Street artists use walls as canvases, but probably only a few are given the opportunity to use an entire building. The aptly named Graffiti Warehouse, managed by the Rosenfeld Organization, is a massive industrial studio where street artists have access to a safe space and extra-large, 34-foot canvases to do their work. Though each artist is required to bring his or her own paint, completed pieces go up on display and can be sold on-site, with half the proceeds going back to the creator. More than a dozen established artists currently call this space an exhibition home for their paintings and other media.
Open Walls photography tours provide glimpses of select street artists' work and introduce guests to the streets of Baltimore by visiting nearby under-used urban spaces, sites of beautiful murals, and the one overpass where Picasso used to hang out. Street artists aren't the only clients served by the studio, though: Graffiti Warehouse also supplies art therapists and photographers with resources and studios that feature soaring nine-foot windows and private bathrooms.
Baltimore Heritage works to preserve and promote historic places in Baltimore. The organization spearheads architectural revitalization efforts and establishes educational programs, protecting the city's hidden gems and sharing the secrets and gossip of local monuments. Their work extends beyond the classroom walls. Dedicated guides lead Behind the Scenes Tours of the city, which might invite attendees to search the skyline for whimsical gargoyles, dig deep into tales of battles fought in the city, or explore historic private homes. And local ghosts aren't the only one taking note of Baltimore Heritage's entertaining and enriching offerings?CBS Baltimore named their excursions as one of the area's Best Walking Tours.
Since 1844, Maryland Historical Society has kept residents connected to their state's heritage by publishing educational books and a quarterly magazine. These days, its museum brings that archived history to life with more than 350,000 objects, most notably the oldest-known surviving manuscript of Francis Scott Key's "The Star-Spangled Banner," which includes its original, crossed out title, "Get Ready for Baseball, America." Guests can also marvel at artifacts ranging from 900 pieces of furniture made between 1634 and 2000 to more than 2,000 paintings, including seven by Joshua Johnson, America's first professional African American portrait painter. Meanwhile, its Civil War exhibit occupies more than 5,000 square feet with 3-D video presentations. The society also sponsors extensive educational programs that enlighten young students with field trips, plus adult programs that include lectures, concerts, and symposia.
Baltimore Comedy Factory has nonviolently busted guts with nationally sourced joke-slingers for nearly three decades. Several nights a week, the club schedules sets by stars pulled onto the stage fresh from appearances in blockbuster comedies and hit TV shows. Tucked within the Power Plant Live complex, the expansive new location finds room for comfy table seating, a beach-themed bar pouring sodas and cocktails, and an ample supply of super-size prop sunglasses.
A restored Tudor-style mansion filled with luxurious guestrooms, the Gramercy Mansion B&B caters to both romantic vacationers and unsentimental grouches seeking elegant accommodations. Wake up with a breakfast that’s perfected with aromatic herbs gathered from the hotel’s Koinonia organic farm, then roam around the secluded wildlife preserve and spot the various species of birds, mammals, and Larry Bird impersonators that live in the woodlands.
While designing the first synagogue in Maryland, architect Robert Cary Long Jr. cleaved to graceful, Greek Revival lines and pillars. In 1845, his vision came to life in the Lloyd Street Synagogue, which welcomed the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. Twenty-six years later, contention among the congregation about reforming its liturgy and ritual led some members to break off and form the Chizuk Amuno Congregation?who built their own Moorish Revival-style synagogue (known today as B?nai Israel Synagogue) right down the street from the first. Today, both places of worship nestle within the campus of the Jewish Museum of Maryland, formed in 1960 to rescue and restore the Lloyd Street Synagogue?which now claims the title of third-oldest standing synagogue in the United States.
The museum has gone beyond just restoring the historic place of worship, which included the preservation of its original 1845 mikveh, a ritual bath. It has built three exhibition galleries that interpret the Jewish-American experience, focusing on Jewish life in Maryland. Art, rare objects, photographs, and oral histories fill these spaces, forming rotating and permanent exhibits that delve into topics such as the symbolism and traditions of Jewish food and the evolution of the Jewish market on Lombard Street. In the lower level of the Lloyd Street Synagogue, a multimedia exhibit explores its three immigrant congregations.
Before leaving, visitors can stop by a gift shop to pick up necklaces with the Star of David, custom kippots, and toys. On the right day, guests can extend their visit to include events, or they can return for educational programming that teaches non-Jewish students about Judaism and guides teens in interfaith dialogues.
The historically curious can also make an appointment to trace genealogical roots at the Robert L. Weinberg Family History Center, found inside the museum?s Anne Adalman Goodwin Library. These form the JMM?s collections and research center, which boasts more than 150 major manuscript collections and 24,000 cataloged photographs.