The Painted Screens of Baltimore: An Urban Folk Art Revealed

effscreens copyAmerican Studies
Tuesday, February 25 | 4:00 p.m.
Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery

Sponsored by the Department of American Studies, the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery and the Friends of the Library & Gallery

Folklorist and author Elaine Eff will speak about her recently published book The Painted Screens of Baltimore: An Urban Folk Art Revealed.

Painted screens have long been synonymous in the popular imagination with the Baltimore rowhouse. At once picturesque, practical, and quirky, window and door screens adorned with scenic views simultaneously offer privacy and ventilation. As an urban folk art, painted screens flourished in Baltimore, though they did not originate here—precursors date to early eighteenth-century London. They were a fixture on fine homes and businesses in Europe and America throughout the Victorian era, but became an item for mass consumption in Baltimore where the folk art is still very much alive.

Eff, an authority on the subject of painted screens, has thoughtfully examined the roots of painted wire cloth, the ethnic communities where painted screens have been at home for a century, and the future of this art form. She is a curator and filmmaker who formerly served as the director of the cultural conservation program for the Maryland Historical Trust and as co-director of the Maryland Traditions program at the Maryland State Arts Council. She is the 2009 Botkin Prize recipient from the American Folklore Society and the founder of the Painted Screen Society.

Admission is free.

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