The Saratoga Toga Party, held Saturday, October 25th, was a multi-faceted event highlighting area artists, while celebrating MAP‘s homecoming to 218 West Saratoga Street, a 20,000 square foot building located within the Bromo Tower Arts and Entertainment District on Baltimore’s west side.
After spending the summer fundraising for capital improvements, and with leverage from the France-Merrick Foundation and Bank of America, MAP was able to successfully raise the funds needed to improve its street-level gallery space. MAP has spent most of October revitalizing the space with the goal of maintaining the same professional-grade exhibition experience the organization has been known to provide regional artists for over 30 years. The new space will be unveiled through MAP’s annual fall benefit, which raises crucial operating funds for the organization every year.
“In our new space, in a new year, and in a new neighborhood, we remain committed to supporting emerging/mid-career artists in the most professional and dynamic way possible. I also cannot stress how important the fall benefit is to MAP’s operations. Every cent raised is so meaningful to our work. With new creative tenants on the 3rd and 5th floors, and an on-going list of necessary building improvements, the funds raised this fall will quite literally keep MAP viable.” Amy Royce, Executive Director, MAP
The fall benefit is also a way for MAP to present interesting and relevant concepts being explored within contemporary art today while highlighting area artists who are producing some wonderful work.
For this benefit, MAP pursued the theme of Greek and Roman mythology; and the visual outcomes of that exploration as translated through performance, 2-D and 3-D artwork. Exhibiting artists included: Kyle Bauer, Jay Gould, Andrew Liang, Mary Opasik, Cara Ober, Lu Zhang, Rene Trevino, Peggy Fox, David Brown, John McNeil, Lynn Silverman, Laini Nemmet, Carolyn Case, Chris Owen, Eileen O’Donnell, Helen Glazer, Nessi Alexander, Carolyn Cavanaugh, Suzanne Coley, Ernest Hollowak, and Valerie Smith. MAP also highlighted its IMPRINT program through the event with this year’s IMPRINT artist, Steven H. Silberg.
The Saratoga Toga Party included Mediterranean snacks, Greek-inspired libations and special musical guests. Jumpin’ Jupiter, a high energy rockabilly band performed at the main event at 8pm. Local indie band, Blacksage, performed in MAP’s 14 Karat Cabaret (in the basement) at the After Party. In addition, MAP held a “Best in Show” toga & mythological costume contest juried by Laure Drogoul, Lexie Mountain, and “Whitney Biennial,” with great prizes thanks to local businesses Pazo, Forno, The Everyman Theater, Fleet Street Kitchen and Phillips Seafood. Pixilated Photo Booth was also at the event to capture the fun. Patrons were encouraged to write on the interactive “philosophy board” and share some inspiring thoughts.
MAP’s Fall Benefit provides crucial revenue for year-round programming and operations. Connecting artists with communities for 33 years, MAP is a unique institution that is able to support the contemporary, visual arts community in a variety of ways. Bridging the gap between commercial gallery and museum, MAP remains a critical resource for both artist and patron.
All photos by Justin Tsucalas of Plaid Photography.