Art in The City: Spring 2023 Art Expos, Fairs and Festivals

Baltimore Fine Art Print Fair. (Both images)  Photo Credit: Greg Dohler

As you delve into this column, Punxsutawney Phil will have either seen his shadow and crawled back into his groundhog hole, indicating that six more weeks of winter are ahead of us, or  remained above ground and predicted an early spring.  Whether or not you take stock in Phil’s forecast, one thing is certain—starting March 30, some of the region’s best art events will take place.

Baltimore Fine Art Print Fair
March 30-Sunday April 2
The Baltimore Fine Art Print Fair is one of the few fine art fairs in the Washington-Baltimore region. Very much like Miami Basel in December or the spring fairs in New York City, the BFAPF invites galleries, dealers and print publishers to apply to exhibit work, specifically prints, in fine art-style booths comprised of large exhibition walls and a central display table for examining work.  Selected exhibitors come from all over the US to display and sell contemporary prints.  The BFAPF is an excellent opportunity to see a large variety of leading-edge artworks in one place.  Parking is available next door at 940 Ostend Street.  Admission to the event is ticketed and weekend passes are available. Thursday:  VIP Event 6-9 p.m., Friday: Noon-7 p.m., Sat. & Sun.: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Bryane Broadie, one of three recipients of the 2022 Award of Excellence. Image Courtesy VisArts

East City Art’s Capital Art Book Fair
Saturday & Sunday, April 1 & 2
Eastern Market’s North Hall
This is the first edition of East City Art’s Capital Art Book Fair which takes place indoors at Eastern Market’s North Hall. The art book fair format combines publishing and visual art in a variety of ways but mainly features art-related publications.  These can include books as works of art, editions about art or artists, limited edition books but also DIY zines, graphic novels and art magazines.  Exhibitors usually include artists, independent publishers, illustrators and other specialty printers. For this edition, East City Art has partnered with Capitol Hill Arts Workshop and Hill Center to co-locate programming during the fair.  Programming will include panel discussion on art publishing, artist talks, exhibitions and free children’s art workshops.  In addition, DC-based, award-winning artist and CHAW instructor Carolina Mayorga will create ephemeral, site-specific work for the 2023 Capital Art Book Fair in Eastern Market’s North Hall.  Saturday: noon-8 p.m. | Sunday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free.

VisArts’ Rockville Art Festival
Saturday & Sunday, May 6 & 7
VisArts is a large arts organization located in downtown Rockville. VisArts maintains a rigorous exhibition schedule at its galleries, offers art classes and manages artist residencies. VisArts is also responsible for organizing the annual Rockville Art Festival. This year, the festival will feature original art by 130 fine artists and artisans, live music, art demonstrations by VisArts’ instructors and artwork by VisArts’ VisAbility Art Lab artists.  This year’s festival will host new and returning artists who have created original works in media ranging from ceramics, digital art, drawing, fiber, glass, jewelry, metal, mixed media, painting, photography, sculpture, and wood. Local vendors will also offer a wide variety of food and drink. Every year, VisArts announces several artists selected as winners of the Award of Excellence. Saturday & Sunday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

2023 Capital Art Book Fair

Gateway Open Studio Tour
Saturday, May 13, Times TBA
Along Route 1 between Mount Rainier & Hyattsville, MD
Every second Saturday in May, the artists of the Gateway Arts District open their doors to the general public.  Located along Route 1 in the towns of Mount Rainier, Brentwood, North Brentwood and Hyattsville, Maryland, over 150 artists live and work in this state-designated arts district.  The event gives visitors the opportunity to interact with artists in dozens of workshops and home-based studios. The Gateway Arts District is also home to a large number of galleries and prominent arts organizations like Brentwood Arts Exchange and Pyramid Atlantic Art Center which host art exhibitions and other programming during the Open Studio Tour.  If this is your first time going to the open studio tour a word of caution—there are more places to visit than you can possibly see in one day.  When information about participating artists becomes available this spring, plan your trip judiciously to get the most out of your visit.  The Open Studio Tour usually closes with an after-party at MiXt Food Hall located at 3809 Rhode Island Avenue in Brentwood, Md.  The venue food-hall style venue usually features live music, drink specials and local made food. Free.

Tephra ICA Festival
Saturday & Sunday, May 20 & 21, Times TBA
Reston Town Center
Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art, formerly known as Greater Reston Art Center, runs an art gallery and other visual arts programming at Reston Town Center.  Tephra ICA runs what was formerly known as the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival which is now called the Tephra ICA Festival. The 32-year-old annual event hosts over 200 artists exhibiting both fine art and craft. The outdoor event includes vendor booths lining Market Street in Reston as well as performances and special events.  This is also the first year visitors can take Metro’s Silver Line to the event. Free.

Phil Hutinet is the founding publisher of East City Art, DC’s visual art journal of record. For more information visit