The Contemporary Museum explores the art and culture of our time by presenting new art, new ideas and new creative processes. Since its founding in 1989, the Contemporary Museum has been committed to presenting thought-provoking exhibitions, innovative programming, and unique collaborations with artists, curators, and members of the Baltimore community.
The Contemporary Museum was founded on the occasion of the first Day Without Art as a grass-roots agency with the express purpose of offering site-specific art with social and political intent in changing venues throughout Baltimore City. In its first decade, the Museum presented exhibitions and events in refurbished and temporary spaces, and in the homes of such partner institutions as the Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland Historical Society, Peabody Conservatory and Walters Art Museum. Though the Contemporary has maintained its regional focus, it has consistently endeavored to distinguish itself from most community-based arts initiatives by working with artists and other arts professionals who are vital contributors to cultural production and critical dialogues of international import.
In September 1999, the Contemporary Museum secured and refurbished a permanent facility in the historic Mount Vernon district of downtown Baltimore adjacent to the Walters Art Museum. The facility was acquired to enable the Museum to consolidate a core audience for its programming in a neighborhood long recognized as the cityâ€™s cultural hub. It also provides the Museum with a home base as it continues its history of presenting collaborative and community-based exhibitions and providing educational outreach to under-served communities throughout the city. Mount Vernon is Baltimoreâ€™s de facto cultural district, and the Museum exists alongside ten other cultural organizationsâ€”museums, theaters, libraries and schoolsâ€”all located within three blocks of the Washington Monument. A National Register Historic District, Mount Vernon is home to a diverse group of residents and businesses. Annually, more than 1.2 million visitors attend some 1,000 events there.