Photos: Artomatic Comes to Crystal City

by ARLnow.com May 23, 2012 at 12:32 pm 4,884 24 Comments

After a big opening weekend, Artomatic is back open today in Crystal City.

Billed as “the Washington area’s biggest free creative arts event,” Artomatic is the collective, unjuried work of more than 1,300 artists, spread across 10 floors of a former Department of Defense office building at 1851 S. Bell Street.

The sheer scale of Artomatic is mind-boggling: 5,000+ pieces of art (much of it for sale by the artists) in 380,000 square feet of office space. There are also more than 300 planned performances by more than 750 performers on 6 separate stages. Some 80,000 visitors are expected over the festival’s five week run, and they will have 3 cafes at which to buy food and drink. Artomatic is made possible by sponsors and an estimated 27,325 volunteer hours, much of which is put in by the artists themselves.

The most recent Artomatic was held in 2009 in the District. The event was last held in Crystal City in 2007.

“We are thrilled to welcome Artomatic back to Crystal City,” Crystal City BID President Angela Fox said in a statement. “We know that the artists and the audiences will have their biggest and best Artomatic experience ever.”

Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes said the event’s return to Crystal City is an important step in the continued rebranding of the neighborhood.

“People are going to discover this is a great place to be,” Hynes said.

Special exhibits and events this year include PostSecret post cards, the Washington Post’s Peeps diorama contest finalists, the Zombie Prom, Box Racing, body paint shows, and a “no-holds-barred Art in Fashion Show.”

Artomatic runs through Saturday, June 23. It’s open to the public from noon to 10:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, noon to 1:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. The festival is closed on Mondays and Tuesday.

A list of concerts, workshops, tastings, readings and other activities being held at Artomatic is available on the festival’s website.

Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.

  • Josh S

    What floor are the peeps on?

    • Captain Peep McPeepo


    • courthound


  • zzzzZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzZzZzZZzzzzzzzz *howls & falls over into slumber*

  • Cletus Van Damme


  • courthound

    Went last weekend, plan on going back a few more times. It’s way too much to see in a single evening. Very good showcase of local talent.

  • CourthouseChris

    I went Saturday and it was great. There is an amazing amount there, and by the sampling of the photos here I missed a lot.

    The “art reactor” floor as I believe it is called is completely empty and visitors are invited to draw on the walls. There was some interesting stuff after just a couple days – looking forward to seeing what it becomes after a month.

  • novasteve

    OMG, is that a scary looking Obama picture? Has anyone thrown a tantrum yet given it could be viewed as being negative of Obama?

    • novasteve

      I’m referring to image 13

      • Image 5

        is image 5 you?

        • abc

          Well played #5!

        • novasteve

          No, that would be you looking in a mirror actually.

          • Pablo

            “No, that would be you looking in a mirror actually.”
            Who writes your retorts, Steve? A 9-year-old girl?

          • that’s our steve!

            I know you are, but what am I?

    • malaka

      image 13 seems more like a combination of Kevin Frye photo / 7-Eleve pervert / obama portrait

      • Tabby_TwoTone


  • bemused bystander

    Can someone explain photo #39? It just seems to show that the sidewalks are in the wrong places …

    • Michael H.

      It’s a picture of the courtyard that opens onto Bell St. That’s not the Crystal Drive entrance.

  • sp

    Is this like a high school art thing?

  • Tre

    actually might go check this out

  • Southeast Ben

    how reasonably priced is the art? is it affordable? appeared that some might be ($300 range) based on photos.

    • courthound

      We saw some for as low as $20 and as high as $5000. Several good pieces in the $200-$500 range.

      • Southeast Ben

        awesome. thanks for the info. might have to head down there this week.

  • not your bro

    Really enjoyed this, and only saw about a quarter of it. Definitely going back. It’s certainly a mixed bag, but there’s some very good work there. Check it out.


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