Designers and creatives of all kinds visiting Baltimore will find that the city has a long tradition of supporting
the arts and so regularly hold events in that vein. The warmer months in particular allow visitors to take in
these events and festivals while wandering our beautiful city. Three such events are the Maryland Film
Festival, Artscape, and the Kinetic Sculpture Race. (But, we’d be remiss if we didn’t also mention the
newcomer festival in Baltimore, Light City.)
Artscape is an annual festival that takes place in the areas surrounding Baltimore’s centrally located Penn
Station. It is the country’s largest free arts festival, hosting hundreds of artists of just about every variety.
Visual arts exhibitions can be found throughout the festival, at specific locations or even in the streets,
featuring fine art, fashion, crafts, sculpture, art cars, photography, and more.
Artscape also features plenty of
performance art, including theater, opera, dance, film, live music concerts, and even performances from the
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The festival is one of the highlights of the summer for Baltimore residents
and visitors alike. Artscape 2016 will be held from July 15–17, and you check their website for details on
MD Film Festival
Going into it’s 19th year, the Maryland Film Festival has continually fostered local
and international film and video work of all lengths and genres. There are screenings over five days every
year in the first week of May at the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA),
and the soontoberestored Parkway Theater. Baltimore’s most legendary filmmaker John Waters picks a
favorite film every year to introduce, too, and he’s as hilarious, uncouth, and as witty as you’d imagine.
Kinetic Sculpture Race
Although already past for this year, the Kinetic Sculpture Race is one of Baltimore’s most distinctive events.
Hosted by the American Visionary Art Museum, the race challenges entrants to custom build amphibious
humanpowered vehicles to race through the city. The races takes eight hours and covers 14 miles, leading
racers through several Baltimore neighborhoods, parks, and even into the Inner Harbor itself.
The first ever Kinetic Sculpture Race took place in 1969 in Ferndale, California, though the races now take place is several places across the country. The first Baltimore race took place in 1999, when AVAM founder Rebecca Hoffberger heard about the California race on television. Since then, the AVAM has not only sponsored the event, but also participated, racing Fifi the giant pink poodle every year since 2001. Fifi has become the race’s mascot and is on permanent display at the museum. Vehicles are built to resemble
anything from a giant crocodile to a Rube Goldberg mousetrap. Words don’t really do justice to the creativity
that racers have in building their vehicles. You can find pictures of vehicles from each year’s race on their
Though these are three of the most distinguished largescale Baltimore events, they are only a very small
sample of what our city has to offer visiting designers. AIGA Baltimore’s own Annual Design Week, held the
3rd week of October each year, is sure to entice visiting and local designers alike. And you can always
check out the city’s events calendar to find something to suit your tastes. Baltimore is a city that has something
This post is part 1 of our “Bmore Inspired in Baltimore” series.
Image Credit: kineticbaltimore.com
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.
A recent transplant from Texas by way of NYC, Andrea Chen is happy to call Baltimore her home. She’s a
graphic designer at T. Rowe Price, owns her own company the codex club, and loves to knit, cook, and
garden. Tweet her @andreachen3d.