Thursday, August 13, 2009

Saturday: 100 Artists to Paint DC's Largest Public Art Mural

The capital’s largest public art event is happening this Saturday, from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM with over 100 muralists, artists, and the public painting a wall larger than a football field in the Edgewood neighborhood in Northeast.

The Edgewood Mural Jam is sponsored by the public art non-profit Albus Cavus and the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities, the Mayor's Summer Youth Employment Program, Liquitex, Beacon House, District Department of Transportation, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, and the Rhode Island Avenue Shopping Center.

The event is for all ages and will feature activities for children, good food, a community area for everyone who comes to pick up a brush and paint, and there will be DJs with music for entertainment.

What: Edgewood Mural Jam
Who: 100 public artists and the community painting a wall bigger than a football field
Where: Rhode Island Avenue Shopping Center, 680 Rhode Island Ave NE (behind the stores), next to Rhode Island WMATA Station on Red Line
When: Saturday, August 15, 10:00 am to 8:00 PM

The DC community is invited to participate in the largest interactive public art event of the summer by meeting the artists, watching them work, and picking up a paintbrush to join in.

Over the last eight weeks in DC, artists Decoy, Quest Skinner, Pose 2, Chor Boogie and Joshua Mays have been leading a group of young people from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Summer Youth Employment Program to develop, design, and create a mural for the DC community. "From Edgewood to the Edge of the World" is the anchor art piece that reflects the souls of the artists and invites the public to imagine a new world. The Edgewood Mural Jam will nearly double the size of public art piece in one day as 100 artists have been invited to contribute their art. The mural walls are visible from the Rhode Island WMATA metro station on the Red Line and along the new Metropolitan Branch Trail.

Details here.

For the Torpedo Factory: The Star Trek Effect

One of the most unusual things that one notices as a gallerist, especially if the gallery is lucky enough to be able to afford a street level storefront and to have a large window or glass front to the street, is what I've previously called "the Star Trek effect."

In Star Trek, humans have developed the force field technology, which in most cases obviates the need for glass or some sort of transparent physical protection in a window or opening. Instead they have transparent force fields that allows the ship to have a window or door to the beauties of space, but without glass or plastic, and instead using an invisible force field to keep the vacuum of space out and Trekkers in. They also use it instead of jail bars, etc.

In the gallery world, sometimes an invisible force field envelops the gallery as well.

For example, in the case of either of my two former galleries, both the one in Georgetown and the one in Bethesda, there was ample viewing space from the outside, as both galleries have a large glass front, in Bethesda's case, wrapped all around the gallery space.

This gives the gallerist inside a perfect view of everything going on outside the gallery. And it gives people outside the gallery a decent view of the art inside the space. Quickly one notices a pattern: people will cup their hands to block out out the sun's glint and then look inside. They do this rather than stepping into the gallery and looking at the work directly. If it was a shoe store, they'd walk in; a gallery is more of a challenge.

Another example: In Bethesda the gallery is in a plaza surrounded by other businesses. Once a month or so, our neighbor, formerly Discovery Channel and now Comcast, would have a fire drill and hundreds of people would be milling around the gallery in the plaza. Dozens and dozens of them would have their hands cupped and peering inside from the outside.

I would then get up and prop open the gallery doors, and an even more curious thing would happen. Someone would stand just at the door, and lean forward into the gallery and look in, without actually stepping in. The Star Trek field is in full effect now.

Realizing that I had forgotten to turn the force field off, I would then walk in and out of the gallery a couple of times. This has the magical effect of turning off the field from the inside, and suddenly dozens of persons, seeing an actual human come in and out of the gallery unharmed, would pour in.

Last weekend I walked around the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria, brought there to look at the exceptional show at the Target Gallery. While I was there I spoke to various artists about the troubles that are facing the TF these days.

I also walked around the TF itself, trying to see if anything stood out to my eye as one potential and easy improvement.

As soon as I walked outside to look at the beauty of the Potomac River, it jumped out at me.

The beautiful plaza outside the TF and around the river was crawling with people, entertainers, families, tourists, etc. It was packed!

The doors that connect the Torpedo Factory to this plaza were closed. Not locked, but closed and need to be pulled/pushed to be opened in order for people from the outside to step into the Factory. Not only that, but they certainly could use a paint job.

The simplest solution sometimes stares us in the face. You want more people to come inside the TF? Then open the doors to the outside during the milder months! That alone won't solve the problem, but it will help. Trust me!

Try this next weekend and see what wonders it makes in improving the traffic flow to the Factory.

Oh yeah... if you forget to turn the force field off, just send a couple of artists to walk in and out of the Factory every couple of hours or so.

Wanna go to a DC opening this Friday?

"My Space on 7th" opens at Touchstone Gallery with an opening reception on Friday, August 14, from 6-8:30pm with an open exhibition featuring 90 local artists:

Sangeeta Agrawal, Nataliya Andreyeva, Neyla Arnas, Keith Arnold, Olu Babalola, Crystal Banks, David Barr, Mark Behme, Pat Bennett, Gary Bergel, Olga Berman, Carl Bettenhausen, Harmon Biddle, Wendy Bridges, Marsha Brown, Kirstin L Bruner, Alza Burd, Pierre Cartier, August ShowAdam Chamy, Zhee Chatmon, Anne Cherubim, Rob Chester, Mark S. Chevalier, James Coates, Ceci Cole McInturff, Michele Cormier, Charlie Dale, Anthony Dortch, Matt Dunn, Derran Eaddy, Linda Elliff, Michelle Fatovic, Alex Feshenko, Isabelle Spicer, Kim Frietze, Kent Gay, Eric M. Ginsburg, Marcia Green, JoAnne Growney, Jackie Hoysted, Sandra Humphrey, Carin A. Jackson, Jessica Jastrzebski, jodi, Linda Keller, David Korte, David A. Kosar, Radha Krishnakumar, Mary D. Lambert, Paula Lantz, Emery J. Lewis, Mary Mallia, Frank M. Mancino, Amy Marshall, JoAnn McInnis, Ivan Mendizabal, Mark Mennie, Anita Merina, David Mills, Del Moran, Kiran Mukunda, Carlos Munoz, Natalie Oguara, Mary D. Ott, Samuel Pastore, Wendy Plotkin-Mates, Keith Ramsey, Juvale Regala, Marina Reiter, Neil Rogers, Pam Rogers, Julia Rosenbaum, Deborah Saks, Zakhar Sasim, Peter Schechter, Charles A. Sessoms, Amelia Shachoy, Paul Sharratt, Janathel Shaw, Raju Singh, John Sislin, Destry Sparks, Aaron Spindler, Ulrich Stein, Elena Tchernomazova, Dana Thompson, Sally ShangMing Tsou, Caroline Urbania, Susan Van Pool and Monica Wise.

Details here.