Baltimore’s fine arts community opens its doors this weekend to show the public how and where art is being made in the city.
School 33 Arts Center kicks off its 29th annual citywide Open Studio Tour on Friday, Oct. 6, with an opening reception in the Cherry Hill neighborhood. The weekend-long event brings together professional artists and the general public, giving collectors and art lovers opportunities to visit the studios of visual artists in Baltimore and gain a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their working processes.
From Oct. 7-8, individual artists and established galleries alike join forces to promote Baltimore’s thriving arts scene and make it more accessible to all. The self-guided tour is free and open to the public. In the process, visitors can learn about how work is created, and why each piece is so unique. The span of participating neighborhoods is so large that School 33 Art Center provides a full map and guide online, so that visitors can plan their weekend.
Local fiber artist Jen McBrien has been participating in the tour for four years, showing work from her craft business Jenny Jen 42.
“I love getting to talk to customers, and show them my work in its natural setting,” she said. “On top of seeing the products, they get to see all of the things hanging on my walls – which are the inspiration for the very work they’re buying.”
McBrien sets up a makeshift store in her studio and offers refreshments to visitors. People often stay to talk, she said, and purchase items after getting to know her. She ends up with new clients every year.
This year, McBrien has an additional reason for wanting company in her space inside the Mill Centre in Hampden. After 30 years as art department head at Parkville High School, she’s retired to focus on her business full-time. “It’s my first year alone in a studio every day, and that is a lot of alone time. I’m excited to talk to real humans!”
Attendees of the Cherry Hill opening night reception will be treated to light refreshments and music by Abu the Flutemaker, and invited to meet Cherry Hill’s artists. Visitors will also can visit the new Cherry Hill Mbari House, commemorating the life of local artist Angelo Dangerfield.
Immediately following the reception, a cross-generational panel discussion will feature topics on community-relevant arts programming in low-income communities, healing from trauma through the arts, the intersection of community self-determination and the arts in the Cherry Hill neighborhood and equitable access to the arts in Baltimore City.