An Art Lover's Guide to Baltimore

Happily situated on the Atlantic Coast, Baltimore is known for its fresh seafood, sports teams, quirky residents (isn’t that right, ‘hon?) and somewhat tragic affiliation with Edgar Allen Poe. While art may not be the first thing that comes to the minds of visitors to Charm City, it certainly has an important role to play in shaping the area’s vibrant culture - Baltimore is packed with museums, street art and festivals that any metropolis would be proud of. If you’re a fan of art (or your sweetheart is), consult our art lover’s guide to Baltimore when planning your trip.

The Baltimore Museum of Art

baltimore museum of art

The Baltimore Museum of Art is one of the top spots in Charm City for art lovers to visit, and even the most cultured of travelers won’t be disappointed by the museum’s collection of works by Henri Matisse (the largest in the world). While the museum began with just a single object, today it is home to 90,000 works of art, including a world-renowned collection of contemporary works from artists such as Andy Warhol and Kara Walker. General admission is free, although you may have to pay for a ticket to see special exhibitions, such as the recently raved-about works of street artist Gaia.



Baltimore Mural Program: CityPaint

Speaking of street art, travelers who have an adventurous spirit will want to take a look at the exciting results of Charm City’s CityPaint program. A joint project between the mayor’s office and the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, CityPaint is an initiative to cover the city with murals designed and created by local artists. The project also partners with community organizations, neighborhood groups and corporations to turn artists’ visions into realities. There’s a helpful Baltimore Mural Program map that will show you where to find these gritty artistic gems.



Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower

Want to get up close and personal with Baltimore’s artists and see where the magic happens? The Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower is a 12-story building that consists of nothing but artist studio space. Artists occupying the space range from professional visual artists to theatrical performancers. Every Saturday between May and August, guests can visit artists’ studios and view or buy works of art.



American Visionary Arts Museum

There really are no words to adequately describe the American Visionary Art Museum, but the Giant WhirliGig (Baltimore’s most well-loved and largest sculptural landmark, at 55 feet tall) sums it up pretty well. This wacky world of contemporary art - all created by self-taught artists - is the highlight of any trip to Baltimore, but especially for those who are fond of art and are kids at heart. AVAM has more than 4,000 pieces in its permanent collection, so you’ll have plenty to explore.



Artscape

As America’s largest free arts festival, Artscape is something art-lovers will have to plan a trip to Baltimore to see. It features the work of more than 150 artists, fashion designers and craftspeople, and is jam-packed with outdoor sculptures, visual art exhibits, live concerts, street theater and the famous art cars. The whole neighborhood gets into the spirit, with local businesses hosting many of the events (be sure to check out the work of the Sondheim Artscape Prize finalists at The Walters).



The Walters Art Museum

Another free (can you believe it?) and internationally renowned museum in Charm City is The Walters Art Museum. Home to such amazing works as 14th century triptychs, Chinese statues from the Ming period and Old Master paintings, The Walters Art Museum is a must-see for any art lover visiting Baltimore. Today, the collection consists of more than 35,000 works and spans 55 centuries of art from around the world.

By Nicole Martinez