In what is a first for the annual event, Artomatic will combine performance art with a wedding ceremony tomorrow in Crystal City.
The ceremony is for Teddy Grant and Che Monique Young, who met at the arts showcase in 2015 when it was hosted in Hyattsville, Md., where Young was exhibiting burlesque art.
The pair have planned a ceremony that will include the traditional exchange of vows, cake cutting and bouquet tossing and a wide variety of music and dance, with a string quartet, jazz singer, African drummer and a belly dancer.
The 10 bridesmaids will also be wearing dresses made by local designers.
“There is something magical about Artomatic and all of the community around it,” said Young, the bride-to-be. “I met Teddy in 2015 at Artomatic. Many of our first dates involved him helping me with my exhibit so it feels like going back to the first time we met. To me it’s all about celebrating with the community, and we welcome everyone to join our families and partake in the celebration — I can’t wait to have the first Artomatic wedding, MY WEDDING!”
The ceremony begins at 6 p.m. on the sixth-floor stage at 1800 S. Bell Street and is open to the public.
Budget Plan Has Slightly Lower Tax Rate Hike — The 2017-2018 county budget that Arlington County Board members are set to vote on this weekend includes a 1.5 cent tax rate hike, a half cent lower than first proposed. The budget includes increased funding for schools, Metro, county employee raises, land acquisition and services for immigrants faced with deportation. It raises the tax burden on the average homeowner by about $300. [InsideNova, Washington Post]
No Easter Egg Roll Tix for APS — Arlington Public Schools received hundreds of tickets to the annual White House Easter Egg Roll under the Obama administration, but did not receive any for President Trump’s first egg roll this year. D.C. Public Schools also were not invited. Critics say minority children were under-represented at the event. [Patch]
Big County Events This Weekend — Among the events in Arlington this weekend are a trio of major annual happenings: the Arlington Homeshow and Garden Expo at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center, the Arlington Teen Summer Expo at Wakefield High School and the Arlington Festival of the Arts in Clarendon.
Blue Virginia’s County Board Endorsement — Influential local Democratic blog Blue Virginia has endorsed Erik Gutshall in the race for Arlington County Board. A party caucus will be held next month for the four-way Democratic contest. [Blue Virginia]
Washington Boulevard will transform into an art-lover’s paradise on Saturday, April 22, and Sunday, April 23, during the 5th Annual Arlington Festival of the Arts. One hundred and fifty national and international artists are set to display their fine works from across the nation in a prestigious show encompassing fine jewelry, exquisite works of art and hand-crafted apparel and decor. Whether your passions run to sparkling jewels and one of a kind paintings, exquisitely crafted glasswork or an art deco sculpture, you are sure to find it during the free, two-day event.
Clarendon offers some of Arlington’s hottest restaurants, nightlife, shopping and lifestyle storefronts which lends itself to the high-quality artists’ showcase. Presented by Howard Alan Events, the 5th Annual Arlington Festival of the Arts represents original, hand-crafted artwork selected by an independent panel of expert judges. Hundreds of applicants apply for the Festival of Arts each year, vying for the chance to showcase their creations to the distinguished and discriminating community of Arlington. HAE’s careful vetting process ensures a wide array of mediums and price ranges are always offered during the Festival.
Unlike other art festivals, the Arlington Festival of the Arts are produced free of charge to the public in “pop-up gallery” fashion. Instead of gallery assistants or managers, each artist’s booth is overseen by the artist him or herself. This hallmark of HAE’s shows allow all visitors and appreciators to meet the creator behind each work of art, and to discover the inspirations and processes that go in to each creation.
The all-ages, Arlington Festival of the Arts invites everyone to enjoy a beautiful stroll amongst inspired and inspiring, handmade-in-the-USA creations. Ample parking is available and pets on leashes are always welcome. The free, outdoor event is located at 3003 Washington Boulevard. Participating artists and more information can be found by visiting www.artfestival.com.
The preceding post was written and sponsored by Howard Alan Events.
The streets of Clarendon soon will become more colorful and creative with the return of the Arlington Festival of the Arts.
The fifth annual festival will take place at the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Highland Street on Saturday and Sunday, April 22-23, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
More than 150 exhibitors will showcase their original works, which include paintings, photography, jewelry, pottery, glass and mixed media. Attendees will be able to purchase items at a wide range of prices.
The following roads will be closed from 4 a.m. on Saturday, April 22, through 9 p.m. on Sunday, April 23, to accommodate the festival:
- Westbound Washington Blvd from N. Garfield Street to Clarendon Blvd
- N. Highland Street from Clarendon Blvd to Washington Blvd
- N. 11th Street between N. Highland Street and N. Garfield Street will be open to delivery traffic only
The national political climate and art are colliding this year at Artomatic.
The free six-week art extravaganza debuts tonight in Crystal City. Among the politically-inspired pieces: a large paper mache President Trump with a Russian flag lapel pin and a Gollum-like Vladimir Putin on his shoulder.
Meanwhile, a display that gained national attention during the 2016 campaign season encourages attendees to take photographs of their own backsides in a cut-out “Rump” poster. And dueling portraits feature two politicians holding their fingers to their lips, telling each other to be quiet.
By and large, however, the event is more eclectic than political. Other works include giant plywood street art rabbits and a painting of a nude woman wielding a sword.
Artomatic kicks off tonight for its third stint in Crystal City. The event includes the work of 600 artists across seven floors of vacant office space at 1800 S. Bell Street — 100,000 square feet of visual artwork, film, performance art, three stages of live music and free art workshops. It will also host the first Artomatic wedding on April 22.
“Artomatic has a very simple mission: to build community among artists,” Artomatic board chair emeritus George Koch said at a preview event Friday morning.
Among the collaborators this year is the Crystal City Business Improvement District, which partnered with Artomatic and developer Vornado to make the space available. Crystal City previously hosted Artomatic in 2007 and 2012.
Crystal City BID president and CEO Angela Fox said that as the neighborhood evolves, such events help “give it a soul.”
“We pave the way, then get out the way and Artomatic comes in here, all volunteers and transforms this space,” Fox said.
Artomatic begins Friday with its opening night party, starting at 7 p.m. It will be open Wednesdays and Thursdays from noon to 10 p.m., and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon to midnight. The exhibits are closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Rosslyn CAFE — Community, Arts, Food and Entertainment — is being produced by the Rosslyn BID. The free events are part of the business improvement district’s goal to create community events that take advantage of “unknown or unused spaces in the neighborhood.”
Next month’s series, known as April Arts & Beats, will take place on Fridays and feature a happy hour with new local artists each week, complimentary small plates and cocktails, wine and beer available for purchase.
The Bennett Park Art Atrium at 1601 Clarendon Blvd will host each Friday night. The space already has several pieces of public art by the likes of Virginia sculptors Foon Sham and Kendall Buster, and is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.
Entrance is free, but space is limited. More information is available on the Rosslyn BID website.
(Updated at 10:17 a.m.) A free creative arts festival is returning to Crystal City in just over two months.
Artomatic, a six-week art show that was previously held in the neighborhood in 2007 and 2012, is scheduled to return Friday, March 24, and run until Saturday, May 6.
This year’s Artomatic will occur at 1800 S. Bell Street, the Crystal City Business Improvement District said. Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to visit the 100,000-square-foot arts space over the course of the event.
In previous iterations, the festival has brought visual art, music, film, live performance, fashion and other forms of artistic expression. Artist registration begins next month, organizers said.
“We first brought Artomatic to Crystal City in 2007 in order to demonstrate the transformation that was already in progress — a new main street, fun restaurants — as well as to underscore how easily accessible our neighborhood is from D.C. The second showing in 2012 helped us further showcase our emerging arts and innovation scene,” said Angela Fox, CEO of the Crystal City BID. “Now in our third iteration, we are excited to mark the beginning of the next generation of growth, engagement and creativity for Crystal City.”
More information on this year’s event from a press release:
Artomatic returns for its signature art event to be held this year in Crystal City, Virginia from Friday, March 24th to Saturday, May 6th. Artomatic draws hundreds of artists and performers throughout the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area to showcase their talents for a six week long free exhibition that routinely attracts thousands of visitors.
“We first brought Artomatic to Crystal City in 2007 in order to demonstrate the transformation that was already in progress – a new main street, fun restaurants – as well as to underscore how easily accessible our neighborhood is from DC. The second showing in 2012 helped us further showcase our emerging arts and innovation scene,” said Crystal City BID President/CEO Angela Fox. “Now in our third iteration, we are excited to mark the beginning of the next generation of growth, engagement and creativity for Crystal City.”
This year’s 100,000 square foot space at 1800 S. Bell Street is provided by Vornado/Charles E. Smith and is located along Crystal City’s Art Underground. Launched in 2013 to transform Crystal City’s interior concourse into a vibrant arts and cultural destination, the Art Underground includes Synetic Theater, the 1200-foot long FotoWalk Underground, ArtJamz Underground, the Gallery Underground, TechShop, and Studios Underground which provides work space for two dozen artists.
Artomatic is well-known for transforming empty spaces into vibrant arts communities that create unique and exciting events for tens of thousands of visitors – all free to visit. Anyone can show art at Artomatic – it is non-juried and art is selected on a first-come, first serve basis – so it’s a great way to discover new art.
“We are very excited to be working again with the Crystal City BID, a constant champion of the arts, to create a unique, invigorating and brand new artistic experience for all visitors to enjoy,” said Jennifer Williamson, current Artomatic Board President. “We will be conducting Artist tours starting in mid-January to allow interested participants an advance glimpse of their artistic home for six weeks where they can start imagining the endless creative possibilities they can do with the space.”
Struggling Skyline Sold — Vornado has taken its properties in Skyline off of its balance sheet after the 2.6 million-square-foot, half-vacant complex sold at a foreclosure auction last week. The cancelled Columbia Pike streetcar project would have run to Skyline, with Fairfax County set to pay 20 percent of the project’s cost. [Washington Business Journal]
More on ‘Pop-Up’ Hotel — The inauguration will be the big test for WhyHotel, the “pop-up” hotel in the new Bartlett apartment building in Pentagon City. Developer Vornado sees this as an experiment that could yield temporary revenue while a building is leased up. Arlington County planning commissioner Erik Gutshall says the county could benefit from additional tax revenue and a more lively streetscape. [Washington Post]
Arlington = NYE Destination? — Travelers coming to the D.C. area for New Year’s Eve should consider staying in Arlington due to its proximity to the District and lower hotel rates, says an article on “last minute deals for New Year’s Eve hotels.” [Travel + Leisure]
Transracial Adoption in Arlington — Arlington is “a fantastic community in which to raise a transracially blended family,” says the father of (now grown) adopted children from Vietnam, Sri Lanka and India. [Arlington Magazine]
Clarendon Post Office Murals — A local man has written a 44-page book on the artist who painted seven New Deal-era murals in the Clarendon post office. [Washington Post]
Reporting Issues to the County — Arlington County is reminding residents that they can report out-of-sync traffic signals, crosswalks with broken buttons and other non-emergency service requests via an online form. [Twitter]
Artomatic, a free, unjuried creative arts event that invites artists to display their work — usually in large, vacant buildings — is returning to Crystal City.
The event, which was previously held in Crystal City in 2007 and 2012, will take place over the course of six weeks in the spring at 1800 S. Bell Street, the Crystal City Business Improvement District announced today. Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to visit the 100,000-square-foot arts space over the course of the event.
“The return of Artomatic to Crystal City demonstrates the area’s continued growth and development as an artistic and innovative laboratory,” said Angela Fox, CEO of the Crystal City BID. “Artomatic’s mission aligns with the BID’s efforts to transform our community into a place where people are inspired to create their own masterpieces.”
Dubbed a “playground for artistic expression,” Artomatic is known for its massive size and range of often-eclectic creative works, including visual art, music, film, live performance, fashion and more.
From a press release:
The Crystal City BID made its first massive splash onto the creative stage in 2007 by luring Artomatic across the river and helping them host their biggest art happening up to that time…
The 2007 and 2012 editions attracted over 35,000 and 75,000 visitors, respectively, and over a thousand artists for each run. Artomatic 2017 will be in approximately 100,000 square feet of space provided by Vornado/Charles E. Smith at 1800 S. Bell Street. Artomatic is anticipated to attract another large and diverse crowd given its proximity to metro, free parking after 4 p.m., and location among dozens of restaurants and watering holes.
The new location also has the benefit of an entrance along the interior concourse of Crystal City and part of the Art Underground. Launched in 2013 to transform Crystal City’s interior concourse into a vibrant arts and cultural destination, the Art Underground includes Synetic Theater, the 1200-foot long FotoWalk Underground, ArtJamz Underground, the Gallery Underground, TechShop, and Studios Underground which provides work space for two dozen artists.
The dates for the 2017 installment of Artomatic are expected to be announced within a few weeks.
The employees at Winking Fish have a knack for thinking “outside the bowl” to make you notice a business. Other people’s businesses, that is.
If you have lived in, worked in, eaten in or passed through Arlington during the past eight years, the odds are good that you’ve spotted the creative strategy and design firm’s work at least once.
Perhaps you’ve seen their branding and design work for the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, such as the lamppost banners and marketing materials for popular events like the farmer’s market, wine and craft beer festival, movie nights and jazz festival. Or maybe it’s the menus and promotional items they design for Vintage Restaurants Group — which owns Ragtime, Rhodeside Grill and William Jeffrey’s Tavern in Arlington and Dogwood Tavern in Falls Church. They also do pro bono work for the Arlington Free Clinic.
Director of strategy and engagement Maria Gallagher says working with local clients — in addition to national clients like LinkedIn and the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund — is important to the whole four-person Winking Fish team.
“We’ve got a pretty solid mix of some nationally-based clients… and a really nice mix of local Arlington businesses,” she says. “It’s nice when you’re supporting the businesses around you and then you’re seeing your work in action, too.”
The Winking Fish employees’ tasks vary a bit from day to day, but they all revolve around developing and maintaining businesses’ identities. Gallagher spends her time contemplating communications and messaging strategies while art director Parisa Damian sketches out ideas and digitally designs marketing materials.
Meanwhile, senior graphic designer Robyn Davis examines color swatches to determine which visual elements fit best with a particular client’s style. “I haven’t been able to do anything ‘pretty’ in a while because I came from an academic environment where it can be kind of boring,” Davis says. “It’s nice to be able to do different kinds of work.”
There is one thing, though, that remains the same each day: The team members get a lot of “together time.” A lot of together time.
Gallagher is married to Winking Fish principal Kieran Daly, and they’ve been friends with Damian and Davis for years. The four work together in a row of three adjacent offices and spend time together outside of work. Plus, they have lunch together nearly every day — sometimes on-site in the MakeOffices Clarendon lunchroom and sometimes at nearby restaurants. “It’s kind of nice to have that break and down time together,” Gallagher says.
Having an office in the coworking space has strengthened not only their connections with each other, but also with other businesses at MakeOffices Clarendon.
“Within two weeks [of moving here] we had a new website client,” Daly says. Fostering such connections was part of the whole plan, Gallagher explains. “That is one of the reasons we were thinking about a space like this, for the business networking it naturally promotes,” she says.
In addition to drumming up new clients, being in the coworking space creates an environment for learning different business strategies. “There’s a lot of natural opportunity to get different perspectives on running a small business. That’s a big plus,” Daly says.
One learning opportunity the Winking Fish employees especially appreciate is the once-a-month breakfast MakeOffices hosts, which includes various tenants as guest speakers.
“I went to one of those and realized I had no idea that kind of business was here in the building,” Gallagher says. “It’s nice to hear about those working models and how people are challenged and overcoming some challenges.”
For a creative firm like Winking Fish, image really is everything. The team finds that the coworking space portrays a positive, professional image to clients who visit. “It’s always fun to bring someone in here for the first time,” Gallagher says. “Everyone always comments on the energy. It’s vibrant.”
Daly explains that even though Winking Fish was in its previous building for five years, the space wasn’t very conducive to interacting with the other people there. “There really is a great energy change for us,” he says.
A standalone space also doesn’t offer the same flexibility, Daly says. “As a smaller business it’s nice to be able to have the option to add another office a couple of doors down if we need to and not be locked into a five-year term on an office space that might be too big or too small.”
And as an added bonus, “We don’t have to empty the dishwasher,” he says, laughing.
On a calm summer night a few months ago, just after the Fourth of July, a big, century-old tree toppled over, blocking a street and knocking out power to much of the Ashton Heights neighborhood.
Fast forward to today and something cool has come from the tree’s unfortunate demise.
Local chainsaw artist Andrew Mallon has turned part of the big tree — the stump of which remains horizontal in a front yard along the 500 block of N. Lincoln Street — into a sculpture of a two-headed dragon.
The sculpture has captured the neighborhood’s imagination and is clearly an object of fascination for the homeowners’ young son, who was outside admiring it with a caretaker when ARLnow.com stopped by yesterday afternoon.
Mallon, who grew up two blocks from the home, says the family was “disappointed” that the tree fell down, but specifically asked whether it could be kept for posterity, in dragon form.
“They asked if a dragon with a horn was a possibility,” Mallon said. “They wanted a carving the kids could play on that also included a bench for the adults to enjoy. I thought it was a great idea and quickly started thinking of different ways to incorporate all the elements the family wanted.”
“This carving has really been an amazing piece to work on and I couldn’t be happier it is living at a great home, with a fun loving family, in my old neighborhood,” continued Mallon. “I have to be honest the 10 year old in me is a little jealous I didn’t have a dragon to play on as a child.”
Before the carving could begin, Mallon said, a crane had to be brought into remove the four-ton tree from the street. After that, the design was finalized: a dragon with two heads and a kid-friendly saddle.
“To fit the design in the log I had to start the carving by leveling out the bottom and removing about 1,000 pounds from it,” said Mallon. “After being properly leveled, I used my largest saw to block out the heads, body, and tail. Once the general shape was there I was able to switch to a smaller saw to begin working on the details. This includes the playful faces, tail, saddle, etc.”
“I still have some details like the scales to complete, but will be waiting to finish them until we can put the dragon in its permanent location,” he added. “Once the carving is finished I will burn it to add depth and color. This will be followed by a nice sanding, to prevent splinters, and finished with an outdoor sealer to protect the carving from the elements so it lasts for years to come.”
Arlington Searching for Ultimate Frisbee Coaches — With ultimate frisbee approved as a new school-sponsored sport, Arlington Public Schools in now on the hunt for frisbee coaches at each of its middle and high schools. [InsideNova]
Dems Hold Unity Event — Arlington Democrats are presenting a unified front heading into election season. After a bruising primary, both County Board Chair Libby Garvey and her once-challenger, Erik Gutshall, attended a Democratic unity event at the house of County Board member Jay Fisette last night. [Twitter, Twitter]
‘Tranquility’ in Crystal City Underground — Gallery Underground, the subterranean art gallery in the Crystal City Shops, is preparing for its next exhibit, on the theme of “Tranquility.” The month-long art show starts Sept. 1. [Gallery Underground]
Photo courtesy Eric LeKuch
Former Mansion Owner is In Jail — Rodney Hunt, the man who once owned the $23 million Arlington mansion that’s being used to throw large parties (and which was recently sold at a foreclosure auction), is currently in the Arlington County jail. Hunt was ordered to spend 90 days in jail earlier this month for violating his parole. An attorney says Hunt doesn’t know anything about the parties. [Washington Post]
Tourists Can’t Handle the Heat at the Cemetery — Anytime it gets sufficiently toasty outside, medical calls to Arlington National Cemetery become frequent. Tourists at the cemetery regularly suffer heat-related ailments that require paramedic dispatches during the summer. The cemetery is advising visitors to wear sunscreen and bring a bottle of water during the warm weather months. [Twitter]
Airbnb Is Costing Arlington Tax Revenue — Arlington County has yet to figure out a good way to get those renting out their homes on Airbnb to pay the county’s 5.25 percent lodging tax, which is paid by hotels and should be paid by Airbnb hosts. “Very few of the folks who should be paying taxes have stepped up to fork over the money,” reports Michael Pope. [WVTF]
Art Murals in Crystal City — Crystal City has more than two dozen outdoor art murals, implemented by the Crystal City Business Improvement District. The murals are part of an effort to “visually revitalize the area,” which is noted for being something of a concrete canyon. [Curbed]
Teacher Salaries By School — A list shows the average teacher salary, by school, at Arlington Public Schools. Topping the list is Kenmore Middle School, at $80,411. At the bottom of the list is the Arlington Mill high school program, at $61,731. [Patch]
APS Finance Chief Wins Award — Leslie Peterson, the assistant superintendent for finance and management at Arlington Public Schools, is one of three officials in the U.S. to receive the 2016 Pinnacle of Achievement Award from the Association of School Business Officials International. [InsideNova]
Amtrak Police Chief Shared Apartment With ‘Alleged Boyfriend’ — Amtrak Police Chief Polly Hanson, who’s under investigation for fraud and conflict of interest, reportedly shared an Arlington apartment with her “alleged boyfriend,” a senior director at a contractor that Amtrak hired under Hanson’s supervision. The two also are said to have co-owned a condo in Dewey Beach, Del. [Washington Post]
The Arlington County Board on Saturday is set to consider the purchase of an “arts truck.” In a staff report, officials said the truck could bring the arts to various locations across the country, partially filling the void left by the closure of the Artisphere in Rosslyn.
“When closing the Artisphere, the County Manager and County Board made a commitment to continue programming for artistic and cultural events, specifically through the use of mobile and periodic programming along major commercial corridors,” says the staff report. “Cultural Affairs staff believes that an Arts Truck that delivers innovative, professionally-curated pop-up style arts events is an excellent mechanism for expanding the reach of arts, entertainment and culture throughout the Arlington community.”
Potential arts truck programming could include:
- “Pop-up visual arts exhibits”
- “Lunchtime mini-concerts”
- “Lounge and learn educational and civic programming”
- “Temporary public art activities”
The truck is expected to cost about $55,000. Another $14,000 is being allocated for one-time costs and “pilot programming.”
Nearly $30,000 of the costs is being provided by donations that were made to Artisphere but never spent. Close to $40,000 is being provided by existing Arlington County arts funds.
“While the Artisphere was in operation, the [Arlington Community Foundation], on behalf of the County, managed a fund dedicated to Artisphere donations,” says the staff report. “Now that the Artisphere has closed, the remaining balance in the fund must be used in a manner consistent with the intent of the fund – to support innovative cultural programming throughout the County. After consulting with both ACF and public stakeholders, Cultural Affairs staff have determined that an Arts Truck providing such cultural programming in the major commercial corridors would broaden the reach of arts in the community and complement existing arts outreach.”
ArtJamz Underground Studio, a new “paint and sip” studio, will be opening next Friday, July 15, in Crystal City.
Located in the Crystal City Shops, at 2105-B Crystal Plaza Arcade, the 1,000 square foot public art studio and lounge will offer freestyle paint sessions, guided classes, and other private and public special events.
Studio time for customers includes art materials, an easel, a smock, two complimentary glasses of wine or one beer and local artists that are on hand to give tips and guidance.
“We really encourage original art, for people to create something unique,” said founder and CEO Michael Clements. “Our tagline is unleash your inner artist because we want our studios to be as close to what an artist would experience in their studio.”
Customers can choose from six different canvas sizes — and they’re also allowed to paint on the walls. Just for fun, fake artist mustaches and berets are offered at an additional charge.
“Our mission is make the world a more creative place,” said Clements.
Customers can book sessions online. Until opening night, ArtJamz is offering a special where patrons can book sessions using the promo code “opening16” to receive 20 percent off a reservation.