Bmoreart’s Picks: Baltimore Art Openings, Galleries, and Events May 15 – 21

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BmoreArt’s Picks presents the best weekly art openings, events, and performances happening in Baltimore and surrounding areas. For a more comprehensive perspective, check the BmoreArt Calendar page, which includes ongoing exhibits and performances, and is updated on a daily basis.

To submit your calendar event, email [email protected]!


Waving and Wavering | Opening Reception
Thursday, May 17th · 6-9pm

Maryland Art Place
218 West Saratoga Street : 21201

Many of their most visible public symbols, including flags, are currently under increased scrutiny and public reconsideration. Rather than seek to define any fixed set of meanings, the exhibition Waving and Wavering assumes that a flag will always carry various and contested meanings. Exploring multiple interpretations of flags as both concept and format, this exhibition emphasizes three main perspectives: local examples of artists creating new flags for the city of Baltimore, new models of artists examining the American flag, and international samples of artists working with flags in contemporary ways.

The art world’s investigation into the use of banners, pennants, and other similar iconography is long standing, and representations of flags persist as important symbols in modern and contemporary art. One may look to Jasper Johns’ notable series of the stars and stripes as an example which initiated a dialogue over freedom of expression and the limits of representation. In the 70 years since Johns’ flag works debuted, numerous flag exhibitions – such as the People’s Flag Show or Old Glory – have been mounted, the American government has debated the use of its flag in protests through proposed amendments and Supreme Court cases (Texas v. Johnson, 1989), and artists have continued to present their own versions of iconic flags, such as David Hammons’ African American Flag (1990). They now find themselves in an unprecedented time, when flags and monuments around the country are being reassessed, when the appropriate responses to the National Anthem are in debate, and when symbols for new social movements such as Black Lives Matter and Time’s Up are being created.

Waving and Wavering aims to contribute to these conversations by presenting alternative views of familiar symbols, illustrating the ways in which artists are using the format of a flag to address issues of power and personal politics.


A Conversation with Ta-Nehisi Coates
Thursday, May 17th · 6-10pm

Baltimore Museum of Art
10 Art Museum Drive : 21218

The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) will present a conversation with Ta-Nehisi Coates, MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer, and author of Marvel’s The Black Panther comic book series on Thursday, May 17 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The program is part of The Necessity of Tomorrow(s), the BMA’s free series of creative conversations and social events featuring nationally recognized artists, writers, and thought-leaders to consider key ideas at the intersection of art, race, and social justice—and imagining the futures we want. The discussion with Coates and BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director Christopher Bedford will be centered on Afrofuturism and its role in today’s cultural landscape.

The event includes music by Ancestral Duo and DJ Trillnatured, a comic book reading room organized by Atomic Books, art-making activities, light refreshments, and community conversation. Coates will give a reading from one of his recent books and discuss his work on the Black Panther comics, as well as on the recent blockbuster film of the same name. Tickets will be available beginning at 6 p.m. on May 17, and seating is provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Admission is free. The event will also be live-streamed in the BMA’s Fox Court along with overflow seating.

“We developed the Necessity of Tomorrow(s) because we believe that, as Baltimore’s civic museum, it is incumbent upon us to use our exhibitions, collections, and public programs as platforms to engage the most urgent questions of our time,” said BMA Director Christopher Bedford. “Ta-Nehisi was a natural choice for the next iteration of the series. He is this generation’s voice on issues of race and black identity, which is especially topical with his involvement in the cultural phenomenon that is Black Panther, and the museum is honored to host him.”

The Necessity of Tomorrow(s) borrows its title from an essay by science fiction author Samuel Delany that argues for the role of creative speculation in making a more just future. The first event featured artist Mark Bradford in conversation with Christopher Bedford explored how he changed the course of his life when he was 30 years old to eventually become one of the most accomplished artists of his generation. Bradford also discussed Art + Practice, the nonprofit he co-founded in South Los Angeles to supports the needs of local foster youth.


2018 Young Playwrights Festival
Friday, May 18th · 6:30pm

Center Stage
700 North Calvert Street : 21202

Join us to Celebrate Maryland’s Student Playwrights

We invite you to experience one of Baltimore Center Stage’s signature education programs, which reaches over 1,200 students across the state of Maryland each year. Please join us as we honor these creative and inspiring students. Children (ages 6+) are welcome!

This event is FREE but tends to sell out so RSVPs are required. Don’t miss your chance to see the next generation of theater makers with the resources and support of the State Theater of Maryland behind them.

RSVP NowThese 10-minute, award-winning plays include Pluto Problems by Kelly Durkin’s 2nd Grade Class at Hampstead Hill Academy, The Showby Tahjae Young, Grade 7 at Sisters Academy, and more! Read brief descriptions of all six winning plays.

Young Playwrights Festival

Friday, May 18
The Head Theater
FREE ($5 suggested donation)
Seating is limited, and tickets are required

Come early and experience new festival events beginning at 5pm:

Gary B. Unlucky
A short documentary film of a play written by students of the Lab School
Roche Chapel (4th floor)

The Last Meal and Ikea Kingdom
Two immersive theater pieces developed by students of the Montessori Public Charter School
Smith Studio (5th floor)

About the Festival:

A cornerstone of education programming at Baltimore Center Stage since 1986, the Young Playwrights Festival transforms 500 Maryland school children into playwrights. Residencies empower Baltimore City teachers with enduring tools for literacy and student engagement. The always-captivating award-winning plays are developed with a dramaturg and produced with professional directors, designers, and actors on The Head Theater stage.


Read more at Bmoreart

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