Thursday, July 23, 2009

On the Way to Baltimore

On our way up to Baltimore on Saturday, we stopped at a naval college training town to check out the abandoned buildings of what is left of the old college which closed in 1976, having served the U.S. for 34 years. Much of the college has been razed to the ground to eventually make way for further campuses and housing but some buildings remained.

This was on one of the walls and made some interesting reading.

Pipes and wheels in the boiler room.

Many of the buildings housed workshops where the trainees would learn trades such as woodwork, electrical, plastering and as in the above photo, cementing.

I loved the light through this broken glass.

All the buildings were in an advanced state of decay with paint peeling off walls and doors in huge curling lumps. I found it strange that in one of the buildings the doors had been previously red but were then painted light grey as though a solemn and sombre mood needed to be established.

There were small mosaic tiles once neatly laid on this rooftop and which now were lifting and scattered around.
After lunch, we drove to Baltimore, parked up on a side street and walked to Artscape which is the largest free public arts festival in the country. On the way, we passed an alley from which a strong smelled of cellulose wafted out. Intrigued we entered the alley, finding a riot of color emblazoned on the walls and a small group of youths spraying designs and slogans on the walls.

This is known locally as Graffiti Alley, on Howard Street, with the walls covered in spray paint as far up as arms could reach or climb to. Their excitement was infectious and once they realized we only wanted to take photos for 'art's sake', they loosened up and continued spraying their cans, while we circled them, encouraging them with praise and our shutters snapping furiously.
How they endured the fumes was beyond me and after 15 minutes or so, we left to continue towards Artscape.

Cake were playing when we arrived, with people crowding the arena area, spilling onto the streets and climbing up anything they could to get a better view. Artscape features 150+ artists, fashion designers and craftspeople; visual art exhibits on and off site, including exhibitions, outdoor sculpture, art cars, photography, incredible live concerts on three outdoor stages; a full schedule of performing arts including dance, opera, theater, fashion, film, experimental music and performances by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; family events such as hands-on projects, demonstrations, competitions, children’s entertainers and multiple street theater locations. The atmosphere was electric and overwhelming. There were so many people it was difficult to move in some areas.

It was a great place to just sit and 'people watch' if you could find a space to do so. Arriving late, we sampled only a very small piece of the action and I resolved to allocate a whole day next year.
We spent a few hours walking around, watching peoples' eccentricities and sitting drinking beer on the grass before we headed for home along with thousands of others wanting to travel the same route.

This van pulled in front of us; the whole outside was covered in cameras or parts of cameras. It must've taken hours to decorate. Note the license plate!

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