Arts District

Baltimore Museum of Art Debuts New Branch at Lexington Market

BMA partners with the market to provide art programs, presentations, and gatherings.

By Sarah Price | June 27, 2019, 6:03 pm

The new BMA stall at Lexington Market -BMA
Arts District

Baltimore Museum of Art Debuts New Branch at Lexington Market

BMA partners with the market to provide art programs, presentations, and gatherings.

By Sarah Price | June 27, 2019, 6:03 pm

The new BMA stall at Lexington Market -BMA

Baltimore’s landmark Lexington Market, the longest continually running public market in America, currently sees more than one million visitors each year. The food hall has fed the city for nine generations, and now, it’s added art to the menu.

Today marked the official opening of the Baltimore Museum of Art’s (BMA) branch location at Lexington Market. The new gallery space welcomed nearly 120 people to a public opening reception last night, which showcased images from a youth photography program at the Greenmount West Community Center. From photos of flowers to selfies of smiling teenagers, the exhibit showed the community in a whole new light.

In addition, a workshop for young adults was led by New Orleans-based artists Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick. The two have worked together for more than 30 years photographing Louisiana and its people.

“We felt extremely strongly that it is not enough to change our public programs and expect people to descend on us,” says Chris Bedford, executive director at the BMA. “Rather we found it important to extend ourselves into the city to engage different communities.”

But this is not the first extension of the museum. Two branch locations were established during World War II and saw more than 55,000 visitors between 1943 and 1948. The Lexington Market space continues to add to that legacy.

“The activation of a stall that had previously sat vacant for a few years with art and programming does wonderful things for the market,” says Stacey Pack, Lexington Market project manager. “Equally exciting is the energy and discussions that take place within this area. This also gives people another reason to either visit the market or linger longer.”

There are a lot of issues to consider with the redevelopment of an institution like Lexington Market. With a lot of residents relying on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), locals are concerned about gentrification and price increases.

Patrons enjoy the exhibit at the BMA Lexington Market -BMA

According to Dave Eassa, manager of community engagement for the BMA, rotating themes will inspire future programs and activities. In honor of the market where the branch resides, the first topic is food, and it will touch on aspects such as nutrition, access, and local foodways.

“Food was the most prevalent issue when talking with merchants and users of the market,” Eassa says. “Many merchants are losing SNAP and as Seawall is trying to redevelop, everyone is worried about access to fresh, affordable food that they have relied on the market to provide for over 200 years.”

A redevelopment project, Transform Lexington, is currently being planned to include a new market structure and urban plaza. The East Market will remain open throughout the revamp and regular hours at the BMA branch will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday through Saturday with free admission.

“This location is very unique because it truly is a public space where people from all backgrounds and walks of life gather and visit,” Pack says. “Lexington Market has always been a hub for Baltimore City so this location really is perfect.”

Although the market is going through a transformative period, the BMA branch is expected to remain a part of the space. The inspiration came from another program the museum has run previously called the Outpost, which was essentially a nomadic museum that roamed across Baltimore.

“Those communities were not satisfied with a fleeting engagement, but instead wanted a far more sustained conversation with the BMA,” Bedford says. “[We want to make] it clear that we are the specific museum for the city, that our doors are open to all, that our fundamental mandate is relevant, and that we are willing to go to any lengths to achieve that.”




Meet The Author

Sarah Price is the digital intern at Baltimore magazine. She is a rising senior majoring in journalism at Penn State and writes most about food, events, lifestyle, and community news.



You May Also Like


Food & Drink

Local Flavor Live Podcast: The Art of Dining Solo

Plus, Whitehall Mill vendor lineup, Restaurant Week tips, and our best bites this week.

In Good Taste

Papi Cuisine Chef Alex Perez Talks Growing in the Local Food Scene

B-more Kitchen producer prepares to defend his title at Battle of the Brands competition.

On The Town

Shark Week Specials Swimming Our Way in Baltimore

From themed food to aquatic events, sharks are lurking at local bars and restaurants.


Food & Drink

Review: Flamant

At Flamant in Annapolis, expect the unexpected.

In Good Taste

Open & Shut: The Charmery; Coelum; Ono Poke

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.

On The Town

Baltimore’s Little-Known Pickle History Celebrated at New Festival

Everything from fried pickles to pickle ice cream will be served at the September 22 event.

Connect With Us

Most Read


What is the Likelihood of President Trump Coming to Baltimore?: With a House Republican conference and an invitation from Elijah Cummings, a presidential visit might be imminent.

Developers Hope to Unveil Greektown’s Yard 56 by 2020: The mixed-use project will be anchored by Streets Market and LA Fitness.

Relics of Baltimore's Forgotten Punk Scene Showcased in New Metro Gallery Exhibit: Celebrated Summer Records owner Tony Pence curates fliers, photos, and music from 1977 to 1989.

Severe Flooding Plagues Neighborhoods Surrounding the Inner Harbor: Stark images of Harbor East and Fells Point arise on social media as area reckons with heavy rainfall.

Oletha DeVane Showcases Sculptural Works in 'Traces of Spirit' at the BMA: Local multidisciplinary artist explores religion, nature, and humanity in exhibit on view through October 20.