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Artscape 2023: Baltimore's free arts festival gets big turnout despite tropical storm impact

Here's your Monday afternoon news update | September 25, 2023
Here's your Monday afternoon news update | September 25, 2023 02:09

BALTIMORE - Baltimore didn't get its full taste of Artscape this year because of rain and the impacts of Tropical Storm Ophelia.

However, the revised version was good enough.

And before and after the rainfall, weather conditions did not stop the crowd from flocking to Artscape.

Artscape 2023, the free festival celebrating Baltimore's arts community, returned this past weekend after a three-year hiatus. WJZ was a proud media sponsor of the festival.

Despite Saturday's cancellation, and a rain-shorted Sunday, the 38-year-old festival came back to Charm City with flair.

"Baltimore is made up of creative people," BOPA Interim CEO Todd Yuhanick said. "This is what makes us a little funky and out there and this is their opportunity to celebrate it."

Andre De Shields, an Emmy Award, Grammy Award and Tony Award winner, was the face of Artscape. The 77-year-old Baltimore native won the 2019 Tony Awardfor his standout performance in "Hadestown."

Also, the 1800 block of Division Street in Baltimore was named after the Broadway legend.

"When I grew up in Baltimore, there was no such thing as Artscape," De Shields told WJZ, adding it is critical to give support to the arts and to his hometown. "I am so done with Baltimore being the murder capital of the world, and I want to do as much as I can to be a tool for the renaissance of Baltimore."

Artscape moved this year from its traditional July spot on the calendar to create opportunities to engage with students in an impactful way, organizers said.


Artscape remained in the historical footprint of Bolton Hill and Mount Vernon, but the festival expanded into the neighboring Station North Arts & Entertainment District.  

DJ Pee .Wee, the alter-ego of Grammy Award-winning artist Anderson .Paak, headlined the event. Other national acts included Muni Long, along with a bevy of local artists like Brandon Woody & Upendo, Chiffon, Jacq Jill and A4lenia. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performed on Sunday.

In addition to the performances, Artscape is showcasing visual arts experiences, performing arts, fashion designers, film, improv and comedy, literary arts programming and more. Click here for a complete list. 

Artist's Marketplace: Some of the best local artists set up shop at 1205 W. Mount Royal Avenue. 

Project Artscape: A runway show showcased local designers all weekend in the B.I.G. Improv Lot at Charles and Lafayette

Kidscape and Teenscape: Motorhouse hosted this family-friendly event for children and teens. 

B23 Exhibition: An indoor exhibition featured artists from Baltimore City and the surrounding region.

The Maryland Film Festival Shorts Fest: The SNF Parkway opened for a weekend of free shorts film screenings of Baltimore-based student work.

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