Dancing Sails: Performance Art on the Pride of Baltimore II

It's an unlikely place for a performance art exhibition. The Pride of Baltimore II, a replica of an iconic Baltimore clipper ship, is mostly known for its educational programs, history tours and sailing trips out of the Inner Harbor.

But a performance art exhibition is exactly what's happening aboard the Pride II this weekend.

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania is bringing its Sailcloth Art Project to the ship Friday August 4th through Sunday August 6th.

The exhibit will feature "colorful imaginings of dancers drifting aloft." Huge paintings of dancers, painted on recycled sailcloth, will float above the horizon while live dancers perform on the ship's deck.

The project aims to combine art and dance as well as science, music, poetry and sailing.

Heather Hertel, an associate professor of art at Slippery Rock, did the sailcloth paintings, and Professor Ursula Payne, chairperson of dance at the university, choreographed the dance.

The group explains why they're sharing their talents aboard the Pride II:
"The vessel provides a dream-like visceral experience to host a combination of art and dance. The outdoor setting is opening and expanding for sharing the sailcloth art and actualizing the encompassing movement of dance on deck."

“We’re looking for a unique opportunity at Pride of Baltimore,” said program coordinator Martha Oster-Beal. “Heather using recycled sailcloth is really unique. She’s bringing sails back to ships but in a different form. We’re hoping to broaden our horizons and hopefully attract a new audience.”


There will be an opening reception on Friday, August 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. and the exhibition will last throughout the weekend. The reception is free, but those who plan to come are asked to RSVP.

Megan Viviano