You can see them in Canton on Boston Ave., and on Fleet St. in Fell’s Point—lightpost banners featuring art and the words “artUp Entries.”
The pictures are various media—photos, paintings, mixed—but what does it all mean?
It turns out that each banner represents an entrant in a 2012 contest held by Britten, a large-scale printing company based in Michigan that produces signs, large artwork, and banners. The Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts contracts Britten for promotions that are posted around the city, such as last summer’s Star Spangled Sailabration, for example.
The artUp contest, according to Kaitlyn Burns of Britten, was an attempt to create a database of art for Britten clients while exposing artists to those clients at the same time.
“We asked artists from all over to just submit artwork,” she said, adding that artists get cuts every time their art is used by Britten customers.
Burns said that ultimately, however, the contest didn’t prove successful enough to do again.
“It was something we were experimenting with—an artists’ marketplace,” she said. “One thing we found was that the contest wasn’t the best way to go about it.”
Ironically, though Baltimore is the only city displaying the artUp entries on its streets, but no Charm City artists entered the contest, Burns said.
by Erik Zygmont