Beginning next year, Artscape will use an exclusive food concessionaire to "provide and manage" all food stands.
Past vendors were notified of this decision yesterday in a letter from Kathy Hornig, the director of festivals for the Baltimore Office of Promotions & the Arts.
The primary reasons given for the change are the critical loss of the Bolton Yards lot in 2007 along with other smaller lots in subsequent years, and the increasing difficulty of managing the festival's sixty-plus vendors.
BOPA has issued an request for proposals for the single concessionaire. The deadline to submit proposals is November 23, 2010.
Next year will be the 30th edition of Artscape, now the "largest free arts festival in the country," according the the promotions office.
The full text of the letter is below.
October 19, 2010
As you may recall, Artscape lost use of the large Bolton Yards parking lot as a Food Court in 2007. The space proved ideal for staging multiple, individual food vendors and their back-of-house needs. Since then, we have continued to lose the use of more flat lots in the neighborhood while, at the same time, the festival’s popularity and footprint have grown. We find that managing 60+ individual food concessionaires has become one of our biggest challenges at Artscape, especially now that the majority of the food stands are back in the street. Communicating with this many vendors is difficult; that issue multiplies as we coordinate important details such as menus, pricing, electricity, water access, sanitation/recycling, grease and gray water, truck parking, vendor fees, deposits/payments, neighborhood impact, overall presentation, etc.
To this end, we have made an important decision for Artscape 2011, issuing a RFP for an exclusive food concessionaire to provide and manage all the food stands. We understand that this approach will negatively affect many food vendors who have participated in Artscape previously, but may not have that same opportunity in 2011. We took that impact into consideration as we weighed this very tough decision, but ultimately decided that an exclusive-concessionaire approach is in the best interest of our festival, moving forward.
We welcome you to review the RFP, which is posted on www.artscape.org. Please note that the RFP asks respondents to address subcontracting a percentage of stands to Baltimore City-based businesses if they are not a City-based business, and also MBE/WBE participation. The deadline to submit proposals is Tuesday, November 23, 2010.
Kathy Hornig, Director of Festivals
Taste Mediterranean Grill.