Posts tagged #volunteer

Fringe Benefits

See what I did there?

Baltimore has a vibrant art world and everyone who makes it out, participates, or otherwise lends their time and money is a part of the progress we make in building a stronger arts industry and culture in Baltimore. We need your support to continue doing so.

Why is this important?

Good question, question maker, glad you asked. We started Fringe four years ago after seeing most of our artist friends flee to the four arts corners of the country (Washington, New York, Chicago, and LA).

Did we agree with this?

Of course not! We went to school in the city, grew up here, and love the possibilities (just look, we started a festival). But we understood it. It may be difficult to start your own thing in one of those cities, sure, but there are also seemingly endless possibilities to become a part of something. It is, simply put, currently a challenge to sustain yourself on the arts alone in Baltimore. There are wonderful works being put on by industry pillars Center Stage and Everyman. And the future of theatre is promising when you watch productions by younger up-and-coming companies. 

However, just as a town center is made up of more than one shop, a cultural center must be made up of a vibrant landscape of companies of all sizes and varieties. The quality is surely not missing from Baltimore, but what is needed is the concentration and variety. There are the aforementioned "giants," a handful of young companies with a modest staff, and then whole heaps of artists working for free or seeking out their niche elsewhere.

Theatre stalwarts The Strand and newcomers Interrobang Theatre Company know what a bear launching new works can be.

Theatre stalwarts The Strand and newcomers Interrobang Theatre Company know what a bear launching new works can be.

Simply put, we must come together and build on this scene, and Fringe is an important part of shaping this reality. The benefits abound. Young artists and companies are given the opportunity to focus on their art. The festival offers a platform for young companies to kick-start a season, it lessens the financial burden of producing, established companies can workshop a play, and traveling artists can find a home and an audience in a foreign city.

Through the festival, we take the onus off of companies to attain infrastructure. We bolster young companies. And the more young companies that establish themselves in the city, the more young people move to the city. The more young people that move to the city, the more people there are to see and support a vibrant arts scene. This is intensely important to both the creative future of Baltimore, but more so, the continued growth and ongoing Renaissance our city is experiencing.

We would be remiss to leave out the role that the riots and ongoing unrest from 2015 play in moving forward. But that means now, more than ever, we must decide and define our city's future. There are ongoing victories and setbacks in the course to repair our city and our city's image and we are excited to be a part of one of the defining industries. The arts can serve as grassroots PR for any city. It is a near-unwritten rule, joked about by those doing it and taken for granted (if even recognized) by many a policy-maker and businessperson, that artists play a vital role in creating and maintaining vibrant city centers.

However, the fact of the matter is that the power that artists wield as an agent for change in their communities is incredible.* Arts districts were once thought, and continue to be proven, to be powerful tools in catalyzing community revitalization and ongoing economic development. Charm City Fringe aims to augment these efforts by our arts districts** and continue our work to cultivate Baltimore as a hub for the arts. By fostering a sustainable model for producing new works, and drawing artists from around the city, state, and country, Fringe serves as a cultural ambassador for Baltimore.

How You Can Help

These artists, we must stress, are not only the reason for which we exist, but something that everyone should embrace and support if we wish to continue developing Baltimore. If you live in the city, be a part of it. Come out to shows, the Fringe Fest alone runs for 10 days each November. Volunteer! We are a growing organization and volunteering is a great way to have a huge impact, meet likeminded people, and find out what's going on in the arts world. There are heaps of shows by other artists as well - don't know where to look? Follow us on Facebook to see what we like, check out City Paper (I personally prefer the printed version), and talk to your friends and relatives.

On that note, talk to your friends and relatives. If you live in the city, tell them about the cool stuff you're seeing, remind everyone that you're not in The Wire, take them out. If you're a student, venture off campus, pay us a visit! If you don't live in the city, talk to people who do, find out what's going on, make a day of it. We promise you, there's a lot going on, from up-and-coming snack companies to a constant stream of shows, musical and otherwise, art galleries, and so much more

Like Baltimore, Fringe is developing at an alarming rate. Measuring attendance, production volume, or new programming (Fringe Academy (Spring 2016) and Nights on the Fringe (July 8-9, 2016)), Fringe has anywhere from doubled to tripled each year since 2012. However, we are a volunteer-run business. As such, we need your support to keep doing our part. So please, sign up to be a volunteer today, donate to support our programming, and tell your friends about us!

We've only scratched the surface of everything happening in Baltimore, but collectively we are all Fringe. We owe it to ourselves and to Baltimore to make sure we are a part of seeing our city develop.

-Zach Michel, Co-Founder

*Studies by the American Planning Association, as well as anecdotal evidence in Pittsburg and Yonkers surrounding the pronounced benefits of cultural and arts districts, reinforce this notion.

**Namely Station North and Bromo Seltzer, as well as area neighborhoods across the city.

Join us! Volunteer or make a tax-deductible contribution to the arts today through our secure account. Your contribution will directly bolster the ongoing efforts of Charm City Fringe and its year-round services to Baltimore's artists, audiences, and youth.

Nights to Meet You II

Rough 'n' Tumblers at Night II of Nights on the Fringe

See what I did there?

Nights on the Fringe was a huge success. We had a ton of fun, a great turnout, and got to see some awesome new artists. But don't take it from us alone, here it is from the artists and people who were there themselves:

"Thanks again for having us as part of your awesome event!" Bawdy Shop Burlesque

"Love it. Totally creative, totally eccentric, totally Baltimore!" Caprece J.

"A great evening - keep it up!" Herman M.

"Coming to Nights on the Fringe is the best use of your time and money anyone could make, ever." Zachary M., festival organizer

We hope you made it out, and if you didn't, check out the gallery! Explore photos from the first night, up now, and put Nights on the Fringe in your calendar for 2016. In the meantime, the full-scale festival is just around the corner!

Onward and upward, what's next?

This is going to be the biggest Fringe Fest Baltimore has ever seen. Each year we see exponential growth, and 2015 is shaping up to be just as great: 100% growth from last year, more and better preview and opening productions, and cool collaborations with area businesses, including a reunion with The Brewer's Art. The only thing stopping us now is the hunt for more venues!

BYOV applications for the November Fringe Festival are still open! But not for long, if you are an artist looking to perform at your own venue, or a venue of your choosing, but still want to be a part of the Charm City Fringe Festivities, apply now through the end of July! Remember, 100% of net ticket revenue goes back to the artist.

The 2015 Fringe Festival button, artwork by Andy Schoeb

Wrap it up

So, all in all, we did it! I stress "we," because this is all possible because of you (and you, and you too!). The artists, crew, volunteers, and yes, the audiences make it all possible. Baltimore has a vibrant world of arts and everyone who made it out, participated, or donated their time and money is a part of the progress we continue to make in building a stronger arts industry and more vibrant arts culture in Baltimore. 

More on this next month. Until then, thanks for listening!

Zach Michel, Co-Founder

Volunteer or make a 100% tax-deductible contribution today through our secure account, below. Your contribution makes possible the ongoing efforts of Charm City Fringe and its year-round services to Baltimore's artists, audiences, and youth.

Nights to Meet You!

Good Tidings, Fringers. There’s no better way to celebrate a city and community than through its arts and culture!  Charm City Fringe has a lot in store for our city in the coming months, check it out!

The Festival Apps

If you have an idea for a great production, the Charm City Fringe Fest is here for you. Applications for our 4th annual Charm City Fringe Fest are open now through June 28th. Heck, if you already have a production and a place to stage it, Bring Your Own Venue! Learn about both here!

Poster art by Kevin Sherry and Andy Schoeb

The Money

More money? YES! Artists now receive 80% or more of their ticket sales, a nearly 30% increase over years’ past. What’s more, BYOV artists receive 100%.

Immerse Yourself!

A brand new event, Nights on the Fringe is a “farmers market” for the arts. Imagine a lobby full of gallery works and wandering artists there to entertain you, followed by a bill featuring an array of performing arts, multimedia, and theatre. Now stop imagining, and get excited, because it is happening live at Baltimore Theatre Project, June 26th and 27th!

Tickets go on sale soon, so stay up to date on the full lineup of artists!

The Venues

We’re also very happy to welcome some new venues into the fold this year. New to Fringe are Gallery 788 in Hampden as well as the Terrault Contemporary located in the Copy Cat building in Station North.  We can’t wait to show off these new venues and welcome audiences back to the historic Church & Co., located just off the Avenue in Hampden!

Want to have as much fun, sun, and beers in hand as these gents? Sign up to learn more about volunteering!

The Volunteers

Charm City Fringe exists due to your continued support of the arts in Baltimore and we thank you for this. If you want to jump into the fold or learn more, we invite you to reach out to our new volunteer coordinators, Renée and Michael, at, or you can click the link above.


Roles in the Charm City Fringe organization come in all shapes and sizes, join in on the fun. We’re here!

-Michael Brush, Co-founder

Support the arts! Make a 100% tax-deductible contribution to Charm City Fringe today through our easy and secure account, above.

Theatre, and Music, and Beers! Oh My!

We’ve locked down the venues, picked the artists, received more grants and support than ever before, and our educational work is taking off. Oh, and there’s going to be a Fringe Beer.

 First, the artists. We’ve nearly doubled the performing companies this year. There’s a one-woman cooking show comedy and a group of clowns exploring the meaning of life. And if you’re looking for something else, there’s plenty more.

Click here to get the scoop on all of this year's performers

Now, the venues. Returning for their second engagement with the Fringe Fest is the historic Baltimore Theatre Project, a force in Baltimore’s theatre community since opening its Mt. Vernon doors in 1971. New to the Festival is the Chicken Box of Station North and Hampden’s Church & Company. They’re as interesting as their names might suggest: one is housed in a former NY Fried Chicken, the other nestled in an historic church off the Avenue. 

Want the first peak at the 2014 artwork for the Charm City Fringe Fest? Well, you've found it, the wonderful work of Navid Azeez!

Of course, all of this is made possible by the help of our sponsors. We are thrilled to join forces with Brewer’s Art. Not only are they hosting happy hours and late-night gatherings for the festival, but Brewer’s is crafting a special release Charm City Fringe Beer! It will be delicious, we promise, and exclusively available on draught at your favorite Fringe bars and venues, also a promise.

If you're getting as excited as we are then I suggest signing up right here to volunteer at this year's festival. We love our volunteers and, along with all of our love and respect, they will receive free festival passes and cool swag. 

Before the fest hits in full this November, be sure to catch Charm City Fringe at HampdenFest on September 20th and again during Free Fest this October. We’ll have free giveaways, prizes, and discount tickets and buttons for the Festival!

That's all for now. Tune in next week for news on our new educational efforts!

With love, 

Michael Brush, co-founder