June 25, 2019
BMA to Open a Branch Location at Lexington Market on Thursday, June 27
Public Reception Held on Wednesday, June 26, 3-5 p.m.
BALTIMORE, MD (June 25, 2019)—The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) today announced the June 27 opening of a branch location at Lexington Market, the world’s oldest continually operating public market. BMA Lexington Market is a 250-square-foot space that will host a variety of art programs and collaborative activities. The branch will host an opening reception on Wednesday, June 26, from 3 to 5 p.m., to showcase photography created by youth at the Greenmount West Community Center who worked with New Orleans-based artists Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick. BMA Lexington Market is located near the arcade in the East Market. It will have regular hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Admission is free.
BMA Lexington Market will encourage all visitors to explore ideas and questions on a wide range of subjects of local, regional, and national interest through art. The flexible space will feature reproductions from the BMA’s collection and offer opportunities for visitors to create and show their artistic responses, tell personal stories in video or audio that will be part of an ongoing archive, and read from and/or contribute to a non-circulating library. Every season, BMA Lexington Market will focus on a broad theme that acts as an umbrella for programs, activities, and events presented in partnership with other organizations and individuals. In honor of the historic market, the first theme will be a focus on food, including nutrition, issues of access, local foodways, and more throughout the summer. Themes will be explored from multiple viewpoints as programs and activities are designed to spur critical and timely conversations and give importance to everyone’s voice.
“For the BMA to achieve its vision to be truly of and for the community, we have to tackle issues of accessibility and audience engagement through a spectrum of approaches, both in and outside the museum walls. The opening of the BMA Lexington Market is another opportunity to connect with people and to provide programs, art presentations, and public convenings in a different environment and context, offering our community more flexibility to participate,” said Christopher Bedford, BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director. “This opening also builds on the BMA’s long history of operating branches to better serve the public, while creating a new opportunity for the museum to better understand how best to reach and engage with the city’s many constituents.”
Artists Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick have worked together for more than 30 years photographing Louisiana and its people. In conjunction with their exhibition at the BMA, the artists led a workshop for youth at the Greenmount West Community Center and will be attending the Wednesday reception to celebrate the youth’s achievements. Slavery, The Prison Industrial Complex: Photographs by Keith Calhoun & Chandra McCormick features approximately three dozen poignant, mostly black-and-white photographs and videos that document the exploitation of the men incarcerated at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, a prison that was founded on the land of several plantations. It is on view at the BMA through September 29, 2019.
The BMA has had several branch locations during its 105-year history. During World War II, the museum acted on a suggestion from Baltimore Mayor Theodore R. McKeldin and established two branch museums. Located at the YMCA International Center on South Broadway and at the Jewish Educational Alliance building on East Baltimore Street, these branches saw more than 55,000 visitors between 1943 and 1948. The BMA also had a Downtown Gallery located first at One Charles Center and then East Redwood Street from 1974 to 1978, and another location at the Mall in Columbia in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Since 2015, the BMA has been operating a mobile museum, serving more than 10,000 people in community gardens, farmers’ markets, retail spaces, libraries, supermarkets, health centers, and other gathering spots.
BMA Lexington Market has received generous support from T. Rowe Price Foundation.
Baltimore’s Lexington Market is the oldest market in America and currently has more than one million visitors each year. Founded in 1782, at the site where it stands today, Lexington Market has served Baltimore and surrounding communities for nine generations. The land for the market was donated by General John Eager Howard, a famous Revolutionary War commander of the Maryland Line regiment of the Continental Army. Originally known as Howard’s Hill Market and Western Precincts Market, it was soon renamed in memory of the Battle of Lexington, the first battle of the American Revolution. In 1803, the first shed was built to provide covering for the farmers and their horses at the rapidly growing market. By the mid-19th century, Lexington Market had expanded to include more than 1,000 stalls under three block-long sheds and just as many stands and carts outside. It became the social center of Baltimore as civic leaders exchanged gossip about current news and produce prices; musicians, fortune tellers, and evangelists competed for shoppers’ attention; and gourmet dining took place at oilcloth-covered tables. A six-alarm fire in 1949 destroyed most of the structure, as well as $2 million of merchandise and $500,000 in stalls and equipment. The rebuilt market, which opened in 1952, had 417 indoor stalls but eliminated the street stalls. Today, there are fewer than 100 vendors in Lexington Market. A Transform Lexington project is currently being planned to include a new market structure and urban plaza. The East Market will remain open throughout the project.
About the Baltimore Museum of Art
Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) inspires people of all ages and backgrounds through exhibitions, programs, and collections that tell an expansive story of art—challenging long-held narratives and embracing new voices. Our outstanding collection of more than 95,000 objects spans many eras and cultures and includes the world’s largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse; one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs; and a rapidly growing number of works by contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds. The museum is also distinguished by a neoclassical building designed by American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped gardens featuring an array of modern and contemporary sculpture. The BMA is located three miles north of the Inner Harbor, adjacent to the main campus of Johns Hopkins University, and has a community branch at Lexington Market. General admission is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art.