Sunday, May 19: Art Outside

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Has anyone petitioned the city to have our new tagline be “Baltimore: the city of awesome outdoor public festivals”? Maybe it doesn’t quite have a ring to it, but it’s certainly accurate, and describes one of our favorite features of this town. Not only is there always something to do—it often involves being outside, with great music, local food and artists, and our fellow Baltimoreans out to enjoy all that’s going on. One fabulous upcoming example: Art Outside, a juried arts event that will be held on Sunday, May 19th, around the Druid Hill Reservoir (aka our absolute favorite spot for a jog, a picnic, or just an incredible view of the city). If you’re newer to town, and ArtScape is your only reference point for outdoor art festivals in Baltimore, take note: from 1953 to 1968, Druid Hill Park was the site of an annual art festival inspired by the outdoor art sales that were being held in New York’s Washington Square. These festivals gave local artists the opportunity to exhibit their work to the public at a time when alternative and small galleries and exhibition spaces weren’t the norm that they are today. With fond memories of those festivals, Barbara Shapiro set out to bring that spirit– or more accurately, the whole thing– back for today’s Baltimore. And how perfect that it coincides with the reservoir’s 150th anniversary?

“Baltimore has such a vibrant arts community that I thought it would be a terrific idea to give these artists a chance to exhibit their works, celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Reservoir while appreciating the wonderful asset the Park is to Baltimore, and to unite the community – all at the same time,” says Shapiro, creator of Art Outside. The festival will feature Maryland artists who will display and sell their works, strolling performers and musical groups, an area for “hands-on” arts and crafts for children, and some of Baltimore’s best food trucks. In other words, they’ve got it all.

And for the parents out there, this event looks like it will be particularly kid-friendly. There will be performances by groups such as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids and the Golden Voices of Booker T Washington Middle School for the Arts; and (cool) progeny will host an entire kid’s art exploration area. Local organizations and Baltimore museums will also provide entertainment and hands-on activities designed for family audiences. Art Outside will happen rain or shine (Shine! Shine! Shine!) and, in keeping with the spirit of the city’s new tagline that we’ve invented, it’s free and open to the public. Says Shapiro, “The response has been overwhelming from the local arts community, the Baltimore City schools, many corporations, and foundations including the Parks and People Foundation and Baltimore City Rec and Parks, as well as individuals.  I couldn’t be more thrilled with the all of the excitement from around the city.” Well, when we’re celebrating the amazing talent in our communities, in one of the city’s most beautiful spots, and with great food and entertainment to boot—who wouldn’t be excited?

Art Outside takes place Sunday, May 19, from 11 am to 4:30 pm at the reservoir in Druid Hill Park. The event is free, and there is plenty of free parking within the park. For more information, visit

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