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.
Though his art can be spotted across the globe, artist Mas Paz calls Arlington home.
Mas Paz, whose real name is Federico Frum, describes his work as indigenous contemporary art, using graffiti and standard bucket paint as his media.
“I started kind of playing with this indigenous typography kind of style, which wasn’t graffiti letters but more like line work letters,” Frum said of his early graffiti tagging days during a trip to Brazil. “[It] kind of looked like maybe Mayan hieroglyphic lines with actually letters. So that was really fun.”
His work has been featured at the Smithsonian Institution, the Corcoran Gallery Art, and New York City’s The New Museum, but his murals can be found as far away as Pakistan and Mexico and as closeby as Crystal City. Frum has traveled the world to teach mural workshops, and in February he was invited by the American embassy in El Salvador to teach children how to paint street murals.
Born in Bogota, Colombia, Frum — whose pseudonym means “more peace” in Spanish — was adopted when he was a year old and raised in Arlington. He graduated from George Mason University with a degree in art and visual technology in 2005.
Frum moved to Brooklyn a year after graduating, living there for seven years while selling t-shirts on the street in between 3D modeling and screen printing. He then traveled through South America before returning to Arlington ready to come home. He now works out of his house in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood.
“I was really hungry to do a lot of projects here in D.C.,” Frum said. “I’m so happy I’m back here and it’s so cool I can keep it rooted so that where I come from I represent, but also go to places, other countries, or go to other cities and do a lot of work.”
Mas Paz initially started as just Paz, his New York graffiti tag. That was before his friend Youth Waste approached him to create his own stickers, and Paz didn’t fit neatly on the square template that they wanted. That’s when Frum decided to send more of a message, adding the mas to paz. Frum also wanted a message so in 2012 when he added Mas Paz, which translates to more peace in English, he had found the right fit and meaning.
Indigenous art has become a way for Frum to express and explore who he is, even though there are pieces of him he will never truly know, such as where exactly he was born. Five percent of all his project earnings go toward the orphanage that he lived in as a child, La Casa de La Madre y El Nino.
There are no days off for Frum, but he says that it never feels like he’s working when he’s making art. The work makes the days fly by, and he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
“I intend to be 90 years old and still creating,” he said.
A tree set for removal outside an East Falls Church home has instead been turned into a castle.
The home, at the intersection of N. Underwood Street and 26th Street N. is near Bishop O’Connell High School and Tuckahoe Elementary School.
The homeowners did not respond to requests for comment, but a neighbor said the castle was carved by a local artist out of a tree that needed to be taken down.
It is approximately 7-8 feet tall, and the “detail involved is truly unbelievable,” the neighbor said. At first glance, it looks like the kind of castles found in Germany, where many castles sit among mountains.
The new Ten at Clarendon apartment building at 3110 10th Street N. has its first open retail tenant: frame store Italo Frame.
Open for about two weeks, owner Nasir Ester said it has a wide selection of frames as well as deeper shadow boxes for several photographs or other memorabilia.
Ester said he has been involved in the framing business for over 30 years. He previously owned Alna Art & Framing in Alexandria. The new store has frames from across Europe of all different colors and materials.
“You bring it, I will frame it for you,” he said.
The store is on the building’s westernmost corner, across the street from Fire Station 4.
It looks to emphasize the qualifications of art therapists, educates people about its benefits and shows young people that it could be a viable career path. Pence said it can be easy to forget that art therapists are highly qualified medical professionals.
“Their profession is really misunderstood,” she said. “People just think they do arts and crafts.”
Instead, the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy is an “integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individual, families and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship.”
Pence noted that it is not focused on the art as a finished product, but a way for people to deal with their issues. And it can benefit anyone, including those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, children with cancer, those with eating disorders and autism, among others.
“What we find when clients work with therapists, all these feelings and emotions they’ve been dealing with seem to come out of their heart,” she said. “They’ll put them on paper and say, ‘Wow, I didn’t realize I was thinking that.'”
Pence said her interest in art therapy goes back years, having received a Master’s Degree in Arts Education. When her husband, Vice President Mike Pence, was in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Indiana’s 6th congressional district, she saw first-hand the benefits of art therapy at Tracy’s Kids, an art therapy program for children in Georgetown.
And when Mike Pence travels for work, Karen Pence said she looks to join the trip and find an art therapy program to visit.
After Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico and the Pences visited to observe and help with recovery efforts, she brought 125 pounds of clay on Air Force Two to donate to an art therapist on the island.
“If we can tag along, we’ll find something to do related to art therapy,” Pence said. “When we knew we were going down to Puerto Rico, we thought, ‘Surely we can find a block of time of an hour or so where we can find an art therapist.'”
Kopenhaver said she enjoyed interviewing Pence about her initiative, which she launched earlier this year at Florida State University. The Pence family has strong connections to Arlington, as both their daughters attended Yorktown High School and were involved in its drama program.
“It was great having Mrs. Pence in the studio today to talk about the important mental health profession of art therapy, and specifically her initiative Art Therapy: Healing with the HeART,” Kopenhaver said in a statement.
Disparities in New Middle School Boundaries — “Under a staff plan slated to go to the School Board Dec. 14, middle schools will have economically-disadvantaged populations ranging from 1 percent of the student body at Williamsburg Middle School to 52 percent of the student body at Kenmore Middle School, with the other schools falling in between.” [InsideNova]
Winner of Marine Corps Marathon Works at 7-Eleven — The winner of this year’s Marine Corps Marathon lives in Nauck and works at an Arlington 7-Eleven store. Desta Beriso Morkama, a 32-year-old Ethiopian immigrant, arrived in the U.S. in September 2016. He has been receiving training and assistance settling into his new Arlington life from a number of local people and groups, including local running coach Jay Jacob Wind. [Falls Church News-Press]
JBG Installing Giant Screens at Central Place — JBG Smith plans to exceed the county-imposed public art requirement at its new Central Place development, thanks to a project that will install giant screens in various places around the apartment and office building. The screens will display moving images, including artwork and nature scenes. [Washington Business Journal]
Hybla Valley = The Next Shirlington? — Fairfax County has big plans for a car-oriented neighborhood south of Alexandria: “The plans also include a 3.1-mile extension of the Yellow Line that would connect the Huntington station to the Hybla Valley section of Richmond Highway, in hopes of creating a pedestrian-friendly urban neighborhood akin to nearby Shirlington.” [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Joe Green
Pence will join a show hosted by citizens group Embracing Arlington Arts to discuss art therapy, the group’s chairwoman said. The show will air Tuesday, December 5 at 3 p.m. and will raise awareness of the role art therapy plays as a mental health treatment, we’re told.
Pence has started a blog about her efforts to spread the word about art therapy, and posts regularly on Twitter about its positive impact on veterans, those fighting cancer and children suffering from mental illness, among others.
“I am so thrilled to not only be able to chat with Mrs. Pence, but also to discuss such an important topic as art therapy — her policy priority as Second Lady,” Janet Kopenhaver, chair of Embracing Arlington Arts, said in a statement.
According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy is an “integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individual, families and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship.”
The association said it can help improve cognitive functions, foster self-esteem and self-awareness, cultivate resilience, enhance social skills and reduce/resolve conflicts and distress.
Official White House photo by Allaina Parton
The National Park Service has denied a permit to erect a 45-foot statue of a naked, meditating woman on the National Mall near the Washington Monument.
The group behind the upcoming Catharsis on the Mall festival planned to transport R-Evolution, the statue created by artist Marco Cochrane, from San Francisco to the Mall at a cost of around $100,000.
The event is being held from Nov. 10-12.
Not that anyone has proposed it, but we were wondering whether Arlington might be a more welcoming place for the statue. If it were an option, would you support the statue being erected somewhere in Arlington?
Two Arrested After Fleeing from ACPD — Two men who fled from a traffic stop in Arlington were later arrested in Northwest D.C. Arlington police tried to stop the vehicle near Washington Blvd and N. Kirkwood Road, in the Virginia Square area, but the car took off and police did not pursue, per department rules. U.S. Park Police then tried to stop the men in D.C. and they fled again but were eventually taken into custody after crashing their car along Connecticut Avenue. [Fox 5]
WSJ Highlights W-L’s 178 Valedictorians — Washington-Lee High School in Arlington had 178 valedictorians this past school year. Having multiple valedictorians is a national trend among high schools. W-L considers any student with a 4.0 GPA or above to be a valedictorian. [Wall Street Journal, Falls Church News-Press]
Arts + Startups = Millennials? — “Arts groups should work to make common cause with high-tech firms and Millennials in an effort to bring benefits to all, one panelist said at an arts forum sponsored by Opera Nova and held Oct. 8 at Washington Golf & Country Club.” [InsideNova]
Distil Hires New CEO — Distil Networks, the cybersecurity firm with offices in Arlington and San Francisco, was just trying to hire a new Chief Operating Officer but ended up with a new CEO. Tiffany Olson Jones will lead the company, with $20 million in revenue and 65 percent annual revenue growth, from Arlington. [San Francisco Business Times]
‘Speedy’ Tolliver Dies — “Roy ‘Speedy’ Tolliver, an Arlington-based bluegrass fiddler who performed at local folk festivals for 65 years and was an inaugural recipient of the Virginia Heritage Award in 2009, died Sept. 18 at an assisted living center in Arlington, Va. He was 99.” [Washington Post]
Photo courtesy Michael Thomas
Columbia Pike is set for a new piece of public art: a 60-foot wind turbine blade on Arlington County’s western border with Fairfax County.
The blade, entitled “The Pike,” is designed by the noted sculptor Donald Lipski, and will stand on the southern side of the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Jefferson Street in the Arlington Mill neighborhood.
At a talk at the Columbia Pike Branch Library last month, Lipski said he was inspired by the design of wind turbine blades and the pike weapon, which is a long thrusting spear. He also noted that there are still disused windmills along Columbia Pike that were once used to pump water.
“It’s just put up as this big beautiful thing,” Lipski said. “It’s a found object, it’s recycled, it’s emblematic of wind energy, it’s emblematic of a Pike, but one that’s vertical, one that’s in the open position and says, ‘Come on in. Everybody is welcome. You don’t have to pay a toll even though it used to be a Pike'”
Lipski said he will reuse an old 50-foot-long turbine blade, stand it up vertically on a 10-foot pedestal and then cover the pedestal in coins from the various countries and nationalities represented along the Pike. The sculpture will be lit at night by a series of lights around its base.
The use of coins also harks back to when the Pike used to be a toll road, first designed to connect the District of Columbia with areas to the west.
“Citizens of Arlington would go and rummage around in their drawers and find coins from their home country and give me those coins, and I would build them into the sculpture,” Lipski said.
And in return for letting him use their coins in his sculpture, Lipski said he will design a commemorative coin and give one to each person who donates in exchange.
But not everyone is so sure about the new piece of art. In letters provided to ARLnow, leaders at the Arlington Mill Civic Association said a decision approving the project was made without enough input. Planning for the art has been underway since 2012, and Lipski was selected from 88 applicants the following year.
Reaction to Las Vegas Shooting — Reactions from local officials are beginning to come in in response to the mass shooting at a Las Vegas concert, which is now the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. “Will the corporate gun lobby please wake up? #PrayersAreNotEnough #HowManyMore?” tweeted state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D). Meanwhile, a “gun violence prevention roundtable” planned today in Alexandria, with former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, has been cancelled “in light of today’s events.” [Twitter, Twitter]
Stats Behind Arlington’s Millennial Growth — The growth rate of Arlington’s millennial population between 2007 and 2013 was 82 percent, the highest in the nation. Meanwhile, development and transportation stats bear out how Arlington is growing and attracting young people. For instance, only 44 percent of Arlington’s population drives alone to work, compared to the 76.4 percent national average. [Bisnow]
Conservative Reporter vs. Donut Store Employee — Ashley Rae Goldenberg, a reporter for the conservative Media Research Center who goes by the Twitter handle @Communism_Kills, says she was harassed on Twitter by an employee of the new Dunkin’ Donuts store in Virginia Square. [Twitter]
Bomb Threat at Rosslyn Building — Updated at 11:15 a.m. — Someone called 911 with a bomb threat against an office building on the 1100 block of Wilson Blvd Thursday evening. That is the same block as TV station WJLA (ABC 7). No explosives were found during a police search of the building. [Patch, Arlington County]
Teen Provides Art to the Formerly Homeless — Allison Stocks, a 15-year-old sophomore at Yorktown High School, founded a nonprofit that takes donations of art and then provides it to those “making the transition from homeless shelters into permanent housing,” thus helping to cover bare walls and make their new home feel more homey. [Washington Post]
Local Gamer Raises Money for Hurricane Relief — In the wake of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, local resident Scott Jones helped raise more than $1,700 for disaster relief by broadcasting a 24-hour video game marathon from his Arlington apartment. Jones is one of numerous gamers who have used their gaming skills to raise serious cash for charitable causes. [Los Angeles Times]
Sports Pub Employees to Stand During Anthem — Late last week the Crystal City Sports Pub (529 23rd Street S.) sent a press release to broadcast outlets saying that its employees would “stand united for the national anthem” during Sunday’s football games. [WJLA]
“Valley Fest” is set for Sunday, November 5 from 12-5 p.m. on S. Oakland Street, and will include live music, local art on display and food trucks.
New District Brewing Company (2709 S. Oakland Street) is also offering two packages that include commemorative Valley Fest cups and beer tasting tickets.
Admission is free, and entrance to the festival is available from S. Oakland Street’s intersection with S. Four Mile Run Drive in the north, and from next to the Shirlington Dog Park in the south.
More from a New District press release:
New District Brewing Company is proud to present the inaugural Valley Fest Street Festival! Valley Fest is a collaboration and celebration of the Four Mile Run Valley Arts and Local Businesses.
Valley Fest was conceived from area leaders who wish to foster the growing Four Mile Run Valley as an active arts and community hub. This area is alive with significant cultural and civic groups such as Theatre on the Run, Jane Franklin Dance, and, Arlington Cultural Affairs. Please help us celebrate this momentous occasion on Sunday, November 5, 2017 from 12-5 p.m.
Area musicians and performing artists will set the stage for entertainment, local artists will showcase their pieces and, food trucks will offer tasty delights. A kids zone will keep the family busy while beer will be in abundance for adults.
Information and Tickets: www.arlingtonvalleyfest.com
Map via Valley Fest.
Developer Lands Loan for Ballston Project — Saul Centers has secured a $157 million construction loan for its Rosenthal Mazda/750 N. Glebe project that will replace the former car dealership with nearly 500 apartments and a small-format Target store. [Washington Business Journal]
Carpool to Reopen… In Fair Lakes — The owners of the now-shuttered Carpool bar and restaurant in Ballston, which closed to make way for a new high-rise residential building, are working to open its successor in the Fair Lakes section of Fairfax County. The new bar is expected to open its doors in October. [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Civ Fed Wants Younger Crowd — A key goal of the Arlington Civic Federation’s new president is to attract participation from younger residents and to “leave [it] with a more youthful leadership team at the end of my presidency.” [InsideNova]
Dad Doodles on Daughter’s Lunch Bags — Every school day, Arlington dad Mike Jenkins makes lunch for his 16-year-old daughter and places it in a brown paper lunch bag which he fills with cartoon doodles. But Jenkins is not just any dad and his cartoons are not the work of an amateur: Jenkins is a political cartoonist turned freelance caricaturist and the doodles are whimsical works of art. [Washingtonian]
Flickr pool photo by Chris Guyton
It takes a special talent to make strangers pause and smile during the rush of their busy days. Yet Adrienne Ellis does it on a weekly basis.
Ellis is the general manager at the Circa restaurant in Clarendon (3010 Clarendon Blvd), and she also provides the witty, colorful quotes that adorn the chalkboard on the sidewalk outside. In fact, Ellis’s work is so popular, she created an Instagram account to showcase it.
“Nothing is more fun than seeing someone stop out there and take a picture of [my work], or giggle and keep walking,” said Ellis.
Ellis has been drawing and painting since she was a child. She used to want to be an art teacher, until she led an art class in middle school. She began chalkboard painting at her previous job at Chef Geoff’s. She mainly did advertising on those chalkboards, but once she moved to Circa almost two years ago, she gained more creative liberties with her work.
“I free-hand everything,” Ellis said. “I just try to get an idea of what would be entertaining more than anything and catch people’s eye.”
Ellis uses the internet for inspiration and generally makes one new chalkboard painting per week.
“I’ll update funny quotes or do a new picture, a little bit of everything,” she said. “I do a lot of cartoons. If it’s Easter, [I’ll do a] Bugs Bunny, [or] something like that.”
Mainly, Ellis paints the current Clarendon trends, including brunch, kale and summer restaurant week.
“Clarendon, I think, is very particular,” Ellis said. “I mean, they love to brunch out here, they love their Champagne. Wine night is really big here so I pick those [things] to poke a little fun at and make people laugh.”
Ellis uses chalk paint for the illustrations and currently, non-waterproof chalkboard boards. The quote paintings usually take around 30 minutes to make while the more intricate paintings can take two hours.
“That’s just me being meticulous,” she explained.
Ellis said her favorite paintings so far have been a Scooby-Doo and a Bugs Bunny. However, passerby seem to have really enjoyed the food puns, like “Champangry,” a cartoon painting of Doug and the Disney figures.
“Any pop culture [reference], people respond really well to,” Ellis said. “I think, again, it’s the area. It’s a lot younger area and they appreciate that humor.”
A total of 21 financial grants were distributed, totaling $215,810, with the majority of recipients also being granted the use of county facilities and technical services. Twelve other organizations were granted the use of county facilities and technical services under the so-called Space and Services Grant.
“The arts enrich our lives and enliven our community,” said County Board chair Jay Fisette in a statement. “The Arts Grants program supports a diverse arts community in Arlington.”
There was a rigorous application process to receive the grants, which total $215,810. According to a report by county staff, the Arlington Commission for the Arts Grant Recommendations used a two-step grant application process that also included a mandatory attendance at grant preparation workshops.
Of the 28 grant applications asking for financial support in FY 2018, the Commission received 21 from nonprofit art organizations and seven from individual artists. The county received 54 applications in total.
The commission allocated three different kinds of grants for artists:
- Individual Artist Grants — direct financial support for an individual artist on a proposed work that they describe in their grant application
- Project Grants — direct financial support for a specific project proposed by an organization
- Space & Service Grants — grants for performance/rehearsal space and technical services for an organization.
The biggest organizations to receive grants include Washington Shakespeare Co., UrbanArias and the Arlington Arts Center.
The full list of grant recipients after the jump.