Arlington, VA

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.

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