The Walters Asks: What Does Your Side of Baltimore Smell Like?

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Courtesy Walters Art Museum
Courtesy Walters Art Museum

Does Federal Hill smell different than Mount Washington, Belair-Edison, Harlem Park or Dunbar-Broadway?

In the Walters Art Museum’s upcoming crowdsourced exhibit “Sillage: A study of Baltimore’s ‘Scent-Scape,” contemporary artist Brian Goeltzenleuchter aims to pin down a fragrance for each section of Baltimore (North, Northwest, West, East, etc.).

The experimental show aims to “describe Baltimore for a living artwork,” according to the museum, and is part of “A Feast for the Senses,” a broader exhibition running from Oct. 16 through Jan. 8.

The questionnaire is simple and open-ended, listing each neighborhood in all nine geographic sections of Baltimore and a box for respondents to type any associated smells.

In October, Goeltzenleuchter will visit Baltimore neighborhoods on his own to collect some primary data and meet with residents, community groups and art students.

With respondents’ answers and his own information, Goeltzenleuchter will concoct a set of 10 scents, with at least one for each side of the city. He will present the finished fragrances at the museum on Sunday, Dec. 4.

Those who want to create their own scents can also join Goeltzenleuchter at the museum for a fragrance-crafting workshop on Oct. 20.

Overall, the show is asking city residents to reframe their surroundings with their noses.

“People are just encouraged to think of, ‘What does your neighborhood smell like?’” says Mona Rock, a museum spokesperson.

The survey can be taken here.

Ethan McLeod
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