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. Since its opening in 1995, the museum has sought to promote the recognition of intuitive, self-reliant, creative contribution as both an important historic and essential living piece of treasured human legacy. The one-of-a-kind American Visionary Art Museum is located on a 1.1 acre wonderland campus at 800 Key Highway, Baltimore Inner Harbor. Three renovated historic industrial buildings house wonders created by farmers, housewives, mechanics, retired folk, the disabled, the homeless, as well as the occasional neurosurgeon–all inspired by the fire within. From carved roots to embroidered rags, tattoos to toothpicks, the visionary transforms dreams, loss, hopes, and ideals into powerful works of art. More info at http://avam.org. Museum hours: 10am-5pm, Tuesday-Sunday Museum store: 10am-6pm, Tuesday-Sunday

05/06/2020
Art Workshops from AVAM: Trash Wall

You helped us reach over $2,200 in donations on #GivingTuesdayNow. THANK YOU for your belief in the power of creativity and art to inspire and heal. So, in gratitude, we’re publishing this art workshop video for the world to partake! (At the $1,000 total, we released these virtual backgrounds for anyone to download to a computer or device https://bit.ly/2KZBOMe) This virtual art workshop is called “Trash Wall.” With recycled plastic, make a big, colorful word for your room or house. We are deeply grateful for all the love, new members, and donations. If you'd like, and are able, to make a gift towards unlocking the version in Spanish, visit http://avam.org We also simply appreciate that you’re here and for your friendship. We couldn’t be here without you.

04/30/2020
Fifi? Or "I Dream of Jeannie" in the 2019 Kinetic Sculpture Race?

Fifi is sheltering in place, but she's all caught up on Zoom, and would love to see you Saturday, May 2, 11am EST for A Virtual Kinetic Sculpture Race Salute and Blessing of De-Feet. Mais oui, mon cherie! The event is free with registration required at https://bit.ly/2VJIqEp Costumes encouraged! You may know that before she faces the water or mud obstacles, it's all preceded by a grand opening ceremony where Sister Euphonia Oblivion of the Aching Calves gives a blessing of De-Feet. Here's a look back at last year's glory. #ThrowbackThursday #MuseumfromHome #MDArtsUnite

04/29/2020

We’re spreading smiles today in our latest virtual visit! At our Kinetic Sculpture Race event every year, we hand out these smiles to the spectators in the crowd. Now, you can spread one, too. Our Director of Education Beka Plum shows you how! Then, join us with YOUR smile at A Virtual Kinetic Sculpture Race Salute and Blessing of De-Feet on Saturday, May 2, 11am EST. It's the day that would have been the 22nd annual Kinetic Sculpture Race. But in true racing form, we’re rising to the challenge and bringing you a portion of the opening ceremony, online. Join us for a live Blessing of De-feet by Sister Euphonia O’Blivion (aka Joe Wall) with an uplifting message for all. We invite you to don clean socks, stick your feet in the air, and partake in this holiest of blessings. Look for other special guest appearances! The event is free, but to join us, please register at https://bit.ly/2VJIqEp

Music: "Peach Cobbler" iMovie

An update on the museum from our founder and director Rebecca Hoffberger, as told to Baltimore Positive last week, on he...
04/27/2020

An update on the museum from our founder and director Rebecca Hoffberger, as told to Baltimore Positive last week, on her vision for the museum when we are able to safely reopen. “We have such love for the people who come through. It’s such a varied crowd. There are people that never go to museums and cognoscenti that fly in just to see our museum. The first thing we want to do is reschedule our conference on climate change. We have a temporary hold for August 2nd. That’s a time when we can really embrace people and put the conference for free on YouTube. We want to get our [weddings] back in. And nobody has a better gift shop in the United States than Ted Frankel's Sideshow at the American Visionary Art Museum. We're hoping for a new cafe' from Irena Stein of Alma Cocina Latina that will be open during the day.” And in general, "There’s so much good in Baltimore. If we can begin strategically turning it around, boy oh boy, the whole world will take notice...We have a chance to rebirth a fairer more beautiful, more loving place than ever before. And hopefully a healthier one." To hear the full podcast interview, visit
https://wnst.net/baltimore-sports/rebecca-hoffberger-of-avam-believes-baltimore-will-look-even-better-after-pandemic/

Photo: Chris Myers Photography

04/22/2020
Happy 50th Anniversary Earth Day

On Earth Day's 50th Anniversary today, we share this footage in our "Secret Life of Earth" show, courtesy of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Institute, of how the sands from the Sahara nourish the rainforests of South America. In other words, "We earthlings have but one shared atmosphere and one interconnected ocean, despite the latter having five different names. So it is with humanity. What happens that harms one group or even one individual, now can be seen to palpably impact others. We’re all in this life together and we can help make that a most beautiful thing,” says our founder, director and principal curator Rebecca Hoffberger in connecting our "Earth" exhibition to this unprecedented time.

You're invited to a Curator's Virtual Tour: "The Secret Life of Earth" on Earth Day with Mrs. Hoffberger today, April 22, 11am EST, followed by live chat Q&A. The event is free with registration required at https://bit.ly/3beUrqK

#EarthDay #OurPlanet #OurHome #WednesdayWisdom #MuseumfromHome

As Earth Day's 50th Anniversary approaches, our "Earth" exhibition underscores our planet's inherent connectedness and i...
04/20/2020

As Earth Day's 50th Anniversary approaches, our "Earth" exhibition underscores our planet's inherent connectedness and interdependence. "We earthlings have but one shared atmosphere and one interconnected ocean, despite the latter having five different names. So it is with humanity. We’re all in this life together, and we can help make that a most beautiful thing,” says Rebecca Hoffberger, Founder and Director of the American Visionary Art Museum. You're invited this Wednesday, April 22, 11am EST, to her Curator's Virtual Tour: "The Secret Life of Earth" on Earth Day. This event launches a series of virtual tours planned of the show. The event is free, with registration required at https://bit.ly/3beUrqK

Pictured: "The Bee Goddess," "Ammaw," and "Rainbow Warriors Return from The Heart of The Sun" by Peter Eglington. As a single father, “I’d draw with colored pencils, as we could not afford paint.” He continues to work largely in colored pencil to this day, depicting his reverence for nature. While working on the bee painting, a princess bee came by and spent "15 minutes going over every inch of the painting." He took it as a sign to "Get to work, Peter. This is a blessing from us. This work’s meant to be in the [AVAM] show. You work hard for us, and we’ll make sure it will get to the show."

#EarthDay50 #MuseumCrushMonday #MuseumfromHome

Axel Erlandson was inspired to sculpt trees after observing a natural graft between two sycamores. He began planting sap...
04/15/2020

Axel Erlandson was inspired to sculpt trees after observing a natural graft between two sycamores. He began planting saplings in patterns. Using young and flexible branches, he created loops, hearts, chairs, spiral staircases, zigzags, birdcages, towers, picture frames and ladders, all held in place with a framework for several years until they were capable of self support. He sculpted some 30 trees at his farm outside Turlock, California, talking to them to help them grow. After a vacation to nearby Santa Cruz, he became familiar with the gravity-defying Mystery Spot, and he decided to set up his own roadside attraction. He transplanted his trees along the way between the Santa Clara Valley and the ocean, and opened the Tree Circus in 1947. After his death, the Tree Circus was painstakingly and lovingly transplanted to Gilroy Gardens, where visitors can still admire them. In 1995, Mark Primack, Erlandson's biographer, prepared one dead sculpture "The Telephone Booth Tree" to be cut and sent to Baltimore for the opening of the American Visionary Art Museum, where it remains in the museum’s permanent collection to this day. These photos accompany that display.

#EarthMonth2020 #MuseumFromHome #WednesdayWisdom

When Image Engineering heard about the "Light It Blue" campaign in honor of healthcare workers, they donated their light...
04/13/2020

When Image Engineering heard about the "Light It Blue" campaign in honor of healthcare workers, they donated their lights around Baltimore to add to the international statement to #MakeItBlue. Photos by Russell Strouse #Gratitude #MuseumFromHome #OSayCanYouSee #Love

04/13/2020
Art Workshops from the AVAM: Make a Sock Monkey

In today's virtual visit, we share a great rainy day art project AND any day project: making a sock monkey! For your very own plush friend, you'll need just socks, needle, thread, scissors, stuffing, and buttons. Your expert and friendly guide is our Director of Education Beka Plum. No experience is necessary, and it's a fun project for all ages. If you'd like to see the video on a bigger screen, you can also view it on YouTube: https://youtu.be/NCx1C_ihvxw

Every year, the museum hosts Sock Monkey Saturday in December, a joyous gathering of hundreds of families and friends of the general public who all come together to sew, laugh, and make sock creatures. For more information about our programs and workshops, visit www.avam.org Enjoy, and have fun!

#MuseumfromHome

Chag sameach! For Holocaust survivor Esther Krinitz, family and nature were everything. After creating a series of embro...
04/09/2020

Chag sameach! For Holocaust survivor Esther Krinitz, family and nature were everything. After creating a series of embroideries about her childhood before and during WWII, she started portraits of her family. The 36 story quilts, after all, were meant as a gift to them so that they always knew their history. This one is dedicated to her first grandchild, Rachel. "In this image my grandmother recalls a moment we shared outside my home in Maryland. This image was to be part of a series of portraits of her grandchildren. Sadly, she was unable to finish them before her death in 2001. My grandmother shows me looking in amazement at a huge oak tree. I always looked at her in the very same way, with a profound sense of awe and adoration. This picture is a bookend to my grandmother’s story, which begins and ends with her family and her enduring love for us."

The entire series of 36 fabric collages are on view in our exhibition "Esther and the Dream of One Loving Human Family" through 2024, courtesy of Art and Remembrance. #MuseumfromHome #Passover

On #WorldHealthDay, we humbly salute healthcare workers who give of themselves and risk their lives so we may all have a...
04/07/2020

On #WorldHealthDay, we humbly salute healthcare workers who give of themselves and risk their lives so we may all have a visionary future together. Pictured: "A Choice" by Matt Sesow which exhibited in his solo show at the museum called "Shock and Awe" 2016-2017 and is now part of our permanent collection as a generous gift from the artist.

Matt, at age eight, had a life-changing moment. He was playing Spud with friends, when his outstretched arm threw a ball into the night sky and a pilot came in for a plane landing. The propeller struck Matt's left arm and severed it instantly. The young pilot had not seen Matt until it was too late.

Matt survived, and it was not until 1994, while employed at IBM in Bethesda, MD, that he accidentally became an artist. Trying to impress a bohemian young woman and her art school grad house-mates, Matt lied when one of them asked if he had ever painted. "Sure," he told the house-mate and picked up a brush and paper and started painting on the spot. "That began this great journey that has never stopped," says Matt.

We're honored to have several of Matt's work in our permanent collection.

Baltimorean Sam Barsky - artistic knitter loves to knit famous sites, then photograph the finished sweater and place tog...
04/03/2020

Baltimorean Sam Barsky - artistic knitter loves to knit famous sites, then photograph the finished sweater and place together. We’ve had the honor of exhibiting his works at AVAM. #FunFactFriday #FlashbackFriday His first interest in, and experience with, a needle came when he was in elementary school. He appropriated a sewing kit that his grandmother had given his mother. As an adult, he started off using patterns to make solid-color sweaters, but over the years developed his own designs and techniques, essentially painting with yarn in what he calls “freestyle knitting.” Samuel has knit Niagara Falls, where he honeymooned in 2004, and he’s continued to knit his way around the world, from Las Vegas to Stonehenge, to Jerusalem’s Western Wall, and wherever his wanderlust takes him.

Photos: Sam Barsky - artistic knitter

Because humans are resilient in their pursuits and creative, near Niland, California sits "Salvation Mountain," a sweepi...
03/30/2020

Because humans are resilient in their pursuits and creative, near Niland, California sits "Salvation Mountain," a sweeping site created over several years by Leonard Knight who carved the hill, then covered it in ten thousand gallons of donated paint. Knight first noticed the hill when he was living in "Slab City," a temporary camp of five thousand settlers who spent each winter living in tents and recreational vehicles. The hump of soft stone and dried clays outside the entrance to the "City" were soft enough to shape with an old front-end loader, which, like his truck, he decorated with religious messages. It was Leonard's hope that his message of LOVE would be seen all over the world and that all people everywhere would show more love and compassion for their fellow man. He truly believed it to be the answer to a peaceful and harmonious existence. Salvation Mountain received Congressional recognition in 2002 from Senator Barbara Boxer, who called it "a unique and visionary sculpture...a national treasure...profoundly strange and beautifully accessible, and worthy of the international acclaim it receives."

Leonard's "Love Balloon" resides in our permanent collection, and is on view alongside photos of his beloved mountain. #MuseumfromHome #MuseumMonday

Photos: www.SavlationMountain.us. Norris Moorehead and Annalise Flynn for SPACES Archives.

Our Founder and Director, Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, wished to send a personal message to you, our followers, while not w...
03/26/2020

Our Founder and Director, Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, wished to send a personal message to you, our followers, while not wanting in any way to minimize concern for the very real, too abundant, suffering happening now:

For me and in all my 67 years...I believe that right now is the greatest globally shared awake experience since millions watched the first person walk on the moon. Just as that famed event underscored our potential and illusion of conquering nature, this COVID-19 stresses our inherent and interconnected fragility and dependence on Nature as well as serves as powerful reset to contemplate what is truly most precious in our lives...This is a new time of realizing we could globally cooperate and shift values, and positive wise actions can be won for all...I feel this time of pause and rewrite of collective reality is the first step...Stay tuned. There is ABUNDANT GRACE afoot. Rediscover family, friendship, neighbors, quiet hood. No hoarding. May gentle care and sharing light ALL our way.
Yours,
Rebecca

Photo: Chris Myers Photography

You can read the full statement here: http://avam.org/news-and-events/news_posts/rebecca-hoffberger-message-on-covid19.shtml

03/25/2020
live painting from Washington, DC with MATT SESOW

You're invited TODAY, 3/25, 12:30pm EST to a live studio tour with artist Matt Sesow via YouTube. You can join the virtual visit by clicking the link below at 12:30pm EST. He'll be painting, and you're welcome to ask questions via the comments section for him to answer during the open studio. #MuseumFromHome

Matt, at age eight, had a life-changing moment. He was playing Spud with friends, and at the moment his outstretched arm threw a ball into the night sky, a pilot cut his plane's engine to silently swoop in for a landing. The propeller blade struck Matt's left arm and severed it instantly. The young pilot didn't see Matt until it was too late.

Matt recalls a loving female spirit offering him the choice of a gentle death, or a "very interesting life." Matt chose life. It was not until 1994, while employed at IBM in Bethesda, MD, that Matt accidentally became an artist. Trying to impress a bohemian young woman and her art school grad house-mates, Matt lied when one of them asked if he had ever painted. "Sure," he told the house-mate and picked up a brush and paper and started painting on the spot. "That began this great journey that has never stopped," says Matt.

We're honored to have several of Matt's work in our permanent collection.

live painting from Washington, DC with MATT SESOW

On the spring equinox, day and night are equal lengths as the sun aligns with the earth’s equator. It also marks the off...
03/24/2020

On the spring equinox, day and night are equal lengths as the sun aligns with the earth’s equator. It also marks the official start of spring as the sun crosses the equator from the southern to the northern hemisphere, and days get longer in the north. This ebullient poster created for the official Earth Day by Baltimore’s Dr. Robert Hieronimus, eulogizes this day with “spring equinox” written in multiple languages. We’re honored to have the original illustration in our current exhibition “The Secret of Earth,” courtesy of the artist. While we’re temporarily closed to the public in adherence to the latest state directives, we’re coming to you with peeks like this so you can experience the #MuseumFromHome. #FirstDaysofSpring #TuesdayThoughts

03/20/2020
Create a Crayon Critter: Art Workshops from the AVAM

On today's virtual visit, here's an easy art project you can do right from home, with everyday household items. Our Director of Education Beka Plum shows us how to make "crayon critter" wax sculptures, with crayons, ice cube trays, and your imagination! Normally, we offer these kinds of workshops at the museum year-round, but right now, we're coming to YOU. Enjoy, and have fun! In the comments section, we’d love to see or hear how your critters turned out. #MuseumfromHome #FridayFeeling #ArtEveryday #ArtEverywhere #community

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