March 26, 2007


One of the wonderful things about Baltimore is its excellent and varied museums. From the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture to the Walters Art Museum, from the Baltimore Museum of Art to the Baltimore Museum of Industry, you can find nearly anything you want. But one of the most interesting museums is the American Visionary Art Museum.

According to AVAM, visionary art is created by "self-taught individuals, usually without formal training, whose works arise from an innate personal vision that revels foremost in the creative act itself. In short, visionary art begins by listening to the inner voices of the soul, and often may not even be thought of as 'art' by its creator."

There are always the most interesting and fun events at AVAM, in addition to the extraordinary artworks, which range from a 60-foot high whirlygig to a replica of the Titanic made of used matchsticks. AVAM sponsors the annual kinetic sculpture race where home-made vehicles race though the harbourside neighbourhoods. They must be human powered and also be able to race on the streets, through mud and across the water. It's an incredible sight to see a 15-foot high pink poodle cruising down the streets.
One of the things I like most about AVAM is the outside of the building, which is one HUGE mosiac design. Initially, the designer wanted to use white china for the base, but since he couldn't find it in bulk, he used mirrors, which read white. People from all over donated old china and blue bottles, something for which Baltimore was known. The idea is to wrap the building in panels of mosiac, and I think that they're halfway there. I either drove or sailed by the mosiacs on my way to and from work for about five years and just loved to see it sparkling in the sun and light.

AVAM is not your mother's museum with impressionist paintings and lovely decorative arts. Instead, it makes you think about what art is, who makes it, and why they do it.
Thanks to Hue for the idea for this!


  1. Sounds like an interesting museum with such innovative works! Can you tell me why Baltimore is known for blue glass? What's the history behind that? Just curious!

  2. You're most welcome! I really enjoyed your post. I just love the Kinetic Sculpture Race. Have you seen their awards? They are magnificent.

  3. I enjoy the use of mirrors in the last picture. It's interesting how they integrate the surroundings by turning them into a mosaic, in a way.


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