Did you hear how hot this year’s Artscape was? I almost got hit by a couple of hand fans being waved around enthusiastically in the midst of phone conversations. A man selling bottles of cold water handed one to a parent so she could press it against her child’s cheeks. A friend took off her underpants off in the middle of a long day because thighs chafe. Every establishment that could boast of free A/C on their sidewalk chalkboard did it. Late-night party people walked around with bags of ice chanting, “hot girl summer, hot girl summer.”  

In the midst of this, swarms of people made their way from one stage to another, traversing a charged EDM set, a heavy metal mosh pit, and a funk dance party within a mile’s radius. The North Avenue Market building saw the opening of a bar that’s also a gaming arcade (“BARCADE!” I heard people shouting through the bleeps and bloops), and the Ynot Lot and the Crown hosted the DIY music festival Ratscape featuring dozens of hiphop, punk, and indie acts.

Walking through the stalls and installations that lined the main stretch of Charles Street, what leapt out is the sheer variety of materials that artists and craftspeople in the area are using—gourd lamps, natural-dyed textiles, intricate leather and metalwork, impeccable screenprints, hand-carved wooden jewelry. Next to Club Charles, a parking garage was overtaken by artists and organizations selling hand-drawn zines, laser-cut notebooks, woodblock prints on T-shirts, you name it. There was something for everyone. Everyone was making something. The rest of us were making some great, sweaty memories. (Priyanka Kumar)

 

Photos by María Sánchez, Priyanka Kumar, and Cara Ober.