Sign of the times!
The SoWeBohemian Arts Festival: A Topsy-Turvy Excursion into Art & Music!
Sustaining Southwest Baltimore’s longstanding grassroots art culture.
Over 40 professional artists live in Sowebo. This includes some of the area’s earliest pioneers, people who transformed dilapidated properties – old bath houses, chicken factories, collapsed mansions – into attractive housing, work, and gallery space. Their investments have sustained a unique community, which is now a foundation for much needed revitalization.

The Sowebohemian Festival is held annually on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. Coined a “Topsy Turvy Excursion into Art and Music,” the festival presents Baltimore's largest music venue (40+ bands), a sizeable non-juried art exhibit, puppet shows, glass blowing demos, outdoor sculpture, kid’s art & fun. Artists living beyond its borders value Sowebo. Every year, 60+ local and regional artists donate original works for a most popular signature event, the Sowebo Poster Show and Auction. The show is hung in the Charles Theater and area cafes every May. The funky June auction is an incredible way to obtain original art. For more information, click here.

Information about Sowebo Arts, Inc. is courtesy of the Sowebo Arts Inc. web site – for much more information, and to view the extraordinary “Soweboposters” by some of Baltimore’s hippest artists, go to the Sowebo Arts Inc. web site. Click here.

Thank you to Betsy Nix and Frank Trovato for the inspiration and the links!
 
Fun Happenings and Annual Events
The Union Square Christmas Cookie TourChristmas Cookie Tour
Date: second Sunday of December
Location: entire neighborhood
 
One of the most popular events in our neighborhood is the Annual Christmas Cookie Tour. Union Square residents usher in the season in style as hundreds of visitors tour lovingly-restored homes of Baltimore’s Victorian era. Christmas decorations provide a festive backdrop as guests munch freshly-baked cookies, sip a hot cider or two, and get to meet the friendliest folks in Baltimore.

From the tour program (thank you, Fran Rahl!):
The Union Square neighborhood welcomes you to our annual Holiday Cookie Tour. We hope you enjoy the afternoon stroll through our National Register of Historic Places district, and through the many fine 19th century homes opened for your pleasure. If you are new to our tour, you may be surprised to find that while we are very consistent in our views of proper Victorian streetscape, we vary widely in our concepts of interior decor. Our homes run the gamut of style from country to contemporary, with eclectic coexistence as a common rule.

You may also be surprised to find an extremely strong sense of community among our “family” of neighbors. We all know one another, and we work together – not only in rebuilding our homes, but also in rebuilding this fine neighborhood. This tour, which benefits historic preservation and local charitable efforts, is but one example of the spirit that makes Union Square a great place to live.
 
In 2006, Union Square hosted 450 visitors who toured 18 participating and decorated locations. If you missed it, watch for next year’s tour and make plans to join us.
Progressive Dinner
Date: spring event
Location: neighborhood homes
 
After a long, cold winter a number of Union Square homes are the site of a neighborhood get-together to share the love just as spring arrives. Forty to sixty people gather for appetizers, cocktails, dinner and desserts for a great night of story-swapping and socializing.

Sowebohemian Arts Festival
Date: last Sunday in May
Location: streets near Hollins Market
 
Since 1985, this is one of Baltimore’s hippest arts venues and an urban legend in the making. Glass blowing demos, children’s arts, Black Cherry Puppet Theater, art shows, performance art, art rock, punk rock, gospel, blues and jazz all combine to make this festival one of the city’s most vibrant and enduring celebrations. Get a little taste of Charm City street life. Sowebo Arts Inc., a local non-profit, organizes the festival as well as other neighborhood art happenings. Look for city’s coolest Art Auction held two weeks after the festival. For information, call 410-BIG-TENT or e-mail: sowebo100@yahoo.com
 
Easter Egg Hunt
Date: Saturday of weekend before Easter
Location: Union Square park
 
An hour before the event, neighbors gather to clean the park and help the Easter Bunny hide treats for the children who arrive later. Families then share the magic as little ones scour the park looking for candies and other surprises.
Garden Tour: “Secret Gardens of Union Square”
Date: last Sunday of June
Location: entire neighborhood
 
This popular event has been on hiatus for the past few summers. There has been recent discussion of bringing it back. If revived, details will be posted here.
Trick or Treat
Date: Halloween
Location: Union Square park
 
Pumpkin carving, treats, and costume parade for children of all ages!
Notes about Sowebo Arts, Inc. (www.soweboarts.org)
“Art is our best tool for economic development. We know art will draw interest in the area, and help unify diversity.” – Bill Adler, President
 
Sowebo Arts Inc. is a nonprofit community arts organization.
Our mission is “fostering community development through the promotion of art and music.”
•  A community-based organization mining the talents of neighborhood artists, musicians, and working professionals.
•  Sowebo Arts organizes the Sowebohemian Arts Festival every Memorial Day Weekend.
•  Sowebo Arts sponsors open studio visits, a summer film series in historic Union Square Park.
•  Planning for a permanent exhibition space in the Turnbull Mansion (currently under restoration at 100 S. Stricker St.).
•  Developing children’s art workshops.

New and longstanding establishments serve as lively anchors in Sowebo and suggest the beginning of a resurgence.
 
The awe-inspiring Black Cherry Puppet Theater, founded in 1980, is near Hollins Market. Black Cherry has long been entertaining children with performances and educational workshops in schools and festivals regionally. The building will feature a 50-seat theater, a garden performance space, studios, and a Puppetry Resource Center. For more information, click here.

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