Every year Bloom organizer Robin Gunkel in Baltimore, Maryland produces a festival all about mushrooms. Thanks to support from Free Fall Baltimore and the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks.
With both a focus on personal and planetary healing, Mushroom City Art Festival is an informative and interactive exploration of mushrooms with foraging, identification, cultivation, and psilocybin research all part of the event. Sculptures and paintings inspired by this mysterious, mycelial life form are featured alongside hands on workshops and educational discussions revealing the many real world applications for mushroom cultivation in contemporary urban life.
Here’s what Robin had to say after the event: Mushroom City went really well yesterday, and I am so excited for the conversations and connections. I feel like I’m just starting to see what a Bloom Network vision can look like. This needs servant leaders working to empower others, and I am perceiving how community can form around regenerative culture through cultivating fungi and beginning to address local ecological challenges. Wouldn’t it be amazing to start a mycoremediation collective that works on the pollution of the Jones Falls? In a discussion on regenerative culture yesterday after my talk, I was so blown away by people’s visions for bioremediation but also sharing themselves and their spiritual connection to nature. It was amazing, and I heard in what folks were sharing, their own overcoming of fear for the projects that they wish to take on, which resonated so deeply. I’m rocking up to similar place in myself in overcoming fear, where former perceptions of who I am and what I am good at must transform. It’s time to develop a deeper knowledge and relationship with fungi. Mycoremediation (using fungi for environmental clean up) I believe is the right relationship to grow right now. The environmental crisis and atomization of our communities is rooted in a breakdown of relationships. The step forward is in rebuilding relationships with each other but also with the natural world and the powerful allies and elders of the natural world. This is a lot to encapsulate in a post, but I am feeling inspired and seeing new connections, new projects, new relationships, new paths forward and a wide and connected network!
Photos from this year’s festival
Music and Art
What People Have to Say About
Mushroom City Art Festival
“Just wanted to say how much fun I had at Mushroom City. Robin Gunkel you are really creating something magical and important for ecological awareness, education and so much more. I really had a blast jamming near the tea fire. Everything in the chapel was amazing. The nature walk with Eric Joseph Lewis I learned so much. I was a little proud of myself for spotting the lions mane we already knew was there. Folks who were there for the walk I know you feel me when I say BASSWOOD!!!! It was my first time seeing Darsombra but not the last. Thank you to everyone.”
“I absolutely loved Mushroom City this year, and every year for that matter, and this experience is the same experience I want for Figment Baltimore! Would anyone/everyone that contribute to the awesomeness of Mushroom City be willing to replicate that awesomeness (if at all possible) at Figment Baltimore next summer?”
– Steph Comp
“Thanks so much to Robin for such a lovely, informative, entertaining and fun-filled event! I enjoyed the opportunity to layer some psychedelic sounds into the ambiance and also to see so many great friends!! ^_^”
– Woody Lissauer
“Many thanks to everyone who came out and contributed. Shout out to Michael Weese for spotting that globifomes graveolens, Rimas Cikotas for guiding us out to the lions mane, Alex Dorr for sharing the mycophilosophy and remediation inspiration, and to William Padilla-Brown for giving us the download on cordyceps. It was quite a pleasure to share a plant walk and connect with good family new and old. To anyone who enjoyed the yoga of plants feel free to add me and keep in touch. Mush love family.”
–Eric Joseph Lewis
“Thank you everyone for a wonderful day yesterday. Between hearing the talks, seeing the log workshop in action, feeling the vibes by the gazebo and vendors that felt like a village, it was true magic! Dan’s fire and shiitake tea, Stevie’s stitching station, the collaborative mycelial pyramid, and Ryan and Justin’s seesaw embraced by the children all added an integral piece to this co-created space! Tom’s igloo at the bottom of the field was a destination of stillness and reflection, and the art trail and forays took us deeper into nature. Thank you all who came to the festival yesterday!! We’re so happy for how it turned out and to host all of you! <3”
“Thank you all again for a great festival last weekend, and I would like to invite anyone who is interested in helping to organize next year’s festival to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org I always emphasize the we because the festival could never be done without everyone’s involvement. At the same time, the festival has been primarily organized by 1 person, me (and also Ryan Smith coordinating music). With now a new job and a research course that I will be taking for my PhD program next fall, in order for Mushroom City to happen next year, there needs to be more organizers 🙂 So, if you’re interested in coordinating vendors, curating art, publicity, organizing volunteers etc. please get in touch, so Mushroom City can make the next level up into a community organized festival!!”