Fluorescent elephants ‘Join the Movement’ at Artscape

— There’s plenty to get excited about when it comes to Artscape, the country’s largest free arts festival.

With an emphasis on dance and all things motion-related, officials have coined the slogan, “Join the Movement,” as the theme of the 33rd annual event, which takes place on Friday, July 18 through Sunday, July 20, at Mount Royal Avenue and Charles Street.

Visitors this year may also be moved by the appearance of fluorescent-colored, larger than life, Kalahari elephants, which have been making the trek across the East Coast as part of the Kalahari Resorts and Conventions grand opening in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.

“A lot of people are really excited because it offers something different. These elephants, Kandula, Annabelle and Echo, are authentic Africans and we’ll have them near the sculpture along Mount Royal,” said Samantha Colla, whose public relations firm Jacob/Rost, represents Kalahari Resorts.

Colla said attendees not only will have an opportunity to see the pachyderms, but everyone can enter a contest for a chance to win an overnight stay at the new resort and learn more about Kalahari.

Through a series of interactive events, exhibits, and performances, this year’s installment of Artscape promises to be special, officials said.

In its new and expanded space at the old Single Carrot Theatre, the company, Gamescape, will highlight the imagination and ingenuity inherent to video game production through panels on game development and design, playable arcade machines and more, according to a news release.

Works by semi-finalists in the Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize will also be featured in MICA galleries with the winner of a $25,000 fellowship announced at the Walters Art Museum on Sunday. The MEA Energy Stage will feature Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings on Friday; Galactic and the Latin hip-hop group, Ozomatli, on Saturday; and R&B singer Anthony Hamilton on Sunday.

Artscape officials will highlight its, “Join the Movement,” theme by offering a variety of programs, including a series of creative games for those in attendance, including a 50-foot HopsXotch Rivalry race and Pizza Party Twister, which plays like Twister but on a pizza.

New for 2014, Aerial Arts Arena, curated by, “Daydreams + Nightmares Aerial Theatre,” hosts aerial artists, dancers, and circus acts from around the region high above Charles Street.

Performers will showcase diverse styles of movement and dance on aerial cloth, trapeze, hoop, and a number of other apparatuses.The showcase includes productions from DNA Theatre, Vaudoux Aerial Dance Theatre, Radiant Hoops, Ascension Arts and Brian Kehoe.

Artscape spokesperson Tracy Baskerville says festival-goers are encouraged to download the free Artscape Mobile App on their Apple and Android devices or visit: www.artscape.org for the most up-to-date event information. Artscape lovers can also share their excitement at ww.facebook.com/Artscape.Baltimore or be a part of the conversation by following @ArtscapeBmore on Twitter and Instagram, as well as using the hashtag, “artscape2014.”

“Each July, Artscape continues Baltimore’s tradition of celebrating and supporting art and culture,” Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a statement. “With this year’s ‘Join the Movement’ theme, I invite residents and visitors to take advantage of the festival’s free offerings by not only watching the performances and exhibitions, but by joining in the many interactive programs and visiting the many projects designed by artists.”