American Visionary Art Museum is part of Free Fall Baltimore Event
The American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) is an art museum located in the Federal Hill neighborhood at 800 Key Highway in Baltimore, Maryland. The city agreed to give the museum a piece of land on the south shore of the Inner Harbor under the condition that its organizers would clean up residual pollution from a copper paint factory and a whiskey warehouse that formerly occupied the site. It has been designated by Congress as America’s national museum for self-taught art.
The founder and director of the AVAM is Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, a former psychiatric nurse who left her job to “trumpet the wonders of raw human creativity”. The museum was opened to the public on November 24, 1995.
AVAM has 55,000 square feet of exhibit space but has a permanent collection of only 4,000 pieces. The collection includes works by visionary artists Ho Baron, Clyde Jones, Vollis Simpson and Ben Wilson as well as over 40 pieces from the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre of London. Some of this work is displayed in a gallery on the first floor of the Main Building, throughout the James Rouse Visionary Center, and outdoors when new temporary themed exhibitions are being installed.
The museum has no staff curators, preferring to use guest curators for its shows. Rather than focusing shows on specific artists or styles, it sponsors themed exhibitions with titles such as Wind in Your Hair and High on Life. Hoffberger takes pride in the fact that AVAM is “pretty un-museumy”.
The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts has created the Free Fall Baltimore Event. Throughout the month of October the following Museums and Arts venues are offering specific performances, events, workshops, and exhibits for free:
- American Visionary Art Museum
- Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum
- Baltimore Museum of Art
- Baltimore Museum of Industry
- Contemporary Museum
- Homewood Museum
- Maryland Institute College of Art
- Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture
- School 33 Art Center
- The Walters Art Museum
Space is limited for some of these events. Advanced registration may be needed.
Today I’ll highlight a little more about what is happening at the American Visionary Art Museum.
On Friday October 2nd at 7pm, there will be a preview party for “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”. There is limited access and reduced admission pricing until the opening which is Saturday October 3rd.
On Sunday October 25th, as part of the Free Fall Baltimore event, the American Visionary Art Museum is having an open house with free admission. They will be featuring their new exhibit “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” with music, performances, and a panel discussion:
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness
A celebration through a variety of performing arts media of the museumâ€™s current exhibition: â€œLife, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happinessâ€ featuring performances from the Maryland Correctional Training Center by Baltimore-based playwright Bashi Rose. Theatrical pieces/film from the Hagerstown prison showcase meditations on civil rights from the perspective of these incarcerated men. Mr. Rose will also serve as a member of a panel discussion for the Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness exhibit. Free admission to the museum.
Sun Oct 25 10am â€“ 6 pm
No advance reservations required.
Since 1999 the American Visionary Art Museum has been sponsoring the east coast Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race. The 2010 event will be on Saturday May 1st. This is an amazing event, and it deserves a blog post of it’s own. I have some time before that post is timely, but if you want to enter, you may want to start building over the cold winter. Maybe a house with a heated garage would warm your heart a little.
Photo Credit: Vox Efx.