American Visionary Art Museum

American Visionary Art Museum AVAM is the official national museum for self-taught, intuitive artistry located in Downtown Baltimore's Inner Harbor next to Federal Hill Park.
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AMERICAN VISIONARY ART MUSEUM (AVAM) is America’s official national museum and education center for self-taught, intuitive artistry. The 1.1-acre wonderland campus includes 3 renovated historic industrial buildings that house wonders created by farmers, housewives, mechanics, retired folk, the homeless, as well as the occasional neurosurgeon–all inspired by the fire within. Using materials from ro

AMERICAN VISIONARY ART MUSEUM (AVAM) is America’s official national museum and education center for self-taught, intuitive artistry. The 1.1-acre wonderland campus includes 3 renovated historic industrial buildings that house wonders created by farmers, housewives, mechanics, retired folk, the homeless, as well as the occasional neurosurgeon–all inspired by the fire within. Using materials from ro

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Happy 70th birthday to the creator of the best museum store one could ever ask for, Ted Frankel of Sideshow at the Ameri...
06/23/2021

Happy 70th birthday to the creator of the best museum store one could ever ask for, Ted Frankel of Sideshow at the American Visionary Art Museum.

“In 2004 Ted Frankel, the legendary retailer of Chicago’s famed Uncle Fun store (although I knew nothing about that), walked through our door with artist Nancy Josephson. I was instantly smitten and in an instinctive leap of faith, declared him, ‘The One’ to take over our store. Ted had never before been to Baltimore, but just one month later he, too, was moved to make Bmore his home. The way Ted loves people, never tires of doing magic tricks for kids, and runs the awesomest museum store in the universe is pure miraculous blessing. Happy Birthday to my beautiful spirit brother & a mega living gift to Baltimore! Love & So Grateful” - Rebecca Hoffberger, founder and director of the American Visionary Art Museum

Happy 70th birthday to the creator of the best museum store one could ever ask for, Ted Frankel of Sideshow at the American Visionary Art Museum.

“In 2004 Ted Frankel, the legendary retailer of Chicago’s famed Uncle Fun store (although I knew nothing about that), walked through our door with artist Nancy Josephson. I was instantly smitten and in an instinctive leap of faith, declared him, ‘The One’ to take over our store. Ted had never before been to Baltimore, but just one month later he, too, was moved to make Bmore his home. The way Ted loves people, never tires of doing magic tricks for kids, and runs the awesomest museum store in the universe is pure miraculous blessing. Happy Birthday to my beautiful spirit brother & a mega living gift to Baltimore! Love & So Grateful” - Rebecca Hoffberger, founder and director of the American Visionary Art Museum

Ahead of #Juneteenth, a detail of “Lincoln—Emancipation Proclamation” by Malcah Zeldis, collection of Malcah Zeldis, cou...
06/16/2021

Ahead of #Juneteenth, a detail of “Lincoln—Emancipation Proclamation” by Malcah Zeldis, collection of Malcah Zeldis, courtesy of Andrew Edlin Gallery. The work was on view in our exhibition “The Art of War and Peace: Toward An End To Hatred” 2001-2002.

You’re invited to a free community reading on Tuesday, June 29, 7pm ET of selections from "Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619 to 2019" written by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain, PhD. The virtual gathering honors Juneteenth, the day when Union troops arrived on June 19, 1865 in Texas—the westernmost state at the time—with news of the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring enslaved people free.

The online commemoration aims to deepen our understanding of the history of the holiday and explore its immense, contemporary significance. To learn more and RSVP, visit https://www.avam.org/event-details/community-reading-commemorating-juneteenth

This event is organized by Jewish Museum of Maryland in partnership with AVAM, Baltimore Museum of Industry Baltimore Center Stage David London Reginald F. Lewis Museum The Peale Center and Enoch Pratt Free Library.

Ahead of #Juneteenth, a detail of “Lincoln—Emancipation Proclamation” by Malcah Zeldis, collection of Malcah Zeldis, courtesy of Andrew Edlin Gallery. The work was on view in our exhibition “The Art of War and Peace: Toward An End To Hatred” 2001-2002.

You’re invited to a free community reading on Tuesday, June 29, 7pm ET of selections from "Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619 to 2019" written by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain, PhD. The virtual gathering honors Juneteenth, the day when Union troops arrived on June 19, 1865 in Texas—the westernmost state at the time—with news of the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring enslaved people free.

The online commemoration aims to deepen our understanding of the history of the holiday and explore its immense, contemporary significance. To learn more and RSVP, visit https://www.avam.org/event-details/community-reading-commemorating-juneteenth

This event is organized by Jewish Museum of Maryland in partnership with AVAM, Baltimore Museum of Industry Baltimore Center Stage David London Reginald F. Lewis Museum The Peale Center and Enoch Pratt Free Library.

#ThursdayThoughts Bubble gum art by Ben Wilson painted on discarded gum in the streets of London. Ben is known for his b...
06/10/2021

#ThursdayThoughts Bubble gum art by Ben Wilson painted on discarded gum in the streets of London. Ben is known for his beautifully carved works such as our newly restored Meditation Chapel. But, having seen many of his sculptures vandalized and destroyed, he began working in a new medium.

Ben had become discouraged by the litter and waste he saw that had become part of urban society. Retreating to the woods, he worked in secret, but still came into contact with refuse even there. He then began incorporating waste into his work. Cigarette butts and potato chip bags became parts of his collages.

Ben started experimenting with chewing gum paintings in 1998, and eventually adopted it full time in 2004. For years he had painted on billboards and posters, trying to make a difference to the urban environment. However, as it was illegal, chewing gum freed him to make miniature paintings anywhere in London for himself, or anyone else, without having to obtain permission, and enabled him to work in the spontaneous manner that he has always treasured. ‘Our environment is very controlled and what we need so very strongly is diversity. Even galleries, museums, publishing companies are all very controlled. I want to be able to do my work and to bypass bureaucracy,’ he asserts.”

- Text adapted from Raw Vision Magazine

Prior to our opening in 1995, we received a major donation from the collection of “the Father of British Art Therapy,” a...
06/04/2021

Prior to our opening in 1995, we received a major donation from the collection of “the Father of British Art Therapy,” as Edward Adamson is known. Today, we remember Adamson’s partner and collaborator, John Timlin, who passed away last fall. #FlashbackFriday. Without Timlin’s dedication, the Adamson Collection would not have survived. Almost entirely as a result of this donation and another significant one from Dr. Otto Billig, the head of the Department of Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University, our permanent collection now includes more than 5,000 items.

Timlin first connected with Adamson in 1953. Having heard about Adamson’s groundbreaking work in art therapy, Timlin wished to discuss some drawings produced by a child he was assisting. These “Apple Drawings” are featured in “Art as Healing,” the book they co-authored in 1984. They subsequently donated the drawings to their friend Rebecca Hoffberger, AVAM’s founder, for the inauguration of the museum.

Timlin specialized in working with challenging children. His response to a boy who had just broken a window in rage, was to purchase glass and putty so that they could fix it together. Subsequently, the school caretaker smashed the window again, claiming it was “union work”. The boy said to Timlin, "And they say we are crazy."

Timlin was an educator and healer, a marvelous friend, a generous host and a skilled raconteur. The recognition of his contribution to the field of art and mental health will only grow.

- Text adapted from the obituary written by David O’Flynn of the Adamson Collection Trust and published in Raw Vision Magazine https://rawvision.com/shop/raw-vision-107

Pictured: Works from the Adamson Collection in the museum permanent collection

Newly restored and now OPEN: our Meditation Chapel after a year of work by master woodworker Bob Little. The public may ...
05/28/2021

Newly restored and now OPEN: our Meditation Chapel after a year of work by master woodworker Bob Little. The public may now once again enter and climb the chapel tower as a contemplative space in the city. Originally constructed by UK-based artist Ben Wilson in 1996, Mother Nature had taken its toll in the ensuing years, until we were forced to close the chapel to public access in 2019.

The Meditation Chapel is also an altar, serving as a beloved backdrop for countless weddings performed at AVAM over the years. Now, they may enjoy it once again.

The sculpture and the museum are open to visit in person Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm. For timed tickets, see avam.org.

A head's up: Our July 4th Pet Parade & Flicks on the Hill summer movie series, are both postponed until 2022, out of con...
05/26/2021

A head's up: Our July 4th Pet Parade & Flicks on the Hill summer movie series, are both postponed until 2022, out of continuing concern for the safety and wellbeing of the public, and that of our staff. We're sorry to disappoint, but look forward to coming out of our shell next year! While these large summer events are postponed, we remain OPEN to visit Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm. For timed tickets, see http://avam.org/tickets. Additionally, we have a drop-in, art workshop Sat., Jul. 3, 10am-12pm, IN-PERSON, inspired by the collage work of artist William Hall. His drawings are currently on view in our exhibition "The Secret Life of Earth." No RSVP is required for the workshop. Just come by! To learn more about “Weekend Walk-In: Earth Collage,” see https://www.avam.org/event-details/weekend-walk-in-earth-collage. We hope to see you soon!

Photo: Shawn Levin

A head's up: Our July 4th Pet Parade & Flicks on the Hill summer movie series, are both postponed until 2022, out of continuing concern for the safety and wellbeing of the public, and that of our staff. We're sorry to disappoint, but look forward to coming out of our shell next year! While these large summer events are postponed, we remain OPEN to visit Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm. For timed tickets, see http://avam.org/tickets. Additionally, we have a drop-in, art workshop Sat., Jul. 3, 10am-12pm, IN-PERSON, inspired by the collage work of artist William Hall. His drawings are currently on view in our exhibition "The Secret Life of Earth." No RSVP is required for the workshop. Just come by! To learn more about “Weekend Walk-In: Earth Collage,” see https://www.avam.org/event-details/weekend-walk-in-earth-collage. We hope to see you soon!

Photo: Shawn Levin

#BlackLivesMatter Abraham “Abe” Lincoln Criss first worked as a janitor in Essex County, New Jersey, before becoming a f...
05/25/2021

#BlackLivesMatter Abraham “Abe” Lincoln Criss first worked as a janitor in Essex County, New Jersey, before becoming a furniture craftsman. Born in Cumberland, Virginia, he returned to his home state in the 1960’s, where he started his own antique and furniture repair business. Criss began disassembling the pieces and combining the parts to create new works. Soon, he began sculpting human and animal figures in 1976 using recovered tree parts. Criss would also often prepare his own special mixture containing sawdust, and other additives in order to strengthen his creations. Criss was naturally attracted to Paulownia trees, because “the root that always has a heart hidden in it.”

Criss gained in popularity after he was recognized in 1985 by Folk Art Society of America founder, Ann Oppenheimer. Criss eventually moved back to a retirement home in New Jersey to be closer to his daughters before his death in 2000.

Criss’ work is currently on view in our exhibit “The Secret Life of Earth,” open to visit Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm. To learn more: avam.org

#BlackLivesMatter Abraham “Abe” Lincoln Criss first worked as a janitor in Essex County, New Jersey, before becoming a furniture craftsman. Born in Cumberland, Virginia, he returned to his home state in the 1960’s, where he started his own antique and furniture repair business. Criss began disassembling the pieces and combining the parts to create new works. Soon, he began sculpting human and animal figures in 1976 using recovered tree parts. Criss would also often prepare his own special mixture containing sawdust, and other additives in order to strengthen his creations. Criss was naturally attracted to Paulownia trees, because “the root that always has a heart hidden in it.”

Criss gained in popularity after he was recognized in 1985 by Folk Art Society of America founder, Ann Oppenheimer. Criss eventually moved back to a retirement home in New Jersey to be closer to his daughters before his death in 2000.

Criss’ work is currently on view in our exhibit “The Secret Life of Earth,” open to visit Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm. To learn more: avam.org

Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend, Iowa was built stone by stone by Father Paul Matthias Dobberstein s...
05/04/2021

Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend, Iowa was built stone by stone by Father Paul Matthias Dobberstein starting in 1912, with the help of Matt Szerensce over the span of 52 years. As a young seminarian, Dobberstein had become gravely ill with pneumonia. He promised to the Holy Mother that if he survived, he would erect a shrine in her honor.

Over 10 years, he collected minerals and precious and semi-precious stones, petrified wood, malachite, azurite, agates, geodes, jasper, quartz, topaz, calcite, stalactites, stalagmites and more. Purchased and donated materials helped create the final grotto.

The site is an inspiration behind artist Becca Kacanda’s practice and the virtual art workshop she leads with us on Tuesday, June 8, 7pm. To register to make your own grotto-inspired piece, visit https://www.avam.org/event-details/virtual-face-vessel-workshop-with-rotto-grotto

Photos: Carl Wycoff and Alejandro Palido

Congratulations to the winners of the miniature Kinetic Sculpture Race 2021! They were among 40 models that competed thi...
05/03/2021

Congratulations to the winners of the miniature Kinetic Sculpture Race 2021! They were among 40 models that competed this weekend over miniature mud, sand and water obstacles in an ode to AVAM’s annual wacky race of human-powered sculptures.

People’s Choice Award AND Worst Honorable Mention: Sheldon’s Big Adventure by Mike Shelley. The sculpture made of real cat hair, with a litter box as base, spilled kitty litter and wrecked havoc all over the race. It also captivated the hearts of viewers at home.

Golden Flipper Award for its memorable face plant in the water obstacle: S.S. Thiqq Monkey by St. Paul’s School for Boys

Art Award: Howley Davidson’s Dream by team SodaQuackers.com

Engineering Award: Wrecking Bear by Nova Labs

Born to be Wild Award for the sculpture that best embodied the race theme: BuhBuh Fish by Laura Knapp and daughter Isolene Bautro, aged 1.5 years old

In case you missed it, it’s available on our page American Visionary Art Museum and will be posted later this week on our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVDwfOdQ5Y0

Thanks to all who competed and tuned in! We look forward to seeing you in person for human-sized Kinetic next year!

Today! Miniature Fifi looks forward to seeing you, 5/1, 11am ET at the Miniature Kinetic Sculpture Race. RSVP to watch o...
05/01/2021

Today! Miniature Fifi looks forward to seeing you, 5/1, 11am ET at the Miniature Kinetic Sculpture Race. RSVP to watch online at https://www.avam.org/event-details/honey-i-shrunk-the-kinetic-sculpture-race or watch right here on our page. She’s one of 40 sculptures made and submitted by members of the public like YOU, that will compete over miniature sand, mud, and water obstacles, all for the glory of tiny awards like The Golden Flipper (for the most memorable water entry) and the People’s Choice Award. Tune in to the live steam to vote for your favorite in real time at https://www.avam.org/event-details/honey-i-shrunk-the-kinetic-sculpture-race, or catch it on this page!

Today! Miniature Fifi looks forward to seeing you, 5/1, 11am ET at the Miniature Kinetic Sculpture Race. RSVP to watch online at https://www.avam.org/event-details/honey-i-shrunk-the-kinetic-sculpture-race or watch right here on our page. She’s one of 40 sculptures made and submitted by members of the public like YOU, that will compete over miniature sand, mud, and water obstacles, all for the glory of tiny awards like The Golden Flipper (for the most memorable water entry) and the People’s Choice Award. Tune in to the live steam to vote for your favorite in real time at https://www.avam.org/event-details/honey-i-shrunk-the-kinetic-sculpture-race, or catch it on this page!

“Nelson Mandela” by Rosie O’Donnell. Apartheid was legally abolished in South Africa April 27, 1994, with a new constitu...
04/29/2021

“Nelson Mandela” by Rosie O’Donnell. Apartheid was legally abolished in South Africa April 27, 1994, with a new constitution that heralded a triumph for human rights everywhere. Nelson Mandela voted for the first time in his life that day, after more than two decades of struggle to end the cruel and violent system of whites-only rule in his home country. Millions joined him across the country to cast their ballots, sometimes waiting for hours to finally have their voices included. Mandela went on to be elected by Parliament as the first president of a democratic South Africa on May 9.

The painting was on view in our exhibition “Race, Class and Gender: Three Things that Contribute Zero to Character, Because Being a Schmuck is an Equal Opportunity,” 2005-2006.

“Nelson Mandela” by Rosie O’Donnell. Apartheid was legally abolished in South Africa April 27, 1994, with a new constitution that heralded a triumph for human rights everywhere. Nelson Mandela voted for the first time in his life that day, after more than two decades of struggle to end the cruel and violent system of whites-only rule in his home country. Millions joined him across the country to cast their ballots, sometimes waiting for hours to finally have their voices included. Mandela went on to be elected by Parliament as the first president of a democratic South Africa on May 9.

The painting was on view in our exhibition “Race, Class and Gender: Three Things that Contribute Zero to Character, Because Being a Schmuck is an Equal Opportunity,” 2005-2006.

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800 Key Hwy
Baltimore, MD
21230

www.mtamaryland.com, www.charmcitycirculator.com

Opening Hours

Wednesday 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 10:00 - 17:00
Friday 10:00 - 17:00
Saturday 10:00 - 17:00
Sunday 10:00 - 17:00

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(410) 244-1900

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