MAXGallery owner Maxine Taylor is pictured in her first-floor gallery
with fellow artists' work. (Algerina Perna / Baltimore Sun)
Maxine Taylor moved from Sacramento, Calif., to Prince George’s County in 1972 because her ambitions went beyond domesticity.
“I knew I wanted to be more than a mother, and I had to get away from my family to do that,” the painter said recently.
An artist who first worked with watercolors and then acrylics and mixed media, Taylor desired a different space conducive to her creativity after her children grew up and left home.
“I decided I didn’t need a house. I needed a studio,” Taylor said. “It was big. It was open. I wanted a garden. I wanted dirt. I didn’t care if it was in the city or in the country, but it turned out the city was a good place to be.”
Tucked away on an unassuming street in Butchers Hill is MAXgallery, Taylor’s live-work space for the past two decades. The first floor features a gallery that, on a recent visit, featured the exhibition “Edges,” with impressive works by artists including LaToya Hobbs, Sondheim Artscape Prize 2017 finalist Mary Anne Arntzen and other local artists.
In 2013, Taylor was invited to participate in the Artscape Gallery Network, an annual selection of local galleries organized and promoted by the free festival.
Since then, her space has become a place more for others’ art than her own.
When it comes to curation, Taylor said she’s motivated to provide a platform for Baltimore artists who lack formal training, just as she does. She’s focusing on the neighborhoods nearby, like McElderry Park and the Caring Active Restoring Efforts community.
“I’m not in an arts district, so my aim to set something up here with all the artists in the area,” Taylor said. “It’s ambitious but it doesn’t seem to stop me from trying.”
Taylor loves the resiliency she sees in Baltimore artists, who often repurpose various materials for pieces rather than buying new materials. At MAXgallery, there’s an emphasis on strong, confident art by black artists. She wants to continue to provide that platform.
“I’m trying to create an opportunity for nonwhite artists to mingle with the general art crowd,” she said. “I don’t know where that came from, but I see and feel the need, so I’m pursuing it.”
MAXGallery is located at 126 N. Madeira St., Butchers Hill. Open 2 p.m.-6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and by appointment. 410-804-7459, maxgallery.us.
— Wesley Case