Arts District

Culture Club: Mother Earth Poetry and Paying Homage to Martin Luther King Jr. and Edgar Allan Poe

Our monthly roundup of openings, events, and news from the art world.

Visual Art

Scott Pennington’s Two-Minute Joys
Scott Pennington’s art is nothing if not fun. He draws from his experience as a furniture maker to craft large-scale, interactive artwork. Through several light-based installations and wall pieces, his latest show, Two-Minute Joys, explores a tradition Pennington grew up with: the carnivals that make their rounds from town to town, bringing people together among their bright lights, rich colors, and the sweet scent of carnival food. It’s what the artist refers to as the “carnival aesthetic,” prevalent throughout his work. Indulge in a carnival trip of the mind at Maryland Art Place, courtesy of Pennington. Jan. 18 through March 10, MAP, 218 W. Saratoga St. Reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 18.

Curatorial tour of Beyond Flight: Birds in African Art
The Baltimore Museum of Art exhibit Beyond Flight: Birds in African Art shows the many uses of birds in sub-Saharan art. See the dramatic masks worn during rituals, herbalists’ staffs, and household objects embellished with bird imagery while meditating on how these winged creatures have piqued our curiosity over the centuries. As BMA associate curator of African art Kevin Tervala pointed out, birds make up less than one percent of living things and yet are used extensively throughout all artistic genres. Through June 10, BMA, 10 Art Museum Drive; curatorial tour from 2 to 3 p.m. Jan. 5.

Art talk with longtime MICA instructor James Hennessey
As a decades-long painting instructor at Maryland Institute College of Art, James Hennessey influenced the work of thousands of Baltimore artists. His retrospective exhibit at the Creative Alliance, Enduring Concerns, celebrates him with a survey of his paintings done over the years that he’s worked in the city. Through Jan. 13, with an artist talk at 7 p.m. Jan. 6, Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave.


King of What: Bboy/Bgirl Jam
Motor House will play host to breakers from across the U.S. and Canada during its five-hour King of What, which kicks off with a cypher that will allow hundreds of dancers to showcase their skills before a selected few move into one-on-one competition—i.e., before things get real. One lucky break-boy or -girl will be named the best and take home $1,000 (and someone else will win a $100 prize for having the flyest getup). And if five hours isn’t enough, there’s an after party. 5 to 10 p.m. Jan. 20 at Motor House, 120 W. North Ave.


Hirsute live
The only thing better than an album listening party is an album performed live in its entirety. Amy Reid will provide us with this gift at the performance of her 2017 release Hirsute at the Motor House. She’ll be joined by a band to combine electronica, vocals, and live instrumentation. Plus, guest artists  Infinity Knives & Randi will perform, and Hanna Olivegren (of Zomes) and Noelle Tolbert will explore movement and sound. 9 p.m. Jan. 6 at the Motor House, 120 W. North Ave.

Off The Cuff: Impressionist Masterworks
For a tasty music and art pairing, try the January installment of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Off the Cuff series, where the music of Debussy and Ravel will be performed alongside projected images of Impressionist art by Monet, Degas, Cézanne, and others, and you’ll learn how Impressionism influenced composers of the day. In collaboration with the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Impressionist Masterworks short-format concert includes commentary from BSO music director Marin Alsop and BMA senior curator of European painting and sculpture Katy Rothkopf, who will provide context to enrich the experience. An after party, Ravel on the Rocks, will extend the night with live gypsy jazz by Orchester Prazevica and food from Dooby’s. 7 p.m. Jan. 13, Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St.

Literary Arts

Red Emma’s Mother Earth Poetry Vibe
The gift of poetry is its ability to inspire us. With that idea in mind, Red Emma’s Mother Earth Poetry Vibe is an open mic that focuses on work that engages conscious thought, spirituality, justice, equality, and, in short, raises the vibration of our collective consciousness. All are welcome to share, while Philadelphia-based lyricist, author, educator, and voiceover artist Lyrispect will be the featured guest of the evening. 6:30 to 9 p.m. Feb. 3 at Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse, 30 W. North Ave.


Edgar Allan Poe: Evermore
Raise your glass for a toast to the macabre poet Baltimore claims as its own, Edgar Allan Poe, who would have been 209 on Jan. 19, had he not died of . . . well, either alcohol, brain congestion, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, tuberculosis, or suicide (don’t worry, folks, you’ll just be drinking nonalcoholic apple cider, courtesy of Poe Baltimore). 6 to 6:30 p.m. Jan. 19 at Westminster Hall and Burying Ground, 519 W. Fayette St.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade
“We’ve got some difficult days ahead,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said to a crowd in Memphis, Tennessee, less than 24 hours before he was assassinated. “But it really doesn’t matter with me now because I’ve been to the mountaintop. . . . I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land.” Baltimore will celebrate the legendary Civil Rights activist on his birthday with a parade down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Noon to 2 p.m. Jan. 15.

Moonifestations of Ancestor Earth closing
What do you get when you combine meditation with January’s waxing moon? One guess is Moonifestations. Xander Dumas and Elliot Moonstone, better known as The Dandy Vagabonds, will close out their fiber-art installation Moonifestations of Ancestor Earth: a voyage of expansion at the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower with a guided meditation. Through the use of astrology and gemstones, they’ll help the group to “moonifest” individual and collective intentions. Come dressed in the likeness of your favorite element, stone, or planet, and bring a journal. Noon to 2 p.m. Jan. 27, Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower Galleries, 21 S. Eutaw St.


Resort, a new contemporary art gallery
Resort, a new gallery in Baltimore exhibiting contemporary art, will hold its inaugural show this month. A Big Toe Touches a Green Tomato will showcase the work of former artistic director of The Contemporary Ginevra Shay and Philadelphia-based artist and self-described “plant person” Roxana Azar. Jan. 20 through March 3; opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Jan. 20, Resort, 235 Park Ave.