Collector Mera Rubell, BMA director Chris Bedford to visit studios of Baltimore artists

An upcoming tour puts Baltimore artists in the picture for studio visits by art world heavyweights.

It's no wonder that Baltimore artists are clamoring to win a coveted spot in a studio tour this month by two art world heavyweights.

The Miami-based collector Mera Rubell — co-owner of the world's largest privately owned contemporary art collection — and Baltimore Museum of Art director Christopher Bedford will join forces for a two-day blitz visit to the studios of nearly three dozen Baltimore-area artists on Feb. 28 and March 1.

More than 100 artists are vying for one of the 30-minute studio visits on the tour, which was organized by the online and print magazine BmoreArt, according to a news release.

"I love visiting artist studios," Rubell said in the release. "Artists have so much to teach us, and we need to hear what they have to say. The best art offers something personal and also universal, ideas that are relevant to our lives and show us who we are as people."

The release said that the idea for the 2017 tour, called "Beyond the Frame," originated with Rubell, who conducted a similar marathon trek in Charm City in the fall of 2013 on behalf of the Washington Project for the Arts.

In addition, Bedford — who not only is the new director of the Baltimore Museum of Art, but commissioner of the U.S. Pavilion for the 2017 Venice Biennale art show — is just beginning to get to know Baltimore's arts community.

Artists who will participate in the tour will be selected jointly by Rubell and by Cara Ober, founder of BmoreArt.

Several artists whose studios were visited by Rubell in 2013 later were chosen for inclusion in a group art show. It's possible that something similar could be arranged for the artists visited on the 2017 tour, according to event publicist Amy Elias of Profiles Inc., though there are no firm plans for a show as of yet.

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