The founder of a Columbia Heights arts nonprofit had plenty to curse about earlier this month.
BloomBars founder John Chambers says a thief broke into his organization’s art space at 3222 11th Street NW and stole two donation boxes and change from a swear jar on Aug. 9 around 2:25 a.m.
“He threw a rock through the window,” Chambers says. “That guy must be a pitcher or something because he really wound up.”
The organization’s surveillance cameras filmed the alleged crime.
In a video Chambers uploaded to Youtube yesterday, a man can be seen donning a ski mask and gloves, then hurling a chunk of pavement through a glass window. The man then appears to scoop up loose change from an overturned jar and nab two metal donation boxes.
“He probably made away with and three hundred dollars, and the window was about three hundred and fifty to four hundred dollars,” Chambers says. “We’re coming up onto Columbia Heights day, we need to get brochures printed and there’s a lot that needs to happen. That’s seven or eight hundred dollars we don’t have now.”
Chambers says he reported the theft to police, but hasn’t heard if any arrests were made.
A spokesperson for D.C. Police was not available to provide more information about the crime.
In the time since the burglary occurred, the chunk of cement thrown by the burglar and the window it broke have both been turned into art installations on display at the gallery.
BloomBars will launch a crowdfunding campaign to recoup some its losses later this week, Chambers says.
Video via BloomBars
Ward 2 residents can frolic in a giant ball pit for free tomorrow morning.
From 9 to 11 a.m., residents of Councilmember Jack Evans’ ward can freely enter The BEACH, a National Building Museum (401 F Street NW) exhibit with nearly one million translucent plastic balls and a “shoreline” decked with beach chairs and tables.
Visitors are welcome to dive into the massive ball pit, play beach games like paddleball and bring a book to read in the beach furniture.
Attendees must show a valid form of I.D. at the admissions desk to enter the BEACH. Visitors must use the F Street entrance between 5th and 6th streets.
The event is part of the museum’s Ward Days series.
Photo via Flickr.com/NationalBuildingMuseum
More than 55 artists will set up shop at St. Stephen Incarnate (1525 Newton Street NW) in Columbia Heights this weekend as part of this year’s DC Zinefest.
Attendees will be able to view and buy small-press comics and zines from artists and creators from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Local artists in attendance will include Andrew Cohen, creator of Howzit Funnies, Fantom Comics manager Esther Kim, DC Conspiracy co-founder and DC Punk creator Evan Keeling and comic book journalist Josh Kramer.
The event is free to the public.
Photo via DC Zinefest
An art space will screen a looped compilation of short films all weekend near Farragut Square.
Films from artists James Huckenpahler, Marc Ganzglass, Sue Wrbican, Sean Watkins, Anne Smith, Justin Plakas, Rachel Debuque, Casey Smith, Kate Plourde and Colby Caldwell will be screened starting Friday at 7 p.m.
The premiere will include free popcorn and a discussion of the project with members of the collective.
Caitlin Berry, Associate Director of Hemphill Art Gallery, says the artists’ films are meant to “reflect on the analog creation of media in a now mostly digital age.”
Following the film premiere, the short films will be projected onto a wall behind a plywood recreation of the Early Bird, the world’s first commercial communications satellite.
The short films will be continuously looped inside the space, which is visible from the street, for the remainder of the weekend.
Image Courtesy of Hemphill Art Gallery
A mob of artists showed up yesterday and today to pay $15 to hang up to five pieces of art on the gallery’s walls.
Executive Artistic Director B. Stanley said the event regularly attracts up to 100 artists from around the District. This year was no exception.
Artists lined up outside the gallery door before the submission period yesterday, said Stanley.
“Everybody was trying to get the middle row. It was sort of like a race to the great frontier,” Stanley said.
Tomorrow night at 7 p.m., a group of judges will survey the art and award one artist with $100 and a a “Best Use of Space” superlative.
Artist Steve Wanna won top honors at last year’s show.
“As an experimental artist, it inspires to come up innovative ways of using the space,” said Wanna in an e-mail. “It’s the perfect lab to test out some ideas in a playful, encouraging space.”
The exhibition runs until Aug. 30.
Check the DC Arts Center website for details on attending the event and submitting your own artwork.
A new art gallery will open in the space formerly occupied by Gallery Plan B on July 18.
The new gallery will be located in the old Gallery Plan B space, across the street from the Studio Theatre at 1530 14th Street NW.
Former Gallery Plan B Director David Kalamar will be hired on to help manage the new location, confirmed Robert Brown of Robert Brown Gallery.
Nepture Fine Art owner Christine Neptune and Robert Brown will co-own the space.
Gallery Plan B owner Paula Amt announced the closure of her beloved 14th Street art space last Monday.
“We decided after the 10 year anniversary that it was time,” Amt told Borderstan. “Go out on a high note with good memories and accomplishments.”
Amt will not return to help with the new gallery.
The gallery’s first exhibit, “Summer Splash on 14th Street,” will run from July 18 until September 5 and feature artists Polly Apfelbaum, Donald Baechler, Ellsworth Kelly and Philip Taaffe.
Neptune Fine Art was founded in New York City in 2000, an focuses mainly on modern and contemporary art.
Robert Brown Gallery first opened in Georgetown in 1981. Over the years, Brown has exhibited artists such as Roger Ballen, Oleg Kudryashov, Sol Lewitt and David Nash.
Photo courtesy Gallery Neptune and Brown
Local artists now have one less place in which to hang their work.
Amt confirmed the closure earlier today via e-mail.
“We are closing, not moving,” said Amt. “Our last exhibition finished yesterday and we will be out of the space by the end of the month.”
“We decided after the 10 year anniversary that it was time,” added Amt. “Go out on a high note with good memories and accomplishments.”
The business, which opened a decade ago on the first floor of 1530 14th Street NW, had been a popular exhibition space for local photographers, painters and sculptors.
Amt said a new art-themed business would open in the space later this summer, but would not offer any additional details.
Photo via GalleryPlanB.com
K-9 Tragedy — Romo, the beloved bull mastiff/pit bull mix and unofficial mascot of Adams Morgan, is leaving the neighborhood for Arlington. [NBC Washington]
Red Onion Revival — Sadly, Romo wasn’t the only loss for the 18th Street area. Red Onion Records is leaving too; luckily, the popular record store is moving close by on U Street NW. [Borderstan]
Cool Map Bro — A couple of adventures in D.C. mapping today. First, a look at all the D.C. outdoor art projects throughout the city. [Bad Wolf DC]
Housing Legacy of Segregation — Our next map is more academic, and it’s worth a read. It focuses on the efforts of historians Sarah Shoenfeld and Mara Cherkasky as they document, block by block, the historical ramifications of segregation in the district. [Park View DC]
U Street is paying homage to american actor, singer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson with “Living Timeline,” a new mural currently in the works on the 1300 blocks of U Street NW.
ART B.L.O.C is an art collective founded by Cory Stowers. As reported by the Washington Post, the collective received a $50,000 city grant from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to paint the tribute on the side of the Hung Tao Choy Mei Leadership Institute at 1351 U Street NW. The work looks almost complete.
Currently, two large portraits of Robeson occupy the two opposite ends of the dark grey wall. Between them, a series of seven round vignettes depicting Robeson at various stages of his life are scattered throughout the wall.
Above the vignettes, passers-by can read a quote widely attributed to Robeson: “I make no distinction between my work as an artist and my life as a human being.” According to drawings and plans for the mural, the vignettes still need to be linked by a timeline, with important dates in the life of Robeson.
An interactive component of the mural will allow Washingtonians to scan a photo of the mural into an app on their phone to gain access to stories of the different stages of Robeson’s life included in the timeline.
My favorite is the last one, which depicts him in front of the Eiffel Tower, a reference to the trip he took to France to attend the Soviet Union-sponsored Paris Peace Conference.
This will be the second tribute to Paul Robeson in the city. “(Here I Stand) In the Spirit of Paul Robeson,” a public artwork by artist Allen Uzikee Nelson, can currently be seen at the intersection of Kansas Avenue and Georgia Avenue NW, in Petworth.
Laetitia Brock grew up in Paris and landed in D.C. to get her masters at George Washington University. During the day, she works for a trade association near Thomas Circle, but in the evening and on the weekends, she loves discovering new street art around town and exploring the district’s bustling restaurant scene. In addition to contributing to Borderstan, she writes about her favorite DC spots for the travel website Spotted by Locals, and on her own blog, FrenchTwistDC.
Follow her on twitter at @laetitiabrock.
Caped crusaders, local artists, and a smattering of celebrities packed the Walter E. Washington convention for Awesome Con last Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Ask one of the self-proclaimed geeks in attendance and they’ll all probably say the same thing: It was, well, awesome.
For many, the convention was a rare chance to embody a favorite character. Shaw and Foggy Bottom residents Andy Hill and Aaron Roenthal showed up as Street Fighter characters Guile and Zangief. Carlie Anne Peña, who lives in Columbia Heights, dressed as Jubilee from the X-Men.
“It’s my midlife crisis,” says Rich Willet from Sterling, Va. “Instead of buying a corvette, I bought a bat suit.”
For Matt Klokel, owner of Fantom Comics in Dupont Circle, Awesome Con is a yearly pilgrimage. “You can’t be a priest in the Catholic church and, when the pope comes to down, say, ‘eh, I’ll catch him later,'” he says. “This is why I got into comics. I love conventions.”
Local cartoonists Carolyn Belefski and Theresa Logan exhibited their work in artist alley. “It’s important to be here if you’re a D.C. area creator,” says Belefski, who illustrates and writes the webcomic Curls. “D.C. has a comic presence and it’s building heavily. Thanks to Awesome Con, we can have a bigger presence.”
“And it keeps growing,” adds Logan. “There are so many different cartoonists, comic artists, sequential artists here.”
But it wasn’t just comic book artists that showed up. One of the more heavily frequented booths belonged to the upcoming Museum of Science Fiction, where exhibitors set up an Oculus Rift so attendees could preview the museum in 3-D virtual reality.
“It’s D.C.’s Comic-Con,” says Museum of Science Fictions executive director, Greg Viggiano. “There is definitely a component of the museum that has a Comic-Con quality to it. On that basis, it’s pretty important that we be here.”
This week is all about the arts in DC, or it should be. Just yesterday was Arts Advocacy Day, a day dedicated to supporting and celebrating the arts. As previously posted, many organizations were a small piece of the day, but there is one that is mobilizing the efforts to encourage people in DC to do more to increase arts funding and garner additional support from law makers. DC Advocates for the Arts, a non-profit organization that exists to support public policy on the participation of the arts within the DC community at large, is one of them.
Recently, DC Advocates for the Arts has ramped up their mailings to entice people to give back to their cause, increasing arts funding, by writing to their local government officials, including the mayor. In this plea, it states the fundamental issue with the proposed mayoral budget or 2013;
“The mayor’s recently proposed budget cuts arts funding by $6 million dollars. The DC Arts Commission is amongst the smallest agencies in the city, and while some agencies could easily absorb a $6 million dollar cut, this would cut DC’s arts agency in half.”
The group is asking for additional funding to the tune of $11 million dollars, a sum we think should be obtainable. In order or this to happen though, lawmakers and DC will have to continue making the arts a priority. DC Advocates for the Arts also has a brand new website where you can find additional information about their efforts and how to write a letter of your own to support an increase in arts funding, click here for more details.
Bringing the Art in DC to You – Roxanne Goldberg
What can be better than art? Well, a local art bazaar. ArtJamz, that wonderful and creative place, will be hosting an Artz Bazaar, Sunday, April 14, from noon to 4 pm at its studio. ArtJamz recently moved to a new location at 1728 Connecticut Avenue NW. They will be showcasing the works of local professional artists.
“ArtJamz is more than just painting and drinking; we’re here to support the Washington DC metro arts scene,” said Chief Creative Enabler Michael M. Clements. “We feel we can do that by giving our team of ArtJamz Creative Enablers as well as local artists a chance to showcase and sell their work at our Dupont Studio.”
Pieces are priced between $35 and $500, but the event is free. Come early and meet the artists, listen to the music, enjoy the wine and beer and buy art.
From Allison Acosta. Email her at allison[AT]borderstan.com.
In the basement of the New Community Church at 6th and S Streets NW, ArtSpace DC has offered local residents from all walks of life the opportunity to develop their artistic talents for more than a decade.
ArtSpace’s mission is to act as a “conduit for personal and community expression, empowering participants to find their artistic voice, celebrate the beauty of the world that surrounds us and expose what needs to change with powerful visual statements.”
The church has served the Shaw community for nearly 30 years. In 1984, they purchased what was then an abandoned and dilapidated property on a block known for drug deals from the DC Government. With help from church members, neighbors, and Manna, a non-profit that renovates and builds affordable housing founded by the church’s leader, the Reverend Jim Dickerson, the property was restored and reopened to the community.
In 1999 Rachel Dickerson Brunswick, Dickerson’s daughter, returned to Washington, DC after studying the visual arts in college. Shaw community members, seeing how much their children enjoyed the arts in the church’s after school program, decided they wanted a space of their own to explore their creative sides. Artspace was opened, and volunteer artists have offered affordable classes to the community ever since.
“It really is a community-based setting, and I think that’s what appeals to a lot of people,” says Brunswick. “It’s a mix of people that we’ve always had. And the people that come around are really interesting. Everybody’s got a story.”
Maybelle Taylor Bennett has offered a popular fiber arts class from the very beginning, offering instruction in weaving on any of several looms as well as knitting and crochet. Artspace is also host to a ceramics class and offers students access to three electric potter’s wheels and a kick wheel, as well as a kiln. Artspace offers Open Studio nights on Mondays.
Spring classes are now forming. Artspace has recently added a black and white darkroom and a darkroom class begins March 21. The newest addition to the class schedule is a Toddler Open Studio Class for young children and their caregivers being offered Mondays at 10am starting April 1.
Volunteers and donations of art supplies are always welcome at ArtSpace. The space has hosted cooking classes and workshops, bookmaking classes, yoga classes, acoustic musical performances, art exhibitions, and movie screenings. You can sign up for a class of for the email list at dc.artspace[AT]gmail.com.
From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at eliza[AT]borderstan.com.
Museums, galleries and critics across the country are showcasing works by outsider artists, pulling the movement out of obscurity and into the mainstream.
Outsider art is art created by people without formal training who don’t consider themselves professionals and who operate outside the realm of the art world establishment.
It encompasses work by the mentally ill or the developmentally disabled and is often inspired by an artist’s own fantasy world or personal memories, but also by pop culture, religion and local subcultures. Outsider artists often use unconventional materials and found objects.
Now in its 21st year, the most recent annual “Outsider Art Fair” in New York received an “unprecedented amount of press coverage” and record-breaking attendance. The Philadelphia Museum of Art opened its “Great and Mighty Things” exhibit of outsider art earlier this month.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s recent acquisition of works by Mingering Mike should dispel any doubts that outsider art has found a place in the contemporary art historical canon. A recent Washington Post article details how the museum came to acquire the works, and gives as much information as possible on the person behind the Mingering Mike moniker.
Outsider art also features prominently in many spring museum exhibits and gallery openings here in DC.
“Mumbo Sauce,” curated by Lauren Gentile of Contemporary Wing and Bethesda native Roger Gastman, opens April 5 at an as yet undisclosed location. Gastman also curated the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s popular “Pump Me Up: D.C. Subculture of the 1980s” exhibit that features graffiti art by Cool “Disco” Dan, among others, posters, and ephemera from the 1980s DC musical sub-cultures. “Mumbo Sauce,” created “in response to” the Corcoran exhibit, includes pieces by Mingering Mike, Cool “Disco” Dan, BORF and others.
Art Enables, a non-profit that supports local artists with disabilities and that works to foster a wider appreciation of contemporary folk art, opened the “Glitterbomb” exhibit in its Off-Rhode Gallery on March 3. (Click here to view a slideshow of photos works from “Glitterbomb” on the Huffington Post.) All of the works in the exhibit come from Art Enable board member Paul Yandura’s personal collection. Programming for the exhibit includes a Gliteratti Party on Saturday, March 23, and a Collector’s Talk with Yandura on Wednesday, March 27.
The English-language term outsider art can be traced back to the concept of l’art brut. Jean Dubufett, one of three artists featured in “Angels, Demons, and Savages” at The Phillips Collection, was the first to use the term art brut and amassed a large collection of art brut works during his lifetime. A talk at The Phillips on March 28 will explore Dubuffet’s relation to art brut and its influence on his work.
- “Pump Me Up” at Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th Street NW, runs through April 7.
- “Glitterbomb” at Off-Rhode Gallery, 2204 Rhode Island Avenue NE, runs through March 29.
- “Mumbo Sauce” opens April 5 at an as yet undisclosed location.
From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at eliza[AT]borderstan.com.
From now through next Saturday, August 4, “Off the Wall: Established Contemporary,” is on view at Contemporary Wing, 1412 14th Street NW. The small, carefully curated showing at Contemporary Wing features work by some of the most well-known contemporary artists.
The show’s 10 works include pieces by Nan Golding, Kara Walker, Shinique Smith, Andy Warhol and Young British Artists Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. Lauren Gentile sourced the wide range of works from private collections in Washington, DC and New York City.
A print from Andy Warhol’s “Endangered Species” series and a Damien Hirst woodcut, “Quinaldi Acid,” serve as larger scale anchors for the group of mostly smaller pieces. The vivid cibachrome prints by Nan Goldin (like “Toon, So, and Yogo on Stage,” the image used in the marketing materials for the show) also serve as a visual touchstone, drawing the viewer into the worlds occupied by her subjects.
The two most diminutive works in the gallery — Kara Walker’s “Untitled, Swimmer,” a delicately rendered gouache on paper, and Tracey Emin’s “Untitled, Nude,” graphite on paper — offer more subtle but equally compelling visual experiences.
The next installment, “Off the Wall: Street Art,” will run from August 16 to 25 and will feature works by Shepard Fairey, Faile, Blek Le Rat, James Marshall (Dalek),WK Interact and Gary Baseman. The opening reception is Thursday, August 16, from 6 to 8 pm.