Dwellers of any city know the importance of independent artists to the upkeep of local culture. The up-and-coming neighborhood near Hollins Market in South West Baltimore (So-We-Bo) is chock full of exactly these sorts of artists, so on Sunday, May 27th, locals of the neighborhood and surrounding areas gathered for the “Never Say Never” Sowebohemian Arts Festival.

From noon to 8 pm, festival attendees could check out tens of local crafts vendors, visual artists, and local bands. Non-profit organizations also showed their faces to spread their messages and garner support. The festival, which is in its 27th year, even offered activities for kids. Baltimorites could see their tinier counterparts entertained with creative projects, like hat making with the Tattered Hatters and face painting with the Artists & Craftsman Supply. Kids also lined up to see the Black Cherry Puppet Theatre’s great dramatic works and to live their wild west dreams on the east coast with the Carlton Street Stables’ Arabber Pony Rides, leaving their parents free to scarf down the an array of food supplied by local vendors in between swigs of Natty Boh, and to soak up the cultural spectacle.

Four stages were set up for over 35 diverse musical acts, headlined by Pablo Fiasco’s “Last Call Jam,”  Ben Watson World Media War, Sweet Leda, and Soul Island Rebels. Also featured were three art shows: the Sowebo Festival Salon Art Show, New Beginnings: Eyes To The World Photo Exhibition, and the 788 Gallery Group Show. For those who would rather own than just observe, there were also 55 crafts vendors selling an assortment of creations. What truly makes Sowebo, though, might be its patrons. Even without a single dollar in their short-shorts’ pockets, folks could brave the summer heat just to dance, lay around, observe, and even speak to the artists themselves.

Photos by Theresa Keil:


Photos by Larry Cohen: