Thursday's storms do little damage to Artscape

Thursday night's thunderstorms did little damage to Artscape, the giant free arts festival that opened as planned at 11 a.m. today, organizers said.

"A few things blew around a bit and some installations got wet, but that's all," said Tracy Baskerville, spokeswoman for the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts. "I was just up there, and a few things looked wet, but it didn't look like they couldn't carry on."

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for the Baltimore area, beginning at noon today and running through this evening. Officials from several city departments — the mayor's office, police, fire and BOPA — will be meeting throughout Artscape, with an eye toward reacting quickly if severe weather or any other event threatens the festival, an official said.

"We're not expecting storms like we got last night," said Scott Brillman, director of special events for the mayor's office of emergency management. He said planners have made arrangements with owners of area buildings, in case severe weather forces people inside.

Whatever happens, he said, "We're ready to make a quick decision."

Artscape, the nation's largest free arts festival, runs through Sunday on and around the corner of Mount Royal Avenue and Charles Street. More than 300,000 visitors came to Artscape last year.

"We try to go on, rain or shine," Baskerville said.

More Artscape 2012 coverage:
Artscape 2012 Guide
Artscape 2012 music lineup, performance schedule
Pictures: Artscape through the years