2022 Readers’ Choice Activities and Arts – Baltimore Sun

Baltimore Sun readers voted for the best in the area, from antiques to veterinary practice. This year’s winners are individuals and companies recognized for outstanding service and customer satisfaction over the past year. Several businesses stood out despite the slowdown in trade due to the pandemic.

Readers’ Choice ballot winners were selected by readers in May.

For more categories, go to baltimoresun.com/best.

Baltimore Central Stage

700 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, centerstage.org, (410) 332-0033

Happy Birthday Baltimore Center Stage! For a 60-year-old theater group, you certainly don’t act your age.

As it celebrates six decades of live theater production, Maryland’s state theater might choose — as many regional theaters nationwide have done — to get a little stuffy, a little complacent. As the largest and oldest professional theater company in the Old Line State, it could fill its seasons with yesterday’s classics and tried-and-tested audience favorites.

It might pamper the audience instead of challenging them. But then it wouldn’t be Center Stage.

Since its beginnings, the company founded in 1963 by visionary Peter W. Culman has never been afraid to experiment and take risks: staging financially risky new works, embracing color-blind casting and initiating the audience to unfamiliar voices and perspectives.

Over the past three decades, the theater’s commitment to making things happen has been honed and honed by former artistic directors Irene Lewis and Kwame Kwei-Armah, a trend that Stephanie Ybarra, who has led the company since 2018, has well intend to continue.

“I want to build on what Irene and Kwame have achieved,” Ybarra said.

It’s not that Center Stage is turning away from the classics. The final show of the 2021-22 season was “The Bakkhai,” an ancient Greek tragedy first performed in 405 BC. But two major themes in this 2,400-year-old work are genre fluidity and the dangers of a mob mentality – issues that dominate today’s headlines.

Ybarra also attempts to strengthen Center Stage’s ties to the city and state in which the theater is located.

She launched a series of “Baltimore Butterfly Sessions,” which combine music, poetry, literary excerpts and conversations around issues ranging from climate change to racial violence to media portrayals of Baltimore.

She opened the theater lobby for a blood drive conducted by the American Red Cross and she worked with the NAACP to sponsor a debate among the gubernatorial candidates.

Next season will also feature a new “locally grown” festival of Baltimore artists engaged in different forms of storytelling, from music to spoken word to visual arts.

If the 60th anniversary season will have one unifying theme, Ybarra said, it will be “Our City of Baltimore.”

“We’re going to look at how our city works,” she said. “We’re going to look to the past, but we’re also going to look to the future to ask ourselves what Baltimore and Baltimore Center Stage can be for generations to come.”

Bowling: bar, bowling and bistro in Mustang Alley

Honorable mentions:

Patterson Bowling Center

Forest hill paths


Casino: Maryland Live! Casino

Honorable mentions:

Baltimore Horseshoe Casino

Hollywood Casino Perryville

Charity/Non-Profit Organization: Center Caroline

Honorable mentions:

Hampden Family Center

Archdiocese of Baltimore

Second Chance Inc.

College/University: Towson University

Honorable mentions:

Loyola University of Maryland

Johns Hopkins University

Morgan State University

Dog Park: Patterson Park

Honorable mentions:

Canton Dog Park

Burdick Park

Perry Paw Dog Park

Golf Course: Pine Ridge Golf Course

Honorable mentions:

Mount Pleasant Golf Course

Bubble Rock Golf

Greystone Golf Course

Museum: American Visionary Art Museum

Honorable mentions:

Baltimore Museum of Art

The Walters Art Museum

B&O Railway Museum

Park: Patapsco Valley State Park

Honorable mentions:

Patterson Park

Oregon Ridge Park and Nature Center

Druids Hill Park

Private school: Loyola Blakefield

Honorable mentions:

Calvert Hall College Secondary School

Mercy High School

St. Louis School

Suburb: Ellicott City Historic District

Honorable mentions:




Theater Company: Baltimore Center Stage

Honorable mentions:

Toby’s dinner theater

Baltimore Rock Opera Society

Baltimore Choral Arts Society (tie)

Unique Carrot Theater (Tie)

Tourist Attraction: American Visionary Art Museum

Honorable mention:

national aquarium

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Hampden Avenue

Trail: Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail

Honorable mentions:

Gwynns Falls Trail

Baltimore dish

Baltimore dish


Get the inside scoop on this new restaurant, learn about chef changes, and discover your new favorite recipe. All your Baltimore food news is here.

Herring Race Park

North Park Loop Trail (Joe K Trail)

Wedding venue: American Visionary Art Museum

Honorable mentions:

The Castle of the Cloisters


Baltimore Museum of Industry

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