Lunchtime customers at Lexington Market might have noticed a curious art project on the street this week. I did. As I approached the market, a guy was setting up an easel and starting to paint. By the time I exited half an hour later, he had finished a crude painting that, in four sections, depicted Einstein, Elvis, the Titanic, and Adam and Eve. A small crowd gathered around, and he preached about “Great Mistakes,” using the painting to illustrate his points.
I initially assumed he’d claim science was misguided and Elvis was satanic, but he, instead, noted that a teacher told the young Einstein he would amount to nothing—which was a mistake. Likewise, a record producer told a young Elvis to give up music and go back to driving trucks—another great mistake. I missed the Titanic part but figured it was a nod to all the 100th anniversary hoopla and the mistaken claim that the ship was unsinkable. Adam and Eve—you could see this one coming a mile away—committed the “first great mistake.”
After I snapped a photo and went on my way, a fellow stopped me and said he’d like to discuss my “spiritual journey.” I told him that was a private matter, but he pressed on, assuming I was curious about the message/sermon because I’d taken a picture. “Actually, I was more interested in the artwork,” I said, and he explained that this particular evangelical group practices “sketch board evangelism.”
In fact, he was an artist himself and had sketched for Christ all over the East Coast and travelled as far south as Buenos Aires, which he claimed was rich culturally. Then, he riffed a little about the Renaissance.
At this point, I interjected that the area we were standing in was culturally rich and explained that I eat lunch at the Market whenever possible, because it’s one of the most vibrant areas in Baltimore. He looked a bit puzzled, and I suggested he keep his eyes and ears open, because it was all around him—the music, the street art, the lively conversations, the food (from lake trout to Faidley’s), the architecture, the commerce.
“If you came down here and missed all that, it would be a real mistake,” I said, and we shook hands and went our separate ways.