Brilliant Baltimore 2019; Photo Credit: Tiffany Thompson

The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) has announced updates to programming and events previously scheduled for Fall 2020. Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis, BOPA has postponed the Baltimore Book Festival until 2021 and Light City until 2022. Currently a decision has not been finalized for Baltimore’s New Year’s Eve Spectacular. While large-scale events are no longer possible in 2020, BOPA will continue to amplify the work done as Baltimore City’s Arts Council by developing virtual options for the annual programs Free Fall Baltimore and Baltimore’s Open Studio Tour, held during October in conjunction with National Arts and Humanities Month. BOPA continues supporting the greater creative community, working with artists, cultural institutions, state and civic organizations, and educational entities to find innovative ways to ensure that greater Baltimore continues to benefit from Baltimore City’s thriving arts and literary scene.

“The current health crisis has had a profound effect on the many wonderful aspects of the work BOPA does to make Baltimore a more vibrant place to live, work and play. Sadly, we have had to postpone our large-scale public events at least through the end of 2020,” says Donna Drew Sawyer, CEO at Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts. “As Baltimore City’s Arts Council, we are committed to ensuring Baltimore remains culturally vibrant during this time. Starting with the annual Sondheim Artscape Prize virtual award ceremony and exhibition in July, this month’s series of Art in August exhibitions and the virtual Artists’ Market, BOPA will continue virtual and innovative cultural engagement that will connect audiences with art and art with audiences.”

          In October, BOPA will present a hybrid of virtual and small in-person events for Free Fall Baltimore 2020, the annual citywide celebration featuring free cultural events during National Arts and Humanities Month. Also, the 32nd annual Baltimore Open Studio Tour, which invites the public into Baltimore-based artists’ workspaces to view or purchase original works of art, will occur virtually throughout October with studio visits occurring live on BOPA’s social media. For cultural organizations and artists, applications for Free Fall Baltimore and Baltimore’s Open Studio Tour will be available soon.

In May 2020, BOPA canceled Artscape and Baltimore’s 4th of July Celebration in response to COVID-19. Several aspects of the annual Artscape festival were successfully adapted to virtual platforms, including the Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize (now available online) and the Artscape Online Artists’ Market (opening for business virtually on August 21.) Throughout August, BOPA continues to celebrate the arts with various virtual and in-person programs as part of Art in August, including the Artist Pop-Up Exhibitions, the “B2020” Virtual Exhibition and the Virtual Artist Café.

As the Baltimore Film Office, BOPA continues to safely shepherd productions filming in Baltimore. The Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar’s 43rd season will continue so that it remains an essential food source for our City. Additionally, BOPA continues to provide safe studio space at School 33 Art Center and the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower. These spaces will exhibit the work of local artists once safe gathering can resume. BOPA continues to steward Baltimore’s public facilities — Top of the World Observation Level is now open for visitors and The Cloisters is now taking private appointments. BOPA also continues to manage the Public Arts Commission, the Creative Baltimore Fund and the 1-Percent for Art initiative for Baltimore City. Visit for more information on BOPA’s programming.

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