March 8, 2010

ARTBus spotlights Baltimore’s emerging art scene

Evergreen Museum & Library’s ARTBus tour from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 13 (rescheduled from its original Feb. 14 date), offers art aficionados and novices an easy navigation of some of Baltimore’s most exciting up-and-coming galleries, artist studios and experimental exhibition spaces.

ARTBus, a special project of the Evergreen Museum & Library Advisory Council, is inspired by Evergreen’s Garrett family, avid supporters of contemporary artists in the early 20th century.

Led by artist, writer and independent curator Jason Hughes, ARTBus riders will get a rare insider’s look at Load of Fun Studios and AREA 405 in Station North, the H&H Arts Building downtown and Jordan Faye Contemporary in Federal Hill, with opportunities not only to view current exhibitions and purchase artwork but also to meet some of the artists, gallery owners and curators who are shaping Baltimore’s vibrant contemporary art scene.

Throughout the six-hour excursion, Hughes, former exhibitions coordinator at Baltimore’s School 33 Art Center and a 2006 Sondheim Prize Finalist, will generate dynamic discussion about the present and future state of contemporary artistic activity in Charm City.

The day will begin at 9:30 a.m. with a welcome reception of coffee and doughnuts at Evergreen Museum & Library. The ARTBus will depart promptly from the museum at 10 a.m. and return by 4 p.m. Seating is limited to 40 riders, and early registration is highly suggested. The cost is $80/$65 for Evergreen members and includes deluxe bus transportation, guided studio and gallery visits, catered box lunch, snacks, and welcome and closing receptions. To learn more about the ARTBus or to register, call 410-516-0341, e-mail or go to

Over the past five years, Baltimore has experienced a cultural renaissance that has elevated its art community to national prominence. Area artists and recent transplants have taken advantage of the city’s industrial past and affordable real estate by creating large-scale mixed-use spaces boasting cavernous galleries, communal live/work studios and cabarets with an emphasis on experimentation and site-specific installations. Likewise, smaller boutique galleries are being recognized for their efforts in supporting emerging and midcareer artists while featuring artwork that is both affordable and accessible to area collectors.

This do-it-yourself approach—along with Baltimore’s close proximity to Washington and New York, sizable individual artist awards such as the Sondheim Prize and Baker Artist Awards, and some of the top undergraduate and graduate fine arts programs in the country—has allowed Baltimore’s art community to grow into one of the best underground art scenes in the United States.