let us come over and see what they're up to. Artscape allows local artists the opportunity to showcase their work to a massive audience, whereas otherwise they may not have gotten so much publicity. This is all fantastic - honestly. As someone who loves and appreciates both art and artists, I think Artscape is commendable and I am personally looking forward to attending it.
Now, here is my beef.
I live in the surrounding regions of where Artscape is held. I have plans Saturday night in the 'burbs. (I can't miss Wine Club AGAIN! Who will do the dramatic readings of the descriptions on the bottle??) Between Artscape, my dog, parking, street closures, water main breaks downtown, and Netflix filming "House of Cards" in the city this week, I'm pretty much trapped. Those 350,000 Artscape attendees? They'll be in my neighborhood. They'll be drunk on my front stoop at godforsaken hours of the morning. They'll be stealing my prime parking spaces. They'll be wanting to talk to me about my dog when I just want him to take a dump and keep moving. They'll move into my bars (stay away from Dionysus!) and clog my bus.
This weekend, as a result, is going to take impressive maneuvering on behalf of myself and my dear, dear, patient, friends. The dog is being shuttled out of the city before Artscape begins. I am evacuating on the Light Rail, to return in time, god willing, for the Farmers Market. I do want to see Artscape, and again, I'm excited and proud that it's in Baltimore. All I'm saying is you never see them shut down the streets and make a huge deal out of showcasing what I do for a living. Do you know what neighborhoods I inconvenience with my livelihood? NONE.
That being said, if you're new to Bmore, get yourself to Artscape! Go see what awesome talent lies in this city. Go take my parking spaces. Go innundate my bartenders with your questions like, "What's Natty Boh?" Go enjoy yourself! (but seriously, don't you dare drive in)