BMORE Inspired at the AVAM

If you’re looking for somewhere to go in Baltimore to satisfy your desire for the unconventional, look no further than the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM). The AVAM, located at 800 Key Highway in Federal Hill, is the place to go to see art that you might not see anywhere else.

The museum was established in 1995 as a place to display and preserve outsider art and has been designated by Congress as the national museum for self ­taught art. Even a cursory glance will tell you that this is no ordinary museum, as visitors are greeted with a stunning mirror mosaic on the exterior walls. The AVAM’s other permanent installations include the Giant Whirligig, a massive, wind ­powered, outdoor sculpture; the World’s First Family of Robots, a collection of robots made from salvaged parts of old electronics; and Baltimore Painted Screens and Row home Theater, a historical tradition and folk art born right here in Baltimore.


Image Credit: Erica

Each year, the museum holds one main exhibition embodying a particular theme, ranging anywhere from We Are Not Alone Angels and Other Aliens to The Marriage of Art, Science, and Philosophy to The Art of Storytelling: Lies, Enchantment, Humor, and Truth. The AVAM describes its current exhibit, The BigHope Show, as:

“An original and unabashedly idealistic art exhibition that champions the radiant and transformative power of hope. Over twenty ­five visionary artists, among them many “super survivors” of enormous personal traumas, exhibit soulful creations reflecting their personal transcendence, and, often, a heightened or newfound creativity and sense of humor.”

The Big Hope Show runs until September 4, 2016. In addition to their regular exhibits, the AVAM is regularly involved in community efforts, often sponsoring local artistic events, such art car events and the annual East Coast Championship Kinetic Sculpture Race.


Image Credit: callison-burch

The AVAM’s dedication to unconventional art makes it a quintessential Baltimore landmark. Anyone with an artistic side would do themselves a disservice to not visit this one of a kind museum.

This post is part 2 of our “Bmore Inspired in Baltimore” series. See part 1 here.

Image Credit: Andrew Hazlett

Mitch is a volunteer copywriter for AIGA Baltimore. In the real world, he’s usually indulging in
gaming of some kind, controller or dice in hand. Find him on Twitter at @mc_mittens.

By Mitchell Cole
Published July 19, 2016