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Taking time to appreciate some art

In this world of high prices, what's more exciting than a freebie?

Absolutely nothing, as far as our purses are concerned. Even if it's a free hot dog, it tastes better when it's a bonus.

When the freebie, however, offers more than a mundane snack, its something special.

The Baltimore Museum of Art extends its invitation to all at their no-cost events.

"Free Family Sundays" are yours for enjoying outdoors at the BMA. No charge and no required equipment are part of the package.

"Free Family Sundays" at the Museum celebrate "The Great Outdoors." On this Sunday, families will be encouraged to "Invent an Imaginary Landscape."

Last Sunday, on Mothers' Day, participants worked to "Make a Beautiful Bouquet for Mom."

On the last Sunday of each month, a special feature offers informal chats about a work of art. The so-called "object lesson" in May will concern "Flowers," owned by the Cone sisters of Baltimore.

These hands-on art-making events run from 2 to 5 p.m. each Sunday.

Topics in June concern "On the Move," concluding with the "object lesson" about Max Pechstein's "The Circus."

Is the BMA, one of Baltimore's truly outstanding institutions, visited only rarely by Baltimore residents?

The answer, I'm guessing, is yes - particularly as summer sunshine and the great outdoors beckon.

Recently I visited the Museum for the Baltimore County Public Schools Pre K-12 Exhibition. Every school in the county sent several works, chosen by teachers at each location. "Art is for Everyone," proclaimed the brochure. Joint sponsors were Baltimore County Public Schools and the Baltimore Museum Art.

Viewing this exhibit, followed by a tour of a few galleries, brought me up to the wealth of beauty and treasure to which, lately, I've paid little attention.

A quick stop in the Gallery of English Sporting Art brought me right to the present. There, in all priceless, sterling silver, horse-decorated glory, was the Woodlawn Vase (vahz, please, according to TV announcers) - which on Saturday will be displayed at Pimlico, for "presentation" to the Preakness winner.

Actually, under watchful eyes of Pinkerton Men, the original Vase then will be returned to the Museum. The owner of the Preakness winner will receive a replica - still quite a dazzler.

So include the BMA in your summer schedule of day trips. It offers something for all ages.

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