Elevator Chat: Kathy Hornig, Festivals Director at the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts (BOPA)
Kathy Hornig is Festivals Director at the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts (BOPA). She is organizing her 13th Artscape.
MSAC: Can you tell us about your background?
Kathy Hornig: I'm an O’s lovin’-crab cake eating -15-star, 15-stripe flag-Purple Fridays-Cross Street Market-kind of Baltimore girl! I am an alumnus of the University of Baltimore, St. Mary's College, and Annapolis High, with a brief detour at Oxford to study Medieval and Renaissance poetry.
MSAC: How long have you been in charge of Artscape?
Kathy Hornig: My first Artscape was 2002.
MSAC: How does your office coordinate such a large, popular festival? What are the challenges?
Kathy Hornig: Our BOPA team brings an incredible amount of energy, enthusiasm, hard work and joy to coordinating Artscape – and that is really the only way to pull off something this large and popular! Probably our biggest challenge is that most festivals of Artscape’s size and caliber have a year round dedicated staff, but we’re also producing BOPA’s 30+ other programs, in addition to Artscape.
MSAC: Is there a specific year that stand out as ill-fated or an exceptionally memorable year? Why?
Kathy Hornig: Every Artscape holds special memories for me, and of course, there have been many standout exhibitions and concerts over the years (shout out to CAKE!). But if I had to pick just one – it was 1999, and I was actually a festivalgoer, not on staff. That’s because right before we headed down to Artscape, I told my husband Rick that I was expecting our son!
MSAC: Please take us through the setup period before the crowd arrives.
Kathy Hornig: Well, it's like cooking the perfect omelet. You need a game plan, and it’s best to have done this a few times before. You need to do a lot of detailed prep work in advance. And you have to break a few eggs. But the end result is delicious!
MSAC: What do the arts mean to you?
Kathy Hornig: I am passionate about the arts as a vehicle for spreading ideas and knowledge. Arts festivals (especially those that are free!) can inspire attendees with arts experiences and personal interactions that might not otherwise ever happen for them, and I love that.
Known as America's largest free arts festival, Artscape attracts 350,000+ attendees over three days (July 17-19) at Charles Street and Mount Royal Avenue in Baltimore City.