Jack Livingston on the Bromo Art Wlk: Franklin Street, Sponsored by School 33

On Friday, October 9, five small side-by-side storefront galleries lit up the 500 block of Franklin Street. Viewers arrived from all over, some by a chartered bus coming from concurrent exhibitions at Station North’s Alloverstreet—both part of the kick-off to School 33’s 27th Annual Open Studio Tour. The scene at Franklin Street skewed decidedly young, though elder statesman John Waters made an appearance sporting his trademark deconstructed suit and anointing the event with import. Gallery operators I spoke with recounted his visitation with pride many times over the night.

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The Franklin Street gallery block represents the latest development in Baltimore’s legendary DIY approach. The storefront format is a smart alternative to the large warehouse venues that were the focus of past decades. Smaller is easier to handle and less expensive, the grouping looks a little more like commerce, and has potential to turn into a real gallery destination with some works for sale. Whatever these spaces may currently lack in gravitas they make up for in energy, wit and, contemporary vision.

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The galleries: First Continent, Springsteen, Rope, Freddy, and Open Space—offered up varied work with an allover puckish appeal.

This is Freddy’s last show at the Franklin location, ending a somewhat controversial run. However, another gallery is set to take the space—and word has it will be run by Alex Ebstein, former co-curator of Nudashank.

First Continent is the new kid on the block, with the smell of fresh drywall still in the air, so they had a large screen video set with its content, telegraphing their intent. In the glow the place was inviting and we look forward to what they will make of it. Many of the other galleries exhibitions were not completely up either but they wanted to participate in the group event and most exhibitions looked as though they were finished.

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Organized by the Bromo Arts District, this continued, new development along Franklin Street, just a block up from the seminal H&H building is another exciting step forward toward Baltimore’s West Side art scene as the place to be. For the galleries to all have collective openings is an excellent development they should continue.

Now that Station North has so much backing and is becoming increasingly institutional, the Baltimore’s Bromo District will, as this night proved, be the place where the next wave of innovation will occur.

First Continent

Divergence Motor /Albatross Alarm

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Freddy

Lap of the High Plains – Work by Rosy Keyser.
This exhibition marks Freddy’s last show at the space on West Franklin Street.

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ROPE

Crossing Delaney – Group Exhibition
Rope is operated by Stephen Booth, Seán Boylan, and Amelia Meekins.

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Springsteen Gallery

Work by Erika Ceruzzi, Colin Foster, and Andrew Lauman
The space is co-directed by Hunter Bradley and Amelia Szpiech.

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Open Space

Tape Zones(working title) Group show in progress.
An Exquisite Corpse-like structure taking place in real time.

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