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Grand Opening Scheduled for Gallery Clarendon Saturday

Gallery Clarendon is celebrating its grand opening.

On Saturday (Sept. 15), the Gallery Clarendon will officially open at the corner of Clarendon Blvd. and and Fillmore St. in the former Fuego restaurant corner.

Gallery Clarendon is the newest professional art gallery created by the Arlington Artists Alliance, and first opened its doors in late June.

The grand opening will start with festivities at 11 a.m. with activities for adults and children. A more adult-oriented wine reception runs from 5-8 p.m., catered by nearby restaurants and featuring the music of local band HYFY. The reception will give visitors a chance to meet and mingle with the gallery artists.

The Gallery Clarendon will showcase art from local artists and manage professional artist studios. The professional studios on the second floor of Gallery Clarendon will be open daily to the public from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

The gallery will also host events and offer classes for aspiring artists, operating an art academy that will offer day and night classes for adults and children.

On the second Fridays of every month, Gallery Clarendon will host a free opening reception for a new exhibit. Each month, the main gallery space will change with a fresh show from a different local artist.

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Gallery Clarendon Opens, Beginning Temporary Stay in Former Restaurant Space

(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) Gallery Clarendon opened its doors Wednesday (June 20), using two floors of gallery and studio space to showcase the work of local artists.

Located at 2800 Clarendon Boulevard, the gallery is a temporary project of the Arlington Artists Alliance. It occupies the space vacated by Mexican restaurant Fuego Cocina y Tequileria in October 2016. Admission to the gallery is free, although pieces may be purchased, and there are plans to begin offering art classes within the next few weeks.

The length of Gallery Clarendon’s stay depends on when Regency Centers, which also operates the Market Common Clarendon shopping center, can find a permanent tenant for the site. Sandi Parker, managing director of galleries at the Arlington Artists Alliance, said they anticipate being open for at least a year.

“I always liken it to staging a house — it looks better when there’s something there,” Parker said. Regency Centers was “very generous to allow us to use the space,” she added.

The gallery is planning a grand opening for sometime in September, Parker said.

For both events, “we really want to engage with the Clarendon community,” Parker said. They plan to have “some of our potential teachers on site to work with kids,” and hope to partner with local businesses to elevate receptions, she added.

The art on display will change at opening receptions held on the second Friday of every month, Parker said. Reception attendees will have the opportunity to meet and converse with artists.

The gallery had aimed to open in April, but complications in obtaining an occupancy permit from the county caused delays.

“This is kind of a unique space in that it was originally a restaurant/bar… so it’s a change of use,” Parker said. Safety updates like replacing lights were also necessary after the space’s lengthy vacancy, she said.

Now that the gallery is open, Parker said they look forward to getting to know the Clarendon community.

“We’re excited,” she said. “We’re hoping that we’re going to meet a lot of Clarendon residents and… find a whole new market.”

Regency Centers operates several properties in Northern Virginia. Although Jan Hanak, the company’s vice president of marketing and communications, said he wasn’t aware of any other arrangements like this one, the corporation is  “certainly interested in those types of uses because it creates a certain type of buzz at the property and brings new people in.”

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Art Gallery to Open in Ballston This Weekend

A new art gallery is opening in Ballston on Saturday (May 12).

The Fred Schnider Art Gallery, which is backed by D.C. area real estate investment and development firm Fred Schnider Investment Group, is planning a grand opening event from 6-9 p.m. at the Residences at Liberty Center (888 N. Quincy Street).

The gallery opening will feature the work of award-winning artist and longtime Marymount University professor David Carlson. He will display his “Out of My Mind” paintings and drawings from his “Fields and Transformation” series.

The 850-square-foot gallery will display seven exhibits a year, with each exhibit appearing for six weeks at a time. Normal exhibit hours will be from 2-7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday until July 8.

The gallery plans to collaborate with local universities to incorporate an educational setting into the space. It will also host events with the Ballston Business Improvement District and the Arlington Commission for the Arts.

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Gallery Clarendon Opening Delayed Over Permit

The Clarendon Art Gallery opening has been delayed to early May.

Signs went up for Gallery Clarendon on March 9, and the nonprofit gallery intended to open this Sunday (April 1). However, it has not yet received its occupancy permit from the county.

Jane Coonce, Gallery Clarendon’s executive director, told ARLnow that she had applied before the signs had gone up for the occupancy permit. She expressed disappointment that it hadn’t come through yet, but was understanding.

Noting that the time of her permit application coincided with spring break, Coonce added that she’s “sure any employees who had kids probably had to stay home with the kids, so that might have put the county behind.”

Until a permanent commercial tenant is found, the gallery, built and developed by volunteers, will call the former Fuego Cocina y Taquileria space home, rent-free other than utilities costs.

The cavernous first floor space will host the gallery, while the second floor will accommodate artist studios and art classes for both children and adults.

Though Coonce said that equipment cannot be installed until the gallery has received its occupancy permit, the build out will be finished by the end of the day on Friday, and volunteers will have the space cleaned up by Saturday.

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Artfest Week Returns to Woodmont’s Fort C.F. Smith

Arlington’s annual spring Artfest Week starts today (March 16) at Fort C.F. Smith Park.

An opening reception at the Hendry House this evening, from 6-8 p.m., will allow residents to meet local artists over light refreshments while kicking off a week of art shows, workshops, and sales. The celebrations feature 35 Arlington-based artists.

The week of events, in its fifteenth year running, will be held at Fort C.F. Smith Park, at 2411 24th Street N. All events are free admission.

Artistic workshops cover a variety of mediums, from watercolor to oil bars to canvas floor painting. A full list of workshops and kids activities can be found on the Arlington Artists Alliance website.

Organizers have advertised the following hours for the festival:

  • Friday, March 16, 6-8 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 17, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 18, 12-5 p.m.
  • Tuesday-Thursday, March 20-22, 12-4 p.m.
  • Friday, March 23, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
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Clarendon Art Gallery to Open in Former Fuego Space

A new Clarendon art gallery run by the Arlington Artists Alliance will temporarily occupy the space that formerly housed Fuego Cocina y Taquileria, and they won’t be paying rent.

Gallery Clarendon put up signs last Friday (March 9) and intends to open to the public by April 1. That’s so long as the alliance receives its occupancy permit in time, according to Jane Coonce, Gallery Clarendon’s executive director.

Until a permanent commercial tenant is found, the gallery, built and developed by volunteers, will stay and only pay utilities. Crystal City’s Gallery Art Underground is run in a similar way as Gallery Clarendon by Arlington Artists Alliance.

While the first floor will be a gallery, the second will be artist studios with art classes, including oil painting and pastels lessons, for children and adults. Coonce intends to offer a painting class with wine.

The first installation, according to Coonce, will likely feature the work of those who volunteered or donated toward building the space. Later installations will feature primarily Arlington artists and occasionally artists from nearby Northern Virginia locales.

Coonce added that there’s been excitement by both volunteers and the public for the new space to open.

“All the artists are excited. Even the people that walk by, when they stuck their head in before we put our little signs on the window, they said ‘what’s going in here?’ said Coonce.

“And [when] we say ‘gallery,’ they go ‘Oh, that’s what we need.'”

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New Art Exhibit: ‘Screaming Babies’

A new exhibit at Crystal City’s Gallery Underground, in the shops at 2100 Crystal Drive, might hit too close too home for some new parents.

Screaming Babies” is a solo exhibit by artist Linda Lowery on display now in the free and open art space. Lowery has been drawing infants in states of “raw emotion” for years, in myriad colors, sizes and methods.

“The pain and discomfort depicted in these portraits is a metaphor for the pain and discomfort we experience all of our lives,” Lowery said about her works. “When we see a picture of an infant crying, we identify with the baby’s pain or feelings of abandonment and insecurity and fright.”

The pieces are all available for purchase. The exhibit will run until Saturday, March 28

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Artists with Disabilities Display Their Work

"Making Their Mark: Art Brut" at Gallery Underground (photo via ServiceSource)Artists with disabilities have their own show at the Gallery Underground in Crystal City.

The show is called “Making Their Mark: Art Brut,” and highlights pieces from artists with disabilities from ServiceSource day centers, a non-profit disability resource organization. It is put on in partnership with Purple Art, an art therapy program that works with individuals with disabilities and with military members and their families.

“Sometimes, I feel like Van Gogh,” artist Andrew Ross told ARLnow.com. “Music and art go together with me. I enjoy making both of them, they are big part of me”.

“Art Brut” translates to “raw art” and describes works created without classical art training. It’s an opportunity for the artists to overcome challenges and to express themselves in different ways. Some of the artists created pieces with little or no assistance for the first time.

“It’s good, I did a lot of work on the art,” artist Robert “Bobby” Hoffer told ARLnow.com

Volunteers donated many of the framing materials for the exhibition, in addition to volunteering to frame, mount and curate the show pieces.

“Making Their Mark: Art Brut” runs through August 23. More information can be found on the Gallery Underground website.

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Transgender Navy SEAL Hosts Crystal City Art Show

Kristin Beck (photo via Facebook)(Updated at 6:35 p.m.) A former U.S. Navy SEAL is hosting an art fundraiser in Crystal City next month to raise money for veterans returning home with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other combat-induced disabilities.

Alexandria-based nonprofit The 296 Project will host a gallery show and silent auction at Gallery Underground (2100 Crystal Drive) of U.S. Navy Senior Chief Kristin Beck, a transgender, 20-year veteran of the Navy whose art “kept her from suicide on more than one occasion,” according to a press release for the event.

Beck, who took part in seven combat deployments with the SEALS and was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart, was diagnosed with PTSD and a 90 percent disability rating.

The first ever transgender Navy SEAL, Beck “will be addressing the crowd personally,” and discussing the therapeutic effect creating artwork had on her recovery, according to the press release. She will also be advocating for The 296 Project, which “promotes, funds, supports and advocates for art and expressive therapies” for veterans when they return to the States, according to Executive Director Scott Gordon.

Beck’s work will be on display at the gallery from June 2-28. The show will be on June 6 from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. and tickets are $15.

Photo via Facebook

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‘Community Benefit’ from Rosslyn Development Sits Underused

What was supposed to be a community benefit from an apartment development in Rosslyn is instead a barely used empty space, and one local resident is pushing for that to change.

The “art atrium” on the ground floor of the Bennett Park Apartments at 1601 Clarendon Blvd is open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. every day, but its most common state is empty, with the lights turned off, and chairs stacked in the middle of the room.

This is the way the space — which has no art hanging on the wall, just eclectic lighting, a uniquely shaped brick column in the middle of the room and plants lining the walls — has been for six years since the building opened, says neighbor Soo Lee Davis.

“The last six years I’ve never seen the space used and the little bit of art that is in there is not well visited at all and it’s a complete waste of space,” Davis told ARLnow.com. “Right now, it’s just dead, 24/7 and in a prime location with tons of foot traffic and this area is in dire need of more options that are useful for the community.”

The space is part of the site plan agreement the developer, Washington Realty Investment Trust, reached with the county in 2002. In Arlington, developers often build specific “community benefits” into their projects in order to win support from neighbors and the County Board for taller building heights and other concessions. Department of Community Planning and Housing and Development spokeswoman Helen Duong said WRIT proposed the art atrium “from the beginning.”

“It was not requested by staff or the County Board, but we did provide for it in the site plan, so it is officially ‘required,'” Duong wrote in an email. “The developer did not receive density or any other value for it, as far as our planner can remember.”

Representatives at Bennett Park Apartments tout the atrium as an amenity for their residents to rent out for private parties, but, since the beginning of August, Property Manager Jared Bailey said he only knows of one such reservation, for later this month. According to the site plan, “the art atrium may be closed up to two times per month, for no more than one day at a time, for special events.” Other times, it’s intended for public use — for viewing art — despite the lack of actual art.

The atrium cost more than $300,000 to construct, but Davis is determined to see it transformed. The Radnor/Ft. Myer Heights Civic Association “doesn’t seem interested in taking up the issue,” Davis said, but she wants to find another avenue to turn the atrium into a use of greater benefit.

“Since it’s not being used as was intended for ‘community benefit,’ then I think it would make a great retail space, coffee shop or restaurant,” Davis said. “If the building owner would agree to contribute a portion of the rent that they charge toward some other county art endeavor (i.e. Artisphere in Rosslyn), then this could be a win/win situation.”

Update at 4:50 p.m.: Bailey “honestly doesn’t know how many people visit the space” on a regular basis, but he is working to “promote and utilize the space several times a month moving forward with different events for my residents.” He said the event later this month is a charity event, and is planning yoga and fitness classes in the future.

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Arlington Artists Alliance Gets New Home in Crystal City

The Arlington Artists Alliance has a new place to call home: a formerly vacant storefront in the Crystal City Shops @ 2100.

The airy gallery space, which the Alliance has dubbed the Northern Virginia Art Center, features “works from area artists covering a broad array of materials and mediums, including oil, acrylic, watercolor, collage, pottery, glass and sculpture.”

The center will rotate exhibits on a monthly basis, and each exhibit will have its own unique theme. September’s theme will be “A Celebration of Color.” The current theme is “Individual Perspective.” The exhibits are juried, meaning each work must be selected by a judge or judges in order to be displayed. Many of the works displayed are also available for sale.

The gallery is “semi-permanent” — it’s donated to the Alliance by landlord Vornado/Charles E. Smith, with the hope that “activating” the otherwise vacant space will benefit other merchants in the underground shopping center. The Alliance is expected to remain in the space until Vornado finds a tenant interested in leasing it.

The gallery is open to the public Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and also by appointment. A grand opening reception is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 14.

Arlington Arts Alliance co-director Sandi Parker said that one thing that will make the Northern Virginia Arts Center unique is its focus on purely local artists — mostly from Arlington but also from Falls Church and Alexandria. That contrasts, she said, with other local arts venues like Artisphere in Rosslyn and the Arlington Arts Center in Virginia Square, both of which often display works from out of town artists.

The Alliance, which first formed in 2000, has previously set up shop in vacant and partially-occupied storefronts along Lee Highway, in North Arlington. In each case, eventually they had to move. This time around, the group looked south.

“We reached out to the Crystal City [Business Improvement District] when we were in search of a new home, and they helped us design a fantastic plan,” said Arlington Artists Alliance President Bryan Jernigan. “We look forward to working with our new neighbors to bring a welcoming and unique artistic experience to the area.”

The Alliance says they will continue to maintain a small exhibit at Cassatt’s restaurant at 4536 Lee Highway.

Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser

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Art/Space/Design Event at Arlington Arts Center

Last night artists, art patrons, and a few media-types gathered to celebrate the improved interior spaces at the Arlington Arts Center. Sparkling wine flowed and bite-sized chicken pot pies were devoured as attendees gazed at the new art on the walls and, occasionally, at the center’s brand new flooring.

The RSVP-only “Art/Space/Design” event was sponsored by DC Magazine and also featured a DJ, a couple of short speeches and a raffle. The rainy weather didn’t seem to hurt attendance, but it did result in an unintentionally avant-garde heap of umbrellas at the building’s entrance.

In other news, AAC is currently offering a steeply discounted membership via Living Social.

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An Enviable Grand Opening for Covet on Wilson Blvd

Dozens of people turned out for the grand opening of a new art, jewelry and home decor gallery near Ballston.

Covet, as it is called, is located at 5140 Wilson Blvd, just west of Ballston, in the top floor of a small house that was formerly the home of a State Farm insurance agency. The store is co-owned by Sabrina Cabada and Autumn Clayton.

Guests consumed catered wine and small appetizers while perusing Covet’s curated and sometimes quirky artisan offerings. Much of the art for sale is produced by local artists, although national artists are also showcased.

For those who couldn’t stand the shoulder-to-shoulder claustrophobia in the tiny showroom, the boutique’s parking lot provided a welcome refuge for conversation and mingling.

The DC Slices pizza truck provided fresh slices to people whose hunger went beyond finger food. It was the first publicly-announced trek into Virginia for the DC Slices crew, who are licensed to operate as a street vendor in the District but not in Arlington (private property is fair game, however).

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