by Borderstan.com June 21, 2013 at 1:00 pm 0

From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at eliza[AT]borderstan.com.

Paintings by Alden Leonard, Jared Lauer and Lauren Jeffords. Images courtesy of Alden Leonard

Local artists Lauren Jeffords, Jared Lauer, and Alden Leonard will have a group show at Tabula Rasa on Capitol Hill this weekend.

The works will be on display to the public from 11:00 am to 3:30 pm Saturday, June 22 and Sunday, June 23. The pieces in the show incorporate classic, nostalgic summertime themes.

The three artists have been planning the show since January, and approached Tabula Rasa in March about hosting the show. “We were impressed by the space and [owner Amanda Clarke’s] flexibility.”

Clarke was enthusiastic about the show and the three artists’ collaborations. “I thought it was a great idea [for them] to come together as young artists.” Clarke added the she welcomes other local artists to approach her to use Tabula Rasa as a potential venue for their art.

Tabula Rasa, an event and meeting space that opened in May 2012, hosts many art openings in addition to pop-ups, corporate events, and private parties. The venue also recently started a partnership with ArtSee to display the works of young and emerging artists in the space for two weeks out of every month.

The Details:

  • What: Art Open House
  • When: Saturday, June 22, 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.; Sunday June 23, 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m
  • Where: Tabula Rasa, 731 8th Street SE, Washington, DC 20003

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by Borderstan.com June 4, 2013 at 2:00 pm 0

From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at eliza[AT]borderstan.com.

"Alden Leonard"

Alden Leonard. (Luis Gomez Photos)

DC-area native Alden Leonard’s first displayed his art professionally just two and a half years ago. Since then, the young artist, public relations professional, and Borderstan contributor continues to develop a distinctive artistic style while exploring varied themes and subject matter.

His interest in politics and self-professed “strong sense of loyalty” to D.C. have inspired him to portray the city and — its historical political figures — in many of his most memorable works to date.

However, Leonard doesn’t limit his paintings to the Capitol City, or to politics. Some of his recent works will be on display at Tabula Rasa in Capitol Hill, with an open house on June 22 and 23.

Borderstan: When did you first become interested in art, and what prompted you to dedicate more time to painting, in particular, in 2008?

Leonard: Actually I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in art. On road trips as a kid, I would go through a ream of printer paper every few hours, just drawing Ninja Turtles and Batman and that kind of thing.

Leonard: I studied painting and drawing in high school and college, but it was really after graduating that I began to explore artistically. I think the structure of school made it hard for me to create — I was always reacting to an assignment, not really making something new. It also probably didn’t help that I majored in [political science].

Borderstan: How did your first show in 2010 at Philip Morton Gallery in Delaware come to be? What about that experience motivated you to pursue your art further?

Leonard: As my portfolio grew, I began looking for a gallery to hang my work. A lot of my subject matter at the time was from Rehoboth Beach, so I approached a few galleries in town and signed with Philip Morton Gallery in late 2010. Looking back, I feel lucky to have found a gallery that is understanding of my artistic exploration and flexible as my style changes (and my canvasses grow).

Borderstan: Describe how your artistic style has evolved into what you call “energetic impressionism”? How do you blend realist style with more expressive techniques?

Leonard: My technique is always evolving, and I think I like it that way. I am a representative painter at heart — I depict things so they are easily recognizable and “true-to-form” — but I will always be re-evaluating what that means.

A few years ago I was making loose, painterly pieces (I called it “energetic impressionism”) that gave interesting but very literal results. At that time I wanted my art to look just like its source photo, and over the course of a few years I was able achieve that result consistently. I’m proud of this, but I also felt the need to push my boundaries. So, recently I have been painting scenes and subjects less literally, but with more emotion and mood. I am less concerned with action and movement, and more focused on feelings like nostalgia and calmness.

Although these new scenes are quite still, I think the paintings maintain a lot of the energy of my older works because of the experimentation behind them. I still mostly work in oil, but have also delved into mixed media and acrylic. One piece, “Ladies of the Beach,” I re-worked probably 10 times. It took almost a year in total, and I think you can tell by looking at it how much I cared to get it exactly right. So this newer stuff has an excitement that I think may have been lacking in some of the paintings from my last “phase.”

Borderstan: You have some formal training in art, but also describe yourself as self-taught. How have these two different learning experiences influenced your artistic approach?

Leonard:I would be nowhere without the teachings of two professors — Susan Pollard at Saint Stephens and Saint Agnes School in Alexandria, Virginia and Nicole McCormick Santiago at The College of William & Mary. Each taught me focus, patience, and a few sleights of hand with the brush and pencil. I think of them often when I paint.

Still, a great deal of my artistic growth has taken place on my own since graduation. Learning this way has its drawbacks – criticism and praise from others give the artistic process a nice safety net — but it also provides me a lot of freedom.

My growth as an artist in recent years has also been helped along by the emergence of self-published artists and their blogs. This resource wasn’t around a decade ago, and provides green artists like me an important new channel of inspiration, reference and guidance, as well as a place to show new work.

Borderstan: Please tell me about any upcoming exhibitions, projects, series, or artistic endeavors. For example, I know you don’t focus on one overarching theme in your work, but have you been exploring most recently with your art? 

Leonard: Next month I’m putting on a show with two fellow DC artists at Tabula Rasa on Barracks Row. We each represent different styles of painting, and I think our portfolios are going to work really nicely together. The pieces I will hang are from my work over the last year, all of which deal with this nostalgic summer subject matter. Family vacations, tennis, and the like.

The show has open houses Saturday, June 22, and Sunday, June 23, from 11 am to 3 pm. Please come by!

Borderstan: Despite having lived in many different places, you consider DC to be your hometown. Did you grow up in the city? When did you develop your “artistic fixation” on the city, and do you plan to continue exploring the city and its political figures in your work?

Leonard:I did most of my growing up across the river in Alexandria, so the DC skyline is one I know well. I find it comforting and regal, and I find a lot of people — whether they’re natives like me or just summer transplants — feel the same way. DC, despite its imperfections, inspires a very strong sense of loyalty, and my art often reflects that.

The same goes for the politician portraits. These are flawed individuals with checkered pasts, yet people adore them. Seriously —  I’ve had two people commission portraits of Richard Nixon. I’m always pleased with how well that loose painting style conveys these spotty histories, while still being flattering, truthful portraits of noted Americans (and one British).

"Alden Leonard"

Alden Leonard’s Studio. (Luis Gomez Photos)

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by Borderstan.com May 14, 2013 at 2:00 pm 0

"Smith"

Artist Sean Smith. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at eliza[AT]borderstan.com.

Photographer Sean Smith has lived and worked in DC since 1993. “There is no where I would rather be,” he says.

Although not a full time artist, Smith still makes time to pursue his art professionally. He works remotely as an executive for a New York-based software company. This gives him some flexibility in structuring his work schedule so that he has time to fully pursue his fine art photography.

Smith’s work is currently on display in an exhibition with Dafna Steinberg at doris-mae gallery challenge ideas of gender stereotypes and fixed gender identity, Smith says he has addressed these themes throughout his artistic career, for “[a]s long as I’ve struggled with those issues–my whole adult life.”

Smith explores concepts of identity and existence beyond issues of gender and sexuality. “Fundamentally my work is about creating an alternate reality or alternate personal history. By tampering with ‘what is,'” adds Smith, “I document what could be or what could have been.” In order to alter the viewer’s perception of reality, Smith frequently uses digital technology, including Adobe PhotoShop, Instagram, and other applications, to manipulate the images he captures.

After earning his BFA, Smith worked as an assistant for the Italian painter Bruno Ceccobelli. “[H]e taught me many things, most of all that if you want to be a successful artist you need to pursue relentlessly–I have not done that–I am far too playful for that,” Smith says. Smith “dabble[s] in many media,” but considers all of his work to be “photographic and deeply personal at its core.” The artist cites Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Cornell, Karl Schwitters, Cecil Beaton, Pierre et Gilles and many commercial photographers among his diverse artistic influences.

Recently, Smith has delved deeper into portraiture. At the end of 2012, a solo show at Georgetown’s Archer featured a series of photography portraits taken during the course of the year. “Since then,” he has “…worked on some commission portraits, many of which…[he] had hand painted in oil on china to create the finished piece.” Smith will complete a portrait lighting workshop in New York this summer to further develop his skills. He plans to begin a new portrait series after the course, and also pursue more collage work.

Smith’s work is on view through May 19 at doris-mae. Look for more of his photography portraits and collages at galleries around town in the coming months.

"Smith"

Sean Smith’s work. (Luis Gomez Photos)

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by Borderstan.com April 24, 2013 at 11:00 am 0

"Torra"

Michael Torra at his studio. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Cecile Oreste of danceDCYou can follower her on Twitter @dance_DC.

Local artist Michael Torra’s life is centered around the Borderstan area. His first apartment was a studio on R Street NW, and he has lived in Dupont Circle since he moved to the District more than 15 years ago. Inevitably, the shapes and colors of the neighborhood have made their way into his paintings.

Cityscapes from the Rooftop

The most obvious influence can be seen in Torra’s cityscape series, which portrays the skylines of his rooftop views. His surroundings have also had a more subtle influence in the work of his sun series.

“I knew I wanted to create some sort of abstraction of the sun as a vehicle for playing with yellows and oranges,” he said. “As I thought about how I would structure the piece, I finally figured it out one day walking past the fountain in the Circle, looking at the ground and how the slabs of the concrete under my feet were shaped. I ended up basing the geometric structure of those paintings off the shapes of those concrete slabs.”

Painting has been a passion of Torra’s since he moved to the area, but it wasn’t his first creative interest.

“At college in Los Angeles I took a lot of art classes, all in sculpture, until my senior year when it dawned on me that after I graduated, I wouldn’t be able to afford welding torches, band saws and all the other equipment I had access to as a student,” he said. He decided to take a painting class and immediately fell in love. Torra admits it took a while to develop his own style of painting, but classes at The Art League in Alexandria helped him establish his voice — creating abstract and non-representational works that balance form and color.

East Coast and West Coast

Torra has lived on both the West Coast, in Los Angeles, and the East Coast, just outside of Boston, Mass. Although he thought he would eventually return to his native California, he ended up calling the District home after moving to the Dupont Circle neighborhood in 1998. Like many DC transplants, Torra sought and eventually reached his goal of working on Capitol Hill. After a decade long career in politics, he joined a public affairs firm where he works with progressive organizations. According to Torra, his day job not only allows him to work on causes he cares about, but gives him the flexibility to work on his artistic endeavors.

Torra has previously participated in DC’s biggest creative event Artomatic, as well as ArtRomp, a curated group show at the Warehouse in Washington, DC. He will have two pieces in the upcoming group show at Art17 at Coldwell Banker (1606 17th Street NW) and will be participating in the Mid City Artists’ Open Studios May 18 and 19. For more information about Torra, please visit his website michaeltorra.com.

"Torra"

Artist Michael Torra and his work. (Luis Gomez Photos)

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by Borderstan.com February 15, 2013 at 11:00 am 0

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

"Market"

The Loving Market will take place at Epic Yoga near Dupont Circle at 1323 Connecticut Avenue NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

The Loving Market will take place this Saturday, February 16, at Epic Yoga (1323 Connecticut Avenue NW) and will feature a daytime pop-up shop, silent auction, art exhibit, panel discussion, craft-making activity and evening cocktail reception.

The event will benefit DC nonprofits dedicated to love-themed causes, including sex workers’ health and freedom from domestic violence. Proceeds raised will go to Becky’s Fund, HIPS and Break the Cycle.

The Loving Market Schedule of Events

All events will take place at Epic Yoga:

  • Pop-Up Shop & Art Auction, 10 am to 5 pm. Free and open to the public.
  • Panel Discussion, 2 to 2:45 pm, Free and open to the public.
  • Letter Writing & Postcard-Making Workshop, noon to 3 pm, Free and open to the public; kid-friendly.
  • Cocktail Reception & Music, 6 to 8 pm. $20, ages 21 and up. Please RSVP.

Artists in Auction

The online and in-person auction will offer pieces and products from local artists and artisans, including:

  • Dafna Steinberg
  • Elisa Rafter
  • Emily Greene Liddle
  • Gregg Deal
  • Greg Slade
  • Jack Labadie
  • J’Nell Jordan
  • Julian Lytle
  • Paul Mericle
  • Superwaxx

Other local vendors will also contribute food, products and services to the event. Those who can’t make it to the event can still participate in the auction online. For more information, visit The Loving Market’s website.

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by Borderstan.com December 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm 1,008 0

It was a great year for Borderstan artists. During 2012, Borderstan’s Eliza French interviewed 11 of the creative talents in the neighborhood. Painting, sculpture, photography, graffiti, you name it, all were represented in a gallery of very talented artists who live and work in the area.

Scott G. Brooks: A Local Artist with an International Reach

Scott G. Brooks has been living and working in the DC area since moving here from Flint, Michigan in 1990. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts at University of Michigan in 1983, and considers himself “lucky” to know he wanted to be an artist from an early age. Although he has primarily worked in the world of painting and fine art over the past ten years, he also works as a children’s book illustrator and works in animation, graphic design and drawing.

Lucinda Murphy Merges Scientific Exploration and Artistic Expression

Lucinda Murphy explores profound scientific questions within the finite boundaries of her canvases. As an artist, she grapples with questions such as,”Where does energy originate and how does it convert to matter and back?” and “What is the difference between environment and entity?” Most recently, she has been addressing a question more familiar within the artistic realm — the disparities between what an object actually is and how we perceive it. As Murphy explains, “An object must ‘look’ very different depending on what is ‘seeing’ it… Right now I am trying to visualize what it means that we can only find 10 percent of our universe.”

Mark Parascandola Tells a New Story Using Forgotten Settings

Parascandola sought to capture this particular location in his native country because of its unique history as a set for several popular movies during the 1960s and 1970s. Filmmakers transformed the blank slate of the desert into America, Egypt, and everywhere in between for movies such as The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, Patton, and Cleopatra. Remnants of various fictional settings still remain scattered throughout the landscape, and Parascandola captures the transformative power still lingering in these ruins.

Sondra Arkin’s “Pattern Transformation” Opens Thursday at Long View Gallery

Arkin is not only a painter, but also a curator who experiments with printmaking, sculpture and assemblage. She previously aspired to be a poet with degrees in both Writing and Literature, and later used her education to run the creative department of a marketing agency. Arkin played multiple instruments during her college years and continues to enjoy a variety of performing arts including theater, dance and poetry, making the Borderstan area an ideal place to live. “I can’t believe how lucky I am to live and work in Dupont.

Betto Ortiz: A Travel Photographer on His Artistic Journey

Local photographer Betto Ortiz has avidly photographed everything around him from a young age. He approached photography as a hobby and began to document his travels through the medium as a young adult. The Colombian artist exhibited his first show in 2003 and, ever since then, he has been pursuing photography professionally as an artist and travel photographer. Borderstan asked Ortiz about his evolution as an artist, his photographic style, and how living and working in DC has influenced him.

Miguel Perez Lem: An International Artist with an Eclectic Approach

An environmentalist who emphasizes the productive aspects of art, he frequently salvages old canvases and repurposes old furniture and found objects. His works in progress–from chairs and lamps to oil paintings and charcoal drawings– surround the space. Quotes from well-known artists in their native languages are inscribed on the floor. Glass cases filled with Lem’s small collections of objects, such as antique cameras, line the walls.

Carl Amt: Diverse Inspirations and An Enduring Collaboration

Inspired by the legacy of modern artists like Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol, Carl Amt combines words and text to produce works that function as social commentary. Citing a range of influences from Shepard Fairey to Robert Rauschenberg, Amt also incorporates elements of the street art aesthetic in his work and experiments with textural applications, such as applying candle wax to the canvas. Amt is an art collector, as well, with a special focus on New York-based street artists.

Michael D. Crossett: Approachable Art with Design in Mind

As a child in a military family, by the time he was in high school, Michael D. Crossett had lived in Hawaii, Japan, Pennsylvania, Alabama and Virginia. These drastically different cultural influences shaped his point of view and his artistic eye. In particular, he has incorporated characteristics of the Japanese aesthetic — the highly designed nature of everyday objects, the bright colors, and bold patterns. The graphic appeal and immediacy of these elements still drives his approach today.

Sally Kauffman: Reviving her Career with New Media

After taking a 20-year hiatus from her work as an artist, Sally Kauffman is reviving her career and finding camaraderie among the Mid City Artists in her studio adjacent to the Harmon Art Lab. Photography has heavily influenced her work, and recently she has drawn inspiration from her day job as a digital user experience designer.

Aniekan Udofia and the Fulfillment of Public Art

Aniekan Udofia moved back to DC to pursue a career as an artist after living in Nigeria for most of his life. As a young man, he worked mostly in colored pencil and pen illustration. He remembers studying the technique of an artist in his Nigerian village of Uwo and trying to master his style. He would also look at the political caricatures in newspapers and studying how the image mimicked the editorial content. Not surprisingly, Udofia tries to incorporate an element of social commentary in his art.

Kreg D. Kelley: Taking a Risk and Sharing the Reward

Kreg D. Kelley came to DC from Connecticut to study political science at George Washington University and pursue a career in politics. Before graduation, he changed his goals and decided he “wanted to do something…I loved, something I would want to do for the rest of…my life.” For Kelley, that “something” was art. Before he graduated, Kelley left George Washington to take a job at Galerie Lareuse in Georgetown, “an opportunity…I couldn’t refuse.”

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by Borderstan.com October 4, 2012 at 5:00 pm 1,218 0

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

"art"

Work by Ismael Wodzianski. (Courtesy (e)merge Art Fair)

This weekend is the highly anticipated (e)merge Art Fair, a four-day-long event that celebrates international and underrepresented art from more than 152 artists hailing from 24 countries.

The 2012 fair will take place October 4th through 7th at the Capitol Skyline Hotel (10 I Street SW), and will feature new works in performance, installation, painting, sculpture, video and other media, as well as panel discussions with art experts and professionals.

(e)merge kicks off on Thursday, October 4 with a preview from 7 until 9 pm, followed by a concert by the hotel’s pool from 9 until 11 pm with Eric Hilton of Thievery Corporation DJ Set. Tickets to Thursday’s festivities are $45 in advance and $60 at the door.

The fair is open to the public on Friday, October 5 from noon until 7 pm; on Saturday, October 6 from noon until 7 pm; and on Sunday, October 7 from noon until 5 pm. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online.

For more information on (e)merge, visit the website.

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by Borderstan.com September 17, 2012 at 3:00 pm 1,222 0

"17th Street Festival"

Brian Petro is one local artist exhibiting his work at this year’s 17th Street Festival this Saturday, September 22. (Rachel Nania)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

One major component of this Saturday’s third annual 17th Street Festival is the festival’s yearly Art Show, which covers two street blocks and features the work of 50-plus local artists. The collection of exhibited art ranges from pottery to photography and even body paint.

There is even a sneak preview this Friday, September 21, at Century 21, 17th and Q NW –with six artists, live music and food from 6 to 9 pm. On Friday, September 21, catch the art work of Nataliya Andreyeva, Shaun Rabah, Dana Rene, Al Pellenberg, Jost Houk and Susanne Kasielke. Andrew Grossman will even be on-hand to provide live music to attendees.

The 17th Street Festival take place on Saturday, September 22 from noon until 6 pm. In addition to art, the festival includes musical performances, a pet zone, a kids zone, exposure for non-profit groups and appearances by city officials to celebrate the community and businesses.

The festival is planned by the Urban Neighborhood Alliance (UNA), which brings businesses and residents together to develop innovative solutions to community challenges. Additional details are available on the organization’s website.

Borderstan.com is proud to be among this year’s festival sponsors –check out the list of 2012 sponsors.

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by Borderstan.com September 6, 2012 at 5:00 pm 0

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

"Hillyer"

Hillyer Art Space. (Borderstan)

On Saturday, September 8, Hillyer Art Space (9 Hillyer Court NW) will abandon its daily gallery façade and transform into a unique art market, featuring the work of more than 20 local artists.

At the “Back to School Artisan’s Bazaar” locally produced clothing, fine art, ceramics, glassware, home décor, accessories and photography, etc. will be sold for under $100.

The Artisan’s Bazaar runs from 2 until 6 pm; admission to the event is free and open to the public. More information is available on the event’s Facebook page. Where exactly is Hillyer Court? Find it on Google Maps.

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by Borderstan.com August 14, 2012 at 10:00 am 1,701 0

"Dafna Steinberg"

Dafna Steinberg at her studio. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Rachel Nania and Luis Gomez.

Local artist-photographer, Dafna Steinberg was seven when she received her first camera – and she hasn’t stopped snapping pictures since.

The DC native and U Street resident finds inspiration for her art in everything – including her art-driven childhood, her neighborhood and DC’s arts community.

“My mother would take me to museums and galleries all over,” said Steinberg. “In fact, she was the one that gave me my first camera.”

After discovering the darkroom at age 13, Steinberg knew she wanted to pursue photography.

“I think it was the photographic process [that captured me],” said Steinberg. “From taking the photo on film, to developing it and then printing it – it’s like magic.”

Steinberg’s photographic art has evolved over the years; these days, she is very involved with mixed media and collage.

“Collage is a different creative process all together, but it still holds a sense of magic,” explained the artist. “It’s taking bits and pieces of my images or other found images and turning them into something new and interesting.”

Living in DC has propelled Steinberg’s creative drive and has given the artist opportunities she never imagined having. Steinberg shares a studio space close to her apartment with six other DC-based artists.

“It’s like having my own little art community,” said Steinberg, who also mentioned that she appreciates the constant feedback from her studio-mates.

In addition to creating her own art and staying active in DC’s art community, Steinberg finds and sells vintage clothes and accessories at DC Flea, a monthly pop up vintage market, of which she is a co-founder. In her spare time, she also boxes, tweets and drinks lots and lots of coffee.

Steinberg is currently working on a project about food culture and emotional eating. The project will result in an installation and performance sometime next year at Doris Mae, a gallery opening up on 14th Street.

As part of the project, Steinberg started a blog called “Eat What I Feel” where she collects photos of people eating food and their experience of eating.

For more information on the artist, visit her website: www.dafnasteinberg.com.

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by Borderstan.com July 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm 1,094 0

Local artists and vendors exhibit at the 2011 17th Street Festival. (Borderstan)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

See photos from the 2011 17th Street Festival.

Local artists and vendors are an integral part of the Annual 17th Street Festival. So if you are a DC-based artist, establishment or business, don’t miss your opportunity to showcase your work to over 10,000 participants at this year’s event.

Organizers of the third annual neighborhood celebration are currently seeking artists and vendors to participate in the Festival. The 2012 17th Street Festival will take place on Saturday, September 22 from noon until 6 pm.

Interested? Local artists should fill out the Artist Application on the website by September 1. Businesses and organizations wishing to participate in this year’s Festival are also encouraged to complete the Vendor Application onlineby September 9.

"2012 17th Street Festival"

The 2012 Festival is Saturday, September 22 on the 17th Street corridor. (Courtesy of Festival)

The cost for a 10’x10′ booth is $100, including a tent. For more information, visit the festival website or email stephen[AT]17thstreetfestival.org. The festival is organized by the Urban Neighborhood Alliance and all proceeds from the festival go toward 17th Street projects and next year’s festival.

The day-long celebration includes live musical performances, artist vendors, a pet zone, a kids zone, exposure for non-profit groups and appearances by city officials to celebrate the community and businesses.

Borderstan.com will again be among the sponsors of the 17th Street Festival.

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by Borderstan.com June 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm 1,094 0

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com

True to its name, U Street’s Local 16 is a neighborhood restaurant focused on sourcing from, and serving, the local community. And this coming Wednesday is no different… Only, instead of local food, Local 16 will showcase local art.

"Local 16"

DC artist Garth Fry will be featured at Local 16, 1602 U Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

On June 6, join Local 16 and ArtSeeDC, a District-based business that promotes local artists, for a happy hour to celebrate the work of DC artist, Garth Fry. The happy hour for Garth Fry is from 6 to 8 pm. For more information, visit the ArtSeeDC website.

Fry has exhibited in several locations and galleries throughout the greater DC area. Through his continual experimentation with various printmaking techniques, Fry recently developed a more sculptural means of capturing his imagery. He uses coiled paper and glue to create familiar patterns and forms that survey the psychology of isolation.

Fry’s Local 16 exhibit is the first in a new series of monthly artist showcases with ArtSeeDC and the U Street restaurant. Future artist happy hours are scheduled for July 11, August 8 and September 12.

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by Borderstan.com May 29, 2012 at 2:00 pm 1,517 0

"Connecticut Avenue"

Artists are wanted to help illuminate Connecticut Avenue. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

Imagine walking down Connecticut Avenue, just south of Dupont Circle, and enjoying four blocks of luscious green space filled with flowers, tress, bushes and… art installations.

That image is just what the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) and the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (GTBID) hope to achieve through their “Lighting Connecticut Avenue” contest.

Interested artists should have experience in public art and/or exterior lighting design; the total budget for the commissioned project is $190,000. The deadline for the application is Friday, June 22 at 5 pm; the winning artist will be announced on Friday, June 27.

The two organizations are currently in the process of installing four blocks of a new, wide median along the downtown section of Connecticut Avenue from K Street to Jefferson Place NW. To accessorize this median, the groups are seeking a local artist or art team to design and install a permanent light installation that will sit amongst the greenery and gardens.

Artists: Draw on your Capital-inspiration. Submissions should engage the public and create a unique and dynamic interpretation of the Connecticut Avenue/Golden Triangle space.

The light installation (which will have access to electrical power at each block in the median) must be secure, durable and weather resistant. Furthermore, artists must provide an effective strategy for programming the lighting for various seasonal events.

Details and applications are available online.

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by Borderstan.com May 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm 0

By Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at michellel[AT]borderstan.com.

Before I die chalk board

The "Before I die" chalkboard is at 14th and Q Streets NW. (M. Rhoades)

So much of the local news focuses on various problems — budget shortfalls, corruption, delays and systemic breakdowns. So it is worth the five minutes of your time to check out this Washington Post piece on the “Before I die” chalkboard art project in Logan Circle (get more info on their DC project website.)

Better yet, head over to the northwest corner of 14th and Q Streets NW and check it out yourself. It’s on a wooden construction wall around the old Italian Shirt Laundry, which is in the process of becoming a French Bistro.

The chalkboard is now filled (overflowing, in fact — chalk wishes now spill over from board to wall) with the funny, sweet, sad, uplifting and trivial wishes of your neighbors. They want to fall in love, travel, be happy, give back to others… and bathe in an ocean of buttermilk. Yep, you read that right.

The chalkboard came to DC out of a man’s desire to pay tribute to his grandmother through a giving circle, a local resident who wanted to create something uplifting and an artist who originated the concept in New Orleans.

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by Borderstan.com April 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm 1,573 0

"Aniekan Udofia" "Borderstan""U Street NW"

Aniekan Udofia at the corner of 15th and U Streets NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at eliza[AT]borderstan.com.

Aniekan Udofia moved back to DC to pursue a career as an artist after living in Nigeria for most of his life.

As a young man, he worked mostly in colored pencil and pen illustration. He remembers studying the technique of an artist in his Nigerian village of Uwo and trying to master his style. He would also look at the political caricatures in newspapers and studying how the image mimicked the editorial content. Not surprisingly, Udofia tries to incorporate an element of social commentary in his art.

At the beginning of his career, Udofia worked mostly as an illustrator for magazines. His other early works were mostly hip-hop portraits that translated lyrics into images. He got his big break in 2005, when he and over 20 other artists were commissioned to work on an advertorial mural for the TLC show, “Miami Ink.”

The payment from the commission made him realize he could finally turn art into a viable career.

U and 15th Streets NW Street Mural of George Washington. (Luis Gomez Photos)

He continued to work on a large-scale projects and made a name for himself in the local arts scene working on public art murals, like the George Washington mural at 15th and U Streets NW and the Duke Ellington at 2121 Ward Court NW.

Udofia finds these public works fulfilling because of the opportunity for feedback from the neighborhood about his work. Passers-by can see the painting process, ask questions and interact with the artist and the work. For him, the high visibility for these murals is  “refreshing.”

Udofia says that securing offers for these murals has been more that just luck.

After he moved to the area, he “was immediately attracted to the art community.” He started building a circle of friends when he was out at events or even just playing basketball in the park. “Since then, same people and same circle have been helpful in getting jobs. …Over the years building the relationship has been great for me.”

Earlier this year, Udofia exhibited his works in a solo show, “The Village B-boy” at Lamont Bishop Gallery. His latest project is “The Sickness,” a series that deals with different issues important to the artist. Currently, in “The Sickness 4: Reloaded,” Udofia is trying to “study the mind and how it works” when confronted with “violence, motivation, inspiration,” etc., and so on. Udofia also hopes to combine works from past works and series in a comprehensive exhibit.

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