From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at eliza[AT]borderstan.com.
A month-long show featuring 13 Mid City Artists opens Thursday, May 2 at Art17. The show highlights works by several Borderstan artists, including Scott Brooks, Michael Crossett, Gary Fisher, Sally Kauffman, Miguel Perez Lem, Eileen Lyons, Regina Miele, Lucinda Murphy, Brian Petro, Ron Riley, Marie Ringwald, Michael Torra and Robert Weiner.
Since Mid City Artists was founded in 2010, the group has exhibited and hosted open studios at Art17. The space, at Coldwell Banker Dupont, has been dedicated to displaying the art of DC artist for more than 10 years. Most recently, Kevin Duffie, who owns the real estate company’s 17th Street location, asked featured Mid City artist to be the curator of Art17.
While kicking of the spring art season at Art17 and the new collaboration between Michael Petro and Art17, the show also previews the Mid City Artists’ spring open studios. The upcoming open studios weekend will take place May 17-18 at the artists’ studios around Borderstan.
- What: Art17’s Spring Art Season show featuring Mid City Artists.
- When: Opening 6 to 8 pm, Thursday, May 2; exhibit on view throughout May.
- Where: Art17 at Coldwell Banker Dupont, 1606 17th Street NW.
From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at eliza[AT]borderstan.com.
Axis Salon is hosting an open house for a small show by Dave Peterson, a local artist, photographer and designer on January 24 from 7 to 9 pm. Peterson first exhibited at the salon in 2011 at the request of Joe Ireland, whose interior design company, J.D. Ireland is housed above the salon and who creates Axis Salon’s window displays.
“It’s a great venue for my work,” says Peterson, “The windows are a real focal point on that block, and the salon has an amazing staff and clientele. When I was asked to do it again, I jumped at the chance.
Peterson started his own art and design company, branddave, in 2008. He had been drawing and working in design since graduation college and co-founded and created the artwork for Be As You Are, an apparel company. Peterson has ” felt really, really blessed” for the “great reception” branddave has received thus far. “It’s so rewarding to have a show, and hear people laughing, and pointing things out to their friends. That is the best feeling, and makes all those angst filled days of drawing, frustration, and self doubt worth it!”
He also had a long-standing interest in men’s fashion photography. “When I started branddave, I was just all about having fun, and doing things I really enjoyed, and letting that take me along.,” explains Peterson, “So I drew a lot, started screen printing on wood, and taking pictures. And as I developed my website and my portfolio, I’ve just kept up with these three things.
Peterson describes both his drawing and photography style as “freestlye.” Rather than careful planning or staging Peterson “tend[s] to draw the same thing (and take very similar shots) over and over, just trying to get that one perfect moment.”
The same holds true for his screen printing “I never know how something will turn out until it’s finished. Especially on wood – [a] very unpredictable surface unlike paper. ” Although it does take a certain amount planning and preparation, for Peterson there is always an element of “surprise when it works and I’m happy with it. ”
The hardest part of running his own business based on his art has been propelling himself forward. “I have a big to-do list associated with pursuing new venues to sell, and growing the business. I much prefer the making to the promoting and selling. I have been really lucky in that opportunities just seem to come along…. But I know I can’t depend on that if I want to grow.”
He has several partnerships with local businesses and others in the art community. Branddave is a sponsor of D.C. musician Tom Goss, and Peterson also illustrated for the much-loved storytelling group SpeakEasy DC. Much of this work is commission-based
Instead of showing his art in galleries, Peterson, so far, prefers non-traditional venues like the hair salon and casual food shops, like Dolcezza and Buzz Bakery. “I really like these venues because they give me great visibility and are flexible. They are unique because people come in often, so they see the work over and over. And most of the time I handle sales directly, so it’s a win-win for both of us”
The show opening this Thursday at Axis Salon will be up for six weeks. Peterson also has ongoing shows at Buzz Bakery in Virginia and TROHV stores in Takoma Park and Baltimore. Peterson is also a member of Mid City Artists, and his studio is on 14th Street.
This year was a successful year in the DC art world, but just as, if not more successful for the artists of our beloved Borderstan. Here’s a look back at some of the highlights and looking forward, places/people that we hope will repeat their success in 2013!
Contemporary Wing started this year off with bang and officially opened their 14th Street location. BRAVO! They opened the year with the Next Generation show, a collection of work by artists chosen by those artists that participated in the 30 Americans show at the Corcoran. It was an incredible first show for the gallery that took over the Irvine Contemporary space in the prime Logan Circle Location.
As we have previously reported, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty shook up the gallery scene by bringing art to the walls of their 14th Street office space. In 2012 the realty experts showcased three emerging artists; Joel D’Orazio, Blair Sutton and now featuring Mark Parascandola. They will continue to show artwork in the year to come and hope to engage the local community through art.
As in year’s past, the 17th Street Festival was full of some of the area’s most eager and talented artists. In addition to the live music, talent and the pet and kid zones, artists were once again given the chance to show their work in a fun and fresh way. Many local artists consider the festival a great opportunity to sell their affordable work. In its third year, the festival featured over 50 different artists, which we hope will continue to grow in the year to come.
Our favorite group of local artists that either live and/or work in Borderstan is the Mid City Artists. This year they hosted two very successful studio tours, giving the community an opportunity to travel to and browse the work of these incredible artists in their working space. The studios of these artists span the Borderstan region but it is well worth the walk. In addition to getting the opportunity to speak to these talented creatives, you never know what kind of hidden gems can be found in their studios.
“Call Collect” at Hamiltonian was a smashing success giving 100 artists a three week-long exhibition opportunity. Participating artists were pulled from throughout DC’s four corners and featured those chosen by the Hamiltonian’s most esteemed fellows. The show was capped off with the Call Collect Benefit, which auctioned off the work in the show, with the twist that you were allowed to select your work in the order in which you purchased your ticket. So creative (and successful)!
Last but certainly not least, Transformer was able to end their year with their annual live auction and benefit party. The event, hosted at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, was a great accomplishment with over 160 artists participating and a party that was not to be missed. The true STAR of the show was performance artist, Armando López-Bircann, who shined brighter than any diamond in the room!
I certainly thank and applaud our Borderstan community for giving us so much to look at and experience in the last year. Here is to an even more successful and art filled 2013 ahead!
From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at eliza[AT]borderstan.com.
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.”
Murphy didn’t always have such a coherent vision and clear focus as an artist. In fact, she didn’t go to art school until she was 40. Before becoming a full-time artist, Murphy worked as a landscape architect for 20 years During the first 12 years of her career as an artist, she focused on traditional still life, landscape and other figurative depiction before realizing that “the unanswered questions about the evolution of our universe and us” interested her the most.
Murphy spent most of her life in DC. Her family has been in the city since her great-grandmother moved to Dupont Circle, and Murphy has lived within the neighborhood with her husband since 1976. She has a studio on Florida Avenue NW and also recently started working at a studio in Delaware, where the larger space allows her to work on eight- and nine-foot canvases.
Murphy works primary in paint in collage. She also works with different applications, like needle pens that let her “draw” with the paint and black roofing paper, which she uses as a background that mimics the blackness of most of matter in the universe. In her collage works, Murphy says, she can reveal the underlying importance of layers.
Aside from science, Murphy also draws inspiration from living and studying art abroad. She has lived in Geneva, Switzerland; Beirut, Lebanon; Guadalajara, Mexico; Olomuz, Czechoslovakia; and Xiamen, China. Each place left its on distinctive impression on her artistic style.
Despite her extensive travels, Murphy says that “living and studying in Washington has been the best gift of all.” She cites the easy access to rich resources like the Smithsonian museums and the Phillips Collection, and the local institutions such as the Corcoran College of Art and Design and American University as among the many advantages of being an artist in DC.
“Pattern Transformation: new work by Sondra N. Arkin” opens at Long View Gallery this Thursday, August 23 with a reception from 6:30 to 8 pm. The solo exhibition features Arkin’s encaustic paintings, which have been taken to the next level with the use of shellac and walnut ink. Arkin, who is a founding member of Mid City Artists and currently a Dupont Circle resident, wanted to explore sets of patterns and see how they would transform each other as she worked through the creation of the art. “Happily or sadly (I can’t decide which), the permutations are practically infinite. It might be overwhelming to some people; but to me, the variety and the similarities continue to draw me into the artwork,” she said.
On the other hand, viewers are likely to relate to Arkin’s paintings which are open for interpretation. “My life in an urban area is fluid with my personal philosophy that there is always more than one way of doing anything; and as a community, we agree on a common direction. My recent art is made so that the viewer can arrange it in any configuration without direction from the artist. For me, that acknowledges that there are multiple viewpoints – and in art, as in life, that is fundamental to harmony.”
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. It has developed into a really lively urban area,” she said. “I love that we have so many theaters and places to hear music in this part of town. Seriously, I do think this is the center of the universe.”
Arkin is fortunate to create art full time, but admits that it can be a challenge. “Producing work full time means taking on the second job of managing yourself and your career. There is an awful lot of administrative work that goes along with the production and a lot of marketing to be done to get into exhibitions and to make sales. To do it full time, you have to be out there all the time participating in everything that you can.”
In addition to exhibiting at Long View Gallery, Arkin’s work has also been on display locally at the Nevin Kelly Gallery when it was previously located on Irving Street NW, ART17 at the Coldwell Banker Office on 17th Street NW, as well as Vastu on 14th Street NW. She will also be exhibiting in a group show at Studio G on Westminster Street NW starting September 14. For more information about Arkin and her work, visit her website.
From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at eliza[AT]borderstan.com.
Miguel Perez Lem, born in Argentina, has been practicing art in DC since 2004. In addition to Argentina, Lem has worked in Brazil, Chile, Israel, and Spain. His studio, on 14th Street above Treasury boutique, reflects his international background and his eclectic artistic 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.
Lem describes his artistic practice as “one solid trunk with different branches.” First trained in textile art, Lem early fascination with texture and tactile quality influences his current oil paintings and digital photographs. He uses treatments like encaustic and gold leaf to incorporate unique texture into his paintings. In his photographs, he likes to isolate and intensely magnify one specific element of an object (like petals of a flower) to give a unique point of view on the de-contextualized image.
He appreciates the scientific detail a camera can capture and often uses photographs as visual aids when creating photo-realistic painting. He also takes photographs to stand as works of art in their own right, using “lighting and shadows like brushstrokes [in a painting]” to subtly manipulate the look and feel of the image.
Lem is an active member of Mid City Artists. In addition to creating a wide variety of art, he also teaches oil painting and photography. Most recently, he has joined together with other Argentinean artists throughout the District, Maryland, and Virginia to form the group PA7. They plan to exhibit works at the Embassy of Argentina in 2013 and are exploring other venues across the country. Lem also hopes to work with the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities on upcoming projects.
From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at eliza[AT]borderstan.com.
A child in a military family, Michael D. Crossett lived in Hawaii, Japan, Pennsylvania, Alabama and Virginia by the time he was in high school. 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 but patterns. The graphic appeal and immediacy of these elements still drives his approach today.
Crossett currently has a solo exhibition at gallery plan b on 14th Street NW through June 17 and a group show in Provincetown. Potential future projects include public installations, sculpture, oil painting and encaustic.
As a teenager, Crossett took up photography and carefully developed his photographs to control the final image. He continues to take photographs but lost interest as digital methods began to eclipse traditional photography. Above all, he values the instant connections viewers develop with photographs and has successfully translated that connection into other mediums.
Crossett majored in marketing and advertising at George Mason and currently works as a Director of Design. About five years ago, he earned a Certificate of Graphic Design from the Corcoran College of Art and Design. He began experimenting with silk screening and mixed media collage. He often manipulates photographed images by transferring them to silkscreen and adding them into collages.
Crossett’s greatest ambition for his work is “connecting with people” rather than alienating them with inscrutable subject matter. He seeks to engage viewers, draw them in with a sense of familiarity, and then push them to learn through his art. This goal was evident in the pieces he displayed during last Saturday’s Mid City Artists open studios, many of which included details and images easily associated with specific locations in their composition.
As a local artist, Crossett appreciates the”small town” feel of D.C.’s neighborhoods that contrast with the city’s reputation as a major tour destination. Two of his favorite areas in DC.are the 14th Street Corridor and Mount Pleasant. Around Borderstan, he frequently visits Estadio, Teasim, U Street Music Hall, Coppi’s, and 9:30 Club.
Mid City Artists presents its bi-annual Open Studios Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20 from 12 pm to 5 pm. Twenty-seven artists, including Thomas Drymon and Dave Peterson, will be participating in the event which takes place in and around the Dupont Circle and Logan Circle neighborhoods. Open Studios offers art enthusiasts an opportunity to go behind the scenes and learn more about the talented artists who live in our area. To get background information on a few of these artists, you can read some of their interviews in Borderstan. To see a full list of participating artists and to download a tour map of artist studios, please visit Mid CityArtists.
Thomas Drymon has been a Mid City Artist for more than four years and has participated in five Open Studios Tours. He has been working on a couple of new series including painting, 3D work and some interesting photographic work that will be on display at 1716 14th Street NW. Visitors will also have a chance to learn about Drymon’s data project and participate by having photos of their faces taken.
Just down the hall from Drymon’s studio, visitors will have a chance to catch up with Dave Peterson. Most of his new work is currently at local exhibits and stores including the upcoming Artomatic festival and Dolcezza in Dupont Circle, but Peterson plans to present older work that has never been displayed. You’ll also be able to buy new greeting cards and t-shirts with his unique designs. Be sure to also visit Sally Kauffman, who shares studio space with Drymon and Peterson.
If he wasn’t participating in the event, Drymon says he would go over to Westminster Street NW to see Chuck Baxter and George Smith-Shomari. He also recommends paying a visit to Marie Ringwald and Regina Miele. Peterson suggests taking a trip down 14th Street to see Gary Fisher and Glenn Fry. Fry will be having a 50% off sale on all works on paper for the weekend. Please visit his website to see what is available.
Mid City Artists is a talented group of more than 40 professional artists who have banded together to promote their work and create an artists’ community in a central part of the nation’s capital. A number of Mid City Artists members are well known and represented by galleries, while others are emerging artists. The Open Studios Tour occurs every spring and fall.
From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at eliza[AT]borderstan.com.
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.
She sat down last week to answer our questions about living and working as an artist and Borderstan and about how and where she finds inspiration for her current works.
Borderstan: How long have you lived/worked in the Borderstan area (Dupont/Logan/U Street) and how did you come to live here?
Kauffman: I moved to the area a couple of years ago, seeking a more urban lifestyle that was culturally rich and not dependent on a car.
Borderstan: How have you or your art been inspired by the Borderstan area? And what are your favorite places to go in the Borderstan area?
Kauffman: The sense of community and the friends I have made in the past couple of years make me very happy. I love watching the U Street/14th Street area change, but I worry that the very culture I was seeking will be driven out. I was very sad to see Utopia close, my husband and I loved stopping by and having a drink and listening to fabulous jazz.
Borderstan: How did you first get interested in the interplay between art and photography? How has this influenced your artistic style and major works?
Kauffman: I started photographing friends at my dinner table as a source of content for my paintings, using the images to capture the experience. The viewfinder is a great compositional tool, it allows you to isolate your subject and alter the spatial relationship between them. In my “Intimate Feasts” series, the objects on the table became the focus. The scale of the objects in the foreground dwarfed the figures in the background.
Borderstan: What have been your greatest sources of inspiration to date?
Kauffman: A trip to Oaxaca, touring local galleries and artist’s studios, inspired me to start painting after a 20-year hiatus. The rich imagery and culture have produced a group of contemporary painters creating powerful work. I returned and signed up for a class at the Corcoran with Judy Southerland. Judy was a great mentor, focusing me on what matters to me, drawing from personal experience. She introduced me to painters that I admire and share the same influences. I find [both] Cecily Brown’s rich, luscious paint and bad girl content, and Jenny Saville’s portrayal of flesh, beautiful and morbid at the same time… . Of course I saw the [Museum of Modern Art’s] de Kooning exhibit in New York and renewed my enthusiasm for his work.
Borderstan: Do you experiment with other types of art (drawing, sculpture, music, dance, etc.)?
Kauffman: Yes, that 20-year gap was spent exploring technology and interactive media, and [I’m] ready to bring the technology into my art practice. I’m taking the intro classes in Processing, a programming language designed for artists, and how to use the Arduino, a board that senses input such as sound, movement and light at Artisphere this month. I hope to be creating interactive digital installations in the near future.
Borderstan: What are your other interests and hobbies outside of art?
Kauffman: I travel with my husband and friends, exploring local culture, art, food and wine. I work in product development as a user experience designer.
Borderstan: Where can we see your work at local exhibits, galleries, restaurants, or homes?
Kauffman: I am exhibiting at Artomatic this year, Friday, May 18th to Sunday, June 24th, and you can find me on the 11th floor. I will be in my studio at 1716 14th Street on Saturday, May 19th for Mid City Artists Open Studios. The 1716 studios are planning some parties and open houses as well.
Following are the top arts and entertainment stories each month on Borderstan in 2011. The top story each month was the one that was read by the most readers. The writer’s name is next to each story.
Top food story for the year in terms of reader views? The winner was Photos: Sunday’s Farewell Party at go mama go! by Luis Gomez, followed closely by Danny’s Top 10: D.C.’s Best 2010 Concerts from Danny Shapiro.
Of note: While one gallery closed on 14th Street NW in 2011, another gallery opened. See the August stories below: Irvine Contemporary closed in September and [email protected] opened in November.
- January: Danny’s Top 10: D.C.’s Best 2010 Concerts (Danny Shapiro)
- February: Biutiful One of the Best Films of the Year (Mary Burgan)
- March: Photos: Sunday’s Farewell Party at go mama go! (Luis Gomez)
- April: Gary Fisher: Art Changed My Life (Cecile Oreste)
- May: City Empties Out, But Galleries Full of Great Exhibitions (Jana Petersen); and Forgotten Dreams, Unforgettable Drawings in Cave (Mary Burgan). There was essentially a two-way tie between these two stories.
- June: New Exhibits Open at Irvine, Project 4 (Jana Petersen)
- July: The Art of Vandalism and the Launch of MuralsDC (Tom Hay)
- August: Irvine Contemporary Bids Farewell; Closing Party Saturday (Matty Rhoades)
- September: Your Ultimate Guide to Saturday’s 17th Street Festival (Laura Herman)
- October: At the Keegan: There’s a Witch Hunt on in Dupont Circle (Kate Hays)
- November: [email protected]: Regina Miele’s New Gallery on 14th Street (Kate Hays)
- December: “U Street Portrait Project” Closing and a “Don’t Miss” Exhibition (Luis Gomez)
Fact: The average person makes 24% of their annual donations between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, and despite a deep recession, charitable giving was up more than 3% in 2010 (Source: Charity Navigator).
Here at Borderstan we want to help you make the decision to give locally this year. That’s why we’re providing you with an easy way to make contributions to charities that provide support for our neighbors in Borderstan and DC. From health care to social services and the arts, philanthropies in our neighborhood make an impact on our community.
Consider adding one of these charities or organizations to your holiday list. Then ask friends and family to make a donation in your name. Or make a donation for someone else. If we missed an organization, please leave a comment with details!
Following are 14 programs, organizations, charities and schools you can support that provide important services to our community, in the following six categories: Help Those in Need, Local Schools, HIV/AIDS Support, Senior Citizens, LGBT Community and The Arts.
Help Those in Need
Bread for the City, 1525 7th Street NW. The mission of Bread for the City is to provide vulnerable residents of Washington, DC with comprehensive services, including food, clothing, legal and social services and medical care. This season for $28.85 you can provide a single low-income family with a complete holiday meal through the Holiday Helpings program. In addition to cash donations that sustain ongoing programs like the rooftop garden, you can customize your gift by contributing an item from the Bread for the City Wishlist. The list contains items needed for programs and clients and includes needed items like Adobe InDesign software, toaster ovens and gift cards to Walmart, CVS and Target.
Central Union Mission, 1350 R Street NW. Although this long time shelter just moved from its home on 14th Street NW, you can still support the mission this holiday season. In addition to cash donations through their website, you can provide presents for a needy child through Operation Christmas Miracle or even volunteer at their food depot or kitchen. The mission also offers you a chance to customize your donation by purchasing items needed for the residents through their Christmas Catalog — you choose if your dollars buy hygiene clothing, toys or even meals.
Charlie’s Place, 1830 Connecticut Avenue NW. In Northwest DC there can be the misconception that everyone is financially stable. But Charlie’s Place provides an important service for those people who are not. This non-denominational, anti-hunger, homeless ministry of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church provides morning meal, case management, lunch go-go, HIV testing and counseling and clothing distribution. This holiday season and all year long donations can be made online through their Network for Good site.
Martha’s Table, 2114 14th Street NW. The vision for Martha’s Table is to find solutions to poverty in the short term with food and clothing programs, and in the long term by breaking the cycle of poverty with education and family strengthening programs. This season you can browse their holiday catalog for a customized gift in honor of a family member or friend. Choose from a variety of programs to support including debate classes, college preparation courses or wellness and nutrition activities. You can also make unrestricted cash gifts, donations of clothing or food, or contribute an item from the Martha’s Table Wishlist. If you’re looking for a bigger way to support Martha’s Table into the new year consider attending their Sips and Suppers events in early January where for $100 you have a chance to enjoy drinks with Jose Andres, Alice Waters and Joan Nathan.
N Street Village, 1333 N Street NW. Few people know that many of the homeless services in DC focus specifically on men. Services provided by N Street Village focus on empowerment and recovery for homeless and low-income women. They strive to address issues around income, housing, employment and health. To volunteer or make a donation, in-kind or financial, visit their donation site.
Garrison Elementary School, 1200 S Street NW. Garrison is the in-boundary school for most of Logan Circle and the U Street Corridor, serving more than 250 students from preschool through 5th Grade. The school also has three autism classrooms.You can support the Garrison PTA with a donation; make a check to Garrison PTA, 1200 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20009 (donations to Garrison PTA are not tax deductible at this time). You can also support the school by collecting Box Tops for Education, Labels for Education, linking your Safeway Card to Garrison and just by volunteering! Email [email protected] to join the email list or to get more information.
Ross Elementary School, 1730 R Street NW. There is something so meta about supporting an organization that supports other organizations and Ross Elementary School does just that. In addition to being a local school, through Ross Elementary PTA you can provide donations to Books for America, Children’s Hospital and Charlie’s Place. In addition, you can choose to make a donation to Ross’ programs by bringing your recyclable materials to the school, clipping box top for education labels or selecting Ross as the recipient of the school rewards programs at Giant, Safeway and Harris Teeter.
School for Friends, 2201 P Street NW. One of the ways you can contribute to the School for Friends (Quaker) is through their Fund for Friends Campaign. The fund provides financial aid to students, which allows the school to support their commitment to diversity. One of the great thing about SFF is the diversity of the families, all of varying economic, racial, ethnic and sexual orientation backgrounds. SFF is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
Whitman Walker Health, 1701 14th Street NW. If you ever needed to believe a small donation could mean a lot, Whitman Walker Health proves it: just $25 helps their health team distribute 50 safer sex kits. Make a donation to WWH this season and your dollars will go to provide high quality health services to individuals who face barriers to accessing care. You also have the opportunity to make a donation in honor or memory of someone, or even make the gift anonymously.
Dupont Circle Village, 9 Dupont Circle NW. It’s hard to imagine being inside most of the time when all of DC is just outside your door, but for many older resident of the District their world is what they see through their window. That’s why Dupont Village is dedicated to linking older residents to not only social/cultural activities, but to also provide health-related and reliable home-maintenance services. Consider serving as a volunteer to an elderly person in the community by agreeing to provide transportation to and from appointments or provide a pick-up after a medical procedure. Get started with the volunteer application on the Dupont Village site.
The DC Center for the LGBT Community, 1318 U Street NW. The DC Center’s mission is to celebrate and support LGBT residents in the District, and based on the number of programs, activities and communities on their site, they are succeeding. Although the Center accepts cash donations throughout the year, you may want to consider buying a ticket to the Glamour, Glitter, Gold Oscar event held in February each year. Proceeds support the Center and you get to dress up for a fun night out.
Trevor Project, DC Ambassadors Committee. The Washington, DC Ambassadors Committee is group of volunteers dedicated to helping raise awareness of The Trevor Project‘s mission of ending suicide among LGBTQ youth. The committee works with schools in the DC area to reach out to kids directly and raise awareness of the issue, as well as raising support through volunteerism and fundraising, to help The Trevor Project carry on their life-saving efforts. In its first year, the local committee raised nearly $100,000 for the Trevor Project and engaged over 1,000 DC area supporters.
Mid City Artists. The Mid City Artists is “a diverse and talented group of professional artists who have come together for the purpose of promoting their art and the Dupont/Logan neighborhoods of Washington DC that they call home. Twice each year, the private studios of select member artists are open for visitors. Discover painting, photography, sculpture, glass, mixed media, prints and much more.” With a current roster of 42 artists, you can support MCA’s general fund by sending a check to the organization’s treasurer: MCA, c/o Chuck Baxter, 914 Westminster Street NW, Washington, DC 20001. (Donations are not tax deductible.)
The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st Street NW. The artwork in the Phillips Collection is mighty in its scope — the museum features more than 3,000 works of art by Renoir, van Gogh, Picasso, Rothko, Diebenkorn, and other modern masters. Caring for so many historic pieces calls for community support and this holiday it’s easy to do that with a donation to the museum. You can become a member and gain reciprocal special admission at more than 300 partner museums. Unrestricted dollars are welcome, but you can also choose to dedicate your gift to the musical program or the onsite library and archives.
Borderstan welcomes new contributor Eliza French, a recent transplant to the Borderstan area. On the weekends you can find her volunteering at the Phillips collection, eating at Hank’s Oyster Bar, or window-shopping on 14th Street.
Aster da Fonseca has been a prolific artist since he first began painting in 1996 at age 35. As a new immigrant to the United States from his native Brazil, he discovered an instant affinity for the art form. Using self-taught techniques he closely observed in works at DC museums, da Fonseca brings the memories of his past in Brazil into the present immediacy of his paintings.
His section of a shared studio on 14th Street NW in Logan Circle overflows with varnished acrylic paintings whose bright color shine against on square wood panels. He paints with sponges and spatulas to add on thick layers of paint and manipulate the medium with an almost sculptural technique.
You can see da Fonseca’s paintings on display at gallery plan b in the gallery’s Year-End Group Show through December 24.
Most recently, da Fonseca has been experimenting with abstract works. A group of paintings with boldly colored organic forms floating against a slate gray background comprise his latest work, the “Silver Series.” However, like his earliest works, these abstract ones remain firmly grounded in concrete inspiration. He imagined water as he painted the designs, but what he most appreciates about pure abstraction — as a painter and as a viewer — is that each person can bring his or her own vision into the interpretation of the work.
Pointing out various paintings around the studio, he guides me through his transition from representational works, such as a contemporary take on a Dutch Golden Age portrait, to increasingly gestural works that evoke elements — water, sky — or a specific place. Da Fonseca says he rarely sketches directly on the background or plots the exact composition of a work before he paints.
Although his creative process is free-flowing, he carefully pre-meditates each work. His Copacabana series, with is undulating curvilinear forms and hot colors, vividly recalls the tropical locale. Da Fonseca shows me a sketchbook of sketches for the series, with early 1900s photos of the Copacabana landscape affixed to the pages. He skillfully translated that 20th Century terrain into series of works that speaks of his personal past as well as a nation’s collective cultural heritage.
As his artistic style evolved, da Fonseca settled into his role within the developing local art scene. Aside from a brief time in Capitol Hill, da Fonseca has lived and worked throughout the Dupont-Logan-U Street area for most of his time in the District. He is a member of Mid City Artists and works in his studio alongside four other members.
Da Fonseca talks easily from memory about the changing gallery landscape, about Paula and Dave of gallery plan b, and about Alex Gallery and Gallery A on R Street. He speaks of other local artists with admiration and laments the historically lackluster coverage of art in local media outlets. There is a high level of competition among many talented artists in DC, and da Fonseca believes these artists deserve more recognition.
At 50, da Fonseca has resigned himself to the necessity of a steady day job with the Brazilian Air Force to pay the bills and provide stability in his life. Still, he wishes he could live life exclusively as an artist working in his studio every day.
Surrounded by the art that track the arc of his career, he says, simply, “I wake up thinking of it, and I go to bed thinking of it.” He may never list “artist” as his official occupation, but da Fonseca’s passion and dedication show through the lines, shapes, and colors of his works.
You can see da Fonseca’s paintings on display beginning November 25, when gallery plan b will again feature da Fonseca’s works in the end-of-year group exhibit, Holiday Art “Bizarre,” through December 24.
Mid City Artist and Indiana native Charlie Jones worked a corporate job with AT&T for several years. His work brought him to DC from the Midwest, to Los Angeles, to Asia and back again to DC. Jones’ experiences abroad not only helped him professionally, but eventually became a major source of inspiration for his painting.
“My travels throughout Southeast Asia are my greatest artistic inspiration,” he said. “It was a life-changing experience working over there for almost four years. I met so many different people and experienced so many cultures. It really changed my view of the world.” According to Jones, this Eastern influence can be seen in the vivid colors and interesting textures of his work and more visibly in painting titles such as “Mist of Lan Tao” and “Thai Forest.”
Interestingly enough, painting was a passion Jones discovered by accident. When he moved back to the DC area in 2001, he purchased a house that had many large walls that were in desperate need of decoration. Instead of purchasing art at a local gallery, he started creating his own paintings and soon uncovered a hidden talent. When friends, including fellow Mid City Artist Gary Fisher, saw Jones’ handiwork and truly enjoyed it, momentum continued to build. Fisher later asked Jones to do his first exhibit at Results, The Gym in Capitol Hill along with Fisher and photographer Pete Mitchell.
Since that show nearly a decade ago, Jones has exhibited at Artomatic, multiple galleries in Rehoboth Beach and most recently at Room and Board on 14th Street NW. He has been commissioned for numerous works of art locally and across the country, and participates in Mid City Artists Open Studios Weekend whenever his frequent travel schedule permits. To hone his craft, he has taken painting classes locally at the Torpedo Factory and internationally in Europe, and continues to paint on a regular basis.
According to Jones, his artistic process is a process of discovering accidents. “I add layers and layers of paint and see what happens. I think part of my talent is understanding how composition works. Sometimes you keep the accidents, but sometimes they don’t fit in the composition of the painting and you have to paint over them,” he said.
Jones credits the District and particularly Mid City Artists for helping him become an accomplished artist. “DC provided me the fertile ground to emerge as an artist and Mid City Artists provided the support I needed to grow,” he said. “The idea behind Mid City Artists is that we’re stronger as a group than on our own. The real power is collaborating with other artists. We learn from each other. We support one another.”
Although painting is not currently his full-time job, Jones enjoys his personal connection with this art form and intends to make it his primary focus when he retires. “Painting is always going to be there for me,” he said. “I love that about it.” For more information about Charlie Jones and his paintings, please visit www.cjonespaintings.com.
Four local artists, all members of Mid City Artists, will be part of an exhibition at the Room & Board furniture store at 14th and T Streets NW. Works by Gary Fisher, Glenn Fry, Charlie Gaynor and Charlie Jones will be featured in the exhibition, “A Neighborhood of Art and Home Furnishings,” from October 20-23. Sixteen pieces of artwork, four from each artist, will be displayed throughout the store to compliment furniture groupings on each floor. An opening reception is scheduled at Room & Board on Thursday, October 20 from 6 to 8 pm.
The exhibition coincides with the Mid City Artists Fall Open Studios which runs from 12 to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday, October 22-23. There are a total of 21 artists at 15 locations —download the map! The Fall and Spring Open Studios have been a popular weekend event for a number of years.
Artist Charlie Jones explained how the collaboration between the retailer and the artists came about. “I visited the store early on when it first opened and met Scott Jussila, a leadership associate with Room & Board. Scott and I had an instant rapport and as I learned about his role at Room & Board developing local public outreach efforts, I mentioned Mid City Artists… and how cool it would be to combine Room & Board furnishings with our art for an exhibit — especially given how spectacular the space and light is.”
The landmark Room & Board store opened in June 2010 after an extensive renovation of the historic building. Built in 1919, the location was once a showroom for the Ford Motor Company and was known as the R.L. Taylor building. The renovation preserved the open floor plan and large windows of the original building which now give the showroom a loft-like gallery feel.
The artists practice in different mediums, including photography and silk screen on wood. Included in the exhibition are “Indian Head Nickel” by Glenn Fry, “Red Candied Apples” by Gary Fisher, “Monterey” by Charlie Jones and “DeLuxe” by Charlie Gaynor.
Mid City Artists Open Studios This Weekend
The exhibition coincides with the Mid City Artists Fall Open Studios which runs from 12 to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday, October 22-23. There are a total of 21 artists at 15 locations. The Fall and Spring Open Studios have been a popular weekend event for a number of years.
Like Borderstan, the Mid City Artists area encompasses several neighborhoods, including Dupont Circle, Logan Circle and U Street. Member artists work have been featured in exhibitions at Borderstan area galleries including gallery plan B on 14th Street NW and Long View Gallery on 9th Street.
Late last year the Mid City neighborhood was in the midst of a branding effort to give a new name and identity to what was officially known as the Uptown Arts District. Funded with D.C. Neighborhood Investment Fund grant money the design and marketing effort saw lots of heated discussion during the public forums over naming of the district. Eventually the process led to the name DC Arts District and the installation of banners on light poles on the major streets in the area.
Mid City Artists Profiled on Borderstan
- Regina Miele: Local Artist, Global Reach
- Gary Fisher: Art Changed My Life
- Mark Parascandola: Abandoned Architecture
- Peter Alexander Romero: Color, Movement and Texture
- Shaw Artist Chuck Baxter: Trash to Treasure
- The Inspiration of Dupont’s Ryan Epp
- French Artist Isabelle Spicer Finds Color in DC
- Robert Wiener: From Accounting to Art Glass
- Thomas Drymon: Showing the Hand in His Paintings
- Dave Peterson’s Brand Mixes Graphics, Captions, Materials
- Joren Lindholm: “Between Abstract and Representation”
- Glenn Fry’s Silkscreens: From the Fed to the Real World House
- No Regrets: Betsy Karasik’s Transition from Lawyer to Painter
- Cole’s Metal Sculptures Part of Dupont-Logan Landscape
From Matty Rhoades
Mid City Artists Open Studios October 22-23
The Mid City Artists are holding their fall open studios the weekend of October 22-23. Twice a year members of the group of artists based in the Dupont-Logan area open up their studio spaces to the public over weekend. There are a total of 21 artists at 15 locations. As part of this fall’s event, Room & Board will host an exhibiton — “A Neighborhood of Art and Home Furnishings” — of works from the artists, October 20-23.
Is X2 DC’s Weirdest Bus Route
Overheard in DC over at dcist ponders whether the X2 bus route is the city’s weirdist, at least when it comes to the conversations you hear. What’s your weird bus route?
U Street Neighborhood Association Meeting Thursday
The October meeting of the U Street Neighborhood Association is this Thursday, October 13. Time is 7 pm on the 2nd floor of the Studio Theater, 1835 14th Street NW.
DC Cowboys Holding Auditions for 2012 “Farewell Tour”
The DC Cowboys dance troupe are hanging up their hats after 18 years. On November 1 they will hold auditions for the final time at the Church of the Pilgrims, just west of Dupont Circle. What at are the Cowboys looking for? “To finish off their successful run, the Cowboys are on the hunt for select individuals to become a part of the DC Cowboy Family. The DC Cowboys Dance Company is looking for Broadway-style, jazz dancers (of all levels) interested in performing with an exciting, high-profile, gay dance group. All of our members participate on a volunteer basis & provide high-quality, professional-level dance entertainment at no cost for benefits that raise money to provide services to people living with HIV/AIDS as well as for AIDS prevention programs,” according to the Cowboys.