Gearing up for Gough Street’s answer to the Grand Prix

Written by on September 11, 2013 in Featured - No comments

Camille Jannuzi, seated, and K-Shaud Watkins check out an art cart. - Photo by Danielle Sweeney

Local shool students made t-shirts and learned about the art cart building process last week at the Loading Dock. - Photo by Danielle Sweeney

Last Friday, students from the Patterson Park Public Charter School and William Paca Elementary School visited the Loading Dock on N. Kresson St. to work on art projects and t-shirts in preparation for the Third Annual Art Cart Derby and Art By the Pint, to be held on Saturday, Sept. 21.

The Baltimore Orioles sent along one of the organization’s newest players, pitcher Bud Norris, number 25, to promote team spirit. The orange and black Orioles-themed t-shirts were donated by NIghtmare Graphics, whose owner, Rob Andelman, lives in Canton.

What’s an art cart? An art cart is a homemade cart powered by gravity (no motors or pedals) and designed as a sculpture. The Loading Dock, an east Baltimore nonprofit that re-purposes donated building materials, is a sponsor of the derby.

Students from William Paca Elementary School worked on a map art project highlighting neighborhoods and community, an important theme of Communities for All Ages, the organization that founded the Art Cart Derby three years ago.

“William Paca Elementary is contributing to the community art show,” says Leanna Wetmore, a community organizer with Banner Neighborhoods, part of CFAA.

Youngsters from Patterson Park Public Charter School, which has four vehicles in the derby this year (parents, faculty, and staff including Eric Pelletier, Jenna Shaw, Mike Hendrick and Benitio Islas are involved) painted team t-shirts similar to those worn by Nascar and Formula 1 racing teams.

Matt Saindon, a volunteer with CFAA and a Patterson Park Public Charter School parent, is a co-founder of the derby. He says his inspiration for the race was the American Visionary Art Museum’s Kinetic Sculpture Race—an elaborate human-powered race through the streets of Baltimore City.

“The Art Cart Derby is a way for creative people like me, who don’t have the time, space, or money, to make a cool kinetic sculpture and race it,” he says.
This year’s event promises 17-20 race teams. “Some highlights include Team Appendix and their Edgar Allan Poe-themed cart. I believe Annabel Lee is sponsoring them,” Saindon says.

Baltimore Threadquarters, which Saindon co-owns, will race their dragon cart (seen at Artscape) as well as a chariot cart that Saindon is still constructing.

Wetmore adds that the Patterson Park Neighborhood Association is driving the Red Line cart (built and raced by the Red Line last year, passing it over to the PPNA for a spin this year); the Banner Neighborhoods’ Art Club is building a Cuckoo Bird; and Highlandtown 237‘s Green Team is building a mystery sculpture.

Says Saindon: “The derby will offer several sponsorship opportunities, including track sponsorships and paddock sponsorships,  just like a real race. It will have prizes too, like trophies. But mainly it’s about bragging rights.”

To learn more about the 2013 Art Cart Derby and Art By the Pint, visit Communities for All Ages at

by Danielle Sweeney

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