Caleb Stine is one of the featured performers of Sidewalk Serenade. Photo credit: Creative Alliance.

With indoor performances still questionable for many because of COVID-19, Creative Alliance is bringing back Sidewalk Serenades, a program that presents close – “but not too close” — personal concerts in every corner of the city.

After a successful first season last year, Creative Alliance announced this week that Sidewalk Serenades will start its second season later this month.

“Creative Alliance is once again offering you the opportunity to have a short performance of two to three songs delivered to the front of your home (or a friend/loved one’s home) for a small fee,” said performance director Josh Kohn, in a statement.

“Performers will come to the confirmed address, text the residence upon arrival and, like a burst of sunlight through these gray skies, share their talents from the sidewalk. The donations from each of these performance events will be shared between the artist and Creative Alliance to help keep the arts alive and thriving in Baltimore!”

According to Creative Alliance, 412 concerts were held in Baltimore between March and early November last year, featuring more than 50 individuals or groups.

The concerts put $65,000 in the hands of participating artists who weren’t able to perform before large gatherings because of local restrictions designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

This year’s program begins March 20 and has 10 artists signed up so far. They include: Caleb Stine; Brandon Woody and UPENDO; Kim and Sommer Walker; Philip Thomas; Rufus Roundtree & Da Bmore Brass Factory; the High & Wides; the Slammageddon Poetry Slam Team and Abby Becker and Nellie Sorenson.

The basic rules are artists come to the front of a house and perform for 20 to 30 minutes. Concerts are scheduled on the hour and can be lined up on the Creative website. Artists set the price of each event with Creative Alliance’s input. Kohn said the cost is typically $75 and up.

Artists decide how many performances they will schedule on a given day and provide their own transportation. Ticket sales end when all the slots are booked or at 8 a.m. on the day of a concert. In case of poor weather, concerts will be rescheduled if possible.

Performers won’t enter an apartment or a shared home, but they will perform in front of or on the side of a building. Kohn said the performers will travel anywhere within Baltimore City or just outside the city limits.

Creative Alliance says the program became a model for “safe, equitable arts engagement” that helped keep the arts alive and artists employed in Baltimore during the pandemic.

As they did last year, “we will be working with the performers directly to ensure safety measures and are confident that this series offers a way for you to enjoy safe and magical live music,” Kohn said.

To schedule a concert or sign up to perform, visit

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Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.