Andrea Boston and Nia Johnson seem like they’ve been friends forever, but it wasn’t until 2014 that the former high school classmates reconnected and got to know each other.
Both involved in the arts, they sought an open creative space where artists could break out of their inner circles. “One day we were talking and said, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we put together an event that brought Baltimore’s creative community together?’” says Johnson.
In September 2015, they founded SunSets, a monthly meet up modeled after the salon gatherings of the Harlem Renaissance. Each pop-up event has a different theme and features guests that range from photographers to farmers, including Jenné Afiya of arts collective Balti Gurls, local author D. Watkins, and former NFL player (and painter) Aaron Maybin.
Hopping between private homes and innovative venues such as Dovecote Cafe and Impact Hub, the meet up’s goal is to create a relaxed environment based on artistic exchange and expression, where local creatives can connect and collaborate alongside live music, a variety of vendors, and—always a good incentive—free wine. Their next event will be held at the Maryland Institute College of Art on December 9.
Despite the fun atmosphere, SunSets also encourages serious social discussion.
“We try to have themes that are conscious contrasts to what’s going on in the world, as we are all processing a lot of pain [in light of recent events],” says Johnson. “We try to always provide light.”