Hailed as the largest free arts festival in the country, Baltimore’s annual street fair always takes place amid the season’s hottest days – in mid-July our Baltimore weather is usually sunny and scorchingly hot. By contrast, yesterday’s Artscape weather was cool and rainy. The temperature never rose above the mid 60s. In fact, the free hand-fans, in short supply last year, were piled on tables unwanted in downtown Baltimore on Saturday. Misting tents, always popular during Artscape, went unused, and the bands headlining several stages on three streets closed to vehicular traffic for the fair had to get used to the idea that they were going to be performing on a wet stage, clothes soaked to their skin, their huge speakers and other electronic equipment tightly wrapped in black garbage bags to help keep moisture at bay.
It was unusual to stride among the throngs while dodging umbrellas. In fact, there were no throngs when I arrived on the scene in early afternoon. As the day progressed, however, it became evident that people were intent on coming out to enjoy the festival despite the rain, and by the time I departed around 5:00 p.m., this year’s Artscape looked almost as busy as any other’s.
Knowing I would possibly be facing some deep mud puddles, I chose a comfortable black cotton jumpsuit by Champagne with narrow pant-legs reaching just to the ankles in order to avoid having my hemlines soak up water from the wet streets in a wicking effect. I cinched the vintage one-piece with a wide, stretchy black belt from Target and chose comfy bronze and black walking sandals by Limited Collection, which I bought at Dunnes department store in Ireland a few weeks ago when my luggage failed to arrive in Dublin when I did. To my simple ensemble I added only a black beaded choker which I found on the pavement in a parking lot several years ago, some simple crystal and black earrings, and a stretchy bracelet of black stones.
The festival was lots of fun. I amused myself by climbing a ladder to channel my inner "Yeti", then admired a sixteen-foot tall metal sculpture, by Christian Restow, of an animatronic, radio-controlled face connected to levers that the public could manipulate to change the sculpture’s expressions. And I was thrilled when, while perusing the exhibits on display in the gallery of the esteemed Maryland Institute College of Art, whose campus lies at the heart of Artscape, a MICA student said she absolutely loved my jumpsuit. Good to know my vintage clothing is capable of rave reviews by the most avant-garde of emerging artists.
I spent my hard-earned pennies on a delightful jeweled bug pin by Baltimore artist Rick Shelley to add to my collection of his whimsical artwork. But the highlight of the day had to be when I succumbed to the lure of a gorgeous necklace of orange branch coral, freshwater pearls, blister pearls and Swarovski crystals handmade by Lisa Davin of Dzyns by Lisa, exhibiting far from her home in Hollywood, Florida (http://www.designsbylisajewelry.com/). This standout piece is going to look super paired with a simple collared shirt or a knockout dress. I can hardly wait to wear it somewhere!