If you like art, but don't enjoy traditional stuffy art museums or you're just looking for a little fun in your life, visit the Baltimore Visionary Art Museum in the Inner Harbor area of the City. What feels like part fun house, this is definitely an art museum and is my very favorite place to visit in Baltimore.
The museum hosts the work, of visionary and outsider artists both established and emerging. What is visionary art, you ask? Here's the museums definition:
"Visionary art as defined for the purposes of the American Visionary Art Museum refers to art produced by self-taught individuals, usually without formal training, whose works arise from an innate personal vision that revels foremost in the creative act itself."
In short, visionary art begins by listening to the inner voices of the soul, and often may not even be thought of as 'art' by its creator.
The work you see here will differ wildly from most anything at the Philadelphia Art Museum or the Met. Part of their permanent collection is a giant whirligig which greets you outside, school buses, eggs and buildings which they call "bling universe" covered in mosaic mirrors guide your way into the building.
The museum houses the work of Howard Finster, probably the grand poobah, of Folk and Outsider art, Nek Chand, The Baltimore Glassman and the very well know and always wonderful, Mr Imagination. Inspiration for these artists include religious experience, dreams, visions, hallucinations and predictions. Many feel that they are divinely called to create art containing direct messages from God.
Mediums include paint, wood, rocks, shards of glass, bottle caps (Which is Mr. Imagination's most well know medium), trash and pretty much anything that costs little to no money. Some artists may have mental or emotional problems which manifest themselves in to compulsive drawings or paintings as in the case of ted Gordon whose precise and inspired drawings look like they were done with a spirograph.
This place is so much fun, there is so much to see on every wall inside and out. The restaurant is even called Mr. Rains Funhouse and the gift shop is called the Sideshow shop which makes me feel like I am in a toy store for grownups whenever I visit.