American Visionary Arts Museum rocks!

AVAM building

If you are ever in Baltimore (or even nearby), you must go to the American Visionary Arts Museum, affectionately referred to as A-VAM by locals. It has the most eclectic collection of modern art I’ve ever seen, the common denominator being fun. From Brian Dowdall’s colorful Baltimore Beasties in the basement to the kinetic sculptures to the wedding altar in the garden, there is much to engage the senses for young and old alike.

Kylie inside wedding altar @AVAM
Kylie sits in the wooden meditation chapel/wedding altar built by Ben Wilson.

Most popular with the youngest attendees we saw was the exhibit on flatulence, where one young girl took great delight in pushing the button that created various fart noises. (Luckily, it was not equipped with smell-o-rama technology.)

An amazing coincidence occurred in the Tall Sculpture Barn. I was reading the explanatory plaque about the roughly five-foot tall ball of bras and discovered that it was created by local East Bay artist Emily Duffy, the daughter of my good friend Evey!  I’d met Emily completely separately from her mom in the “How Berkeley Can You Be?” parade several years ago when I was driving our toy-covered Dodge Colt, while she drove her Mondrian car and wore a matching dress.

AVAM duck sculptureWe weren’t allowed to take photos inside the museum, so I can’t show you the bra ball here. But it looks pretty much the way you would imagine a huge ball of bras to look.

One of my favorite exhibits was their collection of whimsical miniature mechanical pieces that were operated by a button. AVAM hat

And it has the best museum gift shop—full of inexpensive, funny, and unusual items including jewelry, hats, books, and much more. I  bought a scarf and a mood ring. Dave bought several postcards. And the three of us got matching AVAM hats!

We happened to arrive at the museum on a day when the power had gone out on two of the floors, so we were admitted free of charge! Although we were limited as to what we could see, we were still there for a couple of hours, and I left completely satisfied. I would definitely go again.

For more info on AVAM, go to


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