When people call Baltimore by its nickname, Charm City, it’s not unusual for them to add a self-conscious smirk — because, you know, “The Wire”! But in reality, it’s quite a charming city, with welcoming, unpretentious people, great restaurants and museums, and lovely old neighborhoods that spread out from its famous Inner Harbor. That whole package was on fantastic — and fantastical — display during Light City Baltimore, a “festival of light, music, and innovation” that blazed throughout the destination on March 28–April 3.
Light City was a brand-new program, produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts and tied to the 200th anniversary of when Baltimore became the first city in the United States to install gas streetlights. I did an overnight in Baltimore during Light City at the invitation of Visit Baltimore — one of the festival’s founding partners — and couldn’t have had a better time. You can read an overview of my visit in the May issue of Convene, but meanwhile, I want to share some of the amazing pieces of art that I saw as I walked around the Inner Harbor for a few hours one night, accompanied by the official description of each one in Light City’s handouts. More than anything, these installations made me smile and feel good about being in Baltimore, and feel good about Baltimore. And this is a city that’s had a rough time of things not so long ago. Charm, indeed.