Columbia firm gets Artscape concession deal

Charm City Hospitality was named Wednesday as the food and beverage concessionaire for Artscape, Baltimore’s annual free art festival.

The Columbia-based business was granted a multiyear contract for 2011 through 2013, said officials from the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts Inc. As the official concessionaire, Charm City Hospitality has exclusive alcohol and soft beverage, water and food sales rights. The event will be held July 15-17 this year.

Charm City Hospitality will subcontract a percentage of food stands to Minority Business Enterprises, Woman Business Enterprises and Baltimore City-based businesses in an effort to keep local concessionaires involved with the festival. Subcontractors can apply for consideration through Artscape’s web site after Feb. 28.

“I am very much looking forward to the opportunity to enhance the food and beverage operation at Artscape, and with that the overall festival experience,” said Jerry Gottlieb, president of Charm City Hospitality, in a statement. Gottlieb could not be reached for further comment.

Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts started soliciting bids for a food provider Oct. 19, and received five bids, said Event Director Kathy Hornig.

Hornig said financial details of the deal would have to come from Gottlieb.

“Our review team really felt like Charm City shared our vision for how the food and beverage concessions should be a part of Artscape,” Hornig said. The review team particularly liked that the company’s proposal included methods for recycling and composting to minimize the festival’s impact on the environment and the neighborhood, she said. Officials from BOPA decided last year that they wanted to freshen up the visual presentation of menus and the environmental impact from vendors, Hornig said.

The requirement for the concessionaire to subcontract to local businesses was an important part of the process, she said. While many of the vendors were from outside Maryland, the local vendors who have participated in the past will be among the first Charm City will contact for services.

“It’s something we took very, very seriously,” Hornig said.

Charm City Hospitality also will provide an opportunity for local artists to lend talent to concession stands and signage. Artscape’s website will have a call for entry for visual arts projects.