When it comes to art, there are artists considered classic or traditional and then there are artists who completely break the mold. The American Visionary Art Museum, located in Baltimore, Maryland, specializes in artworks by self-taught artists. When curating their unique collections, the American Visionary Art Museum specifically avoids folk art, instead seeking out artists with a unique vision or perspective that sets them apart from established or inherited traditions.
The AVAM was established in 1995, as a result of the grassroots movement by founder and director Rebecca Alban Hoffberger. Hoffberger left high school and established the museum independently. The building itself reflects the eccentricity of the museum’s collection by combining traditional architectural styles with more contemporary elements.
The main building contains six galleries, displaying roughly 4,000 pieces in their permanent collection of visionary art. Aside from their permanent pieces, the majority of the gallery space is reserved for their temporary or rotating exhibitions. The space also includes the Wildflower Garden, Tall Sculpture Barn, and Sculpture Plaza.
Their current Mega Exhibit is titled The Secret Life of Earth, which will run through September 5, 2021. According to their website, this exhibition is meant to, “inspire a deeper love and protectiveness for our planet through carving a personal path of amazement and appreciation for our viewers.” It aims to combine art, climate education, and natural inspiration.
Another of their current rotating exhibitions, running through March 3, 2024, is titled Esther and the Dream of One Loving Human Family. The collection of visionary art features 36 hand-embroidered works of art telling the holocaust survival story of Esther Krinitz. It also features South African Truth and Reconciliation testimonies gathered from Rwandan genocide survivors. The goal of the exhibition is to pay tribute to those under unjust persecution and dream of a world at peace.