Del Ray Artisans: What’s Old is New Again at “New Beginnings” Exhibit, Now through Feb 24

By Kelly MacConomy

On the heels of the first fabulous show of the new year, “Faces”, at Del Ray Artisans, curator Tracy Wilkerson knocked this month’s upcycling theme of using recycling and re-purposed materials out of the box. “New Beginnings” opened February 1st to an enthusiastic crowd undeterred by the snow-covered sidewalks and icy roads.

Delicious opening night reception exotic fare generously provided by Palette 22 in Arlington. (Photo by Kelly MacConomy)

According to the “New Beginnings” exhibit prospectus, the EPA estimates that 75 percent of the American waste stream is recyclable.  Only 30 percent of that is actually re-purposed.

Online upcycle purveyors such as Ebay, Craigslist, and Let It Go have reduced solid waste collection substantially. Popular shows such as Shabby Chic, Antiques Roadshow, Martha Stewart Living, and even Pawn Stars, segueing to Storage Wars and Berry D. Treasure, Beverly Hills Pawn, Pawn Queens, and now Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, increased interest in raiding those lost attics and seized storage units for forgotten treasures – reducing non-recyclable landfill waste sites from mountainscapes to hills.

New Beginnings curator Tracy Wilkinson addresses the opening night crowd. (Photo by Kelly MacConomy)

Artists always and forever on the progressive frontline of ingenuity have long made creative use of unwanted and discarded items: construction materials, home furnishings, manufacturing remnants, flea markets and thrift shops lost and found. Popular giveaway sites such as and Buy Nothing are a picker paradise.

Tracy Wilkerson envisioned a show to challenge the parameters of framed and traditional artwork. The entry requirements were that at least half of the submitted artwork medium materials be recycled, reused, “found” or deconstructed from older pieces of art recreated into new masterpieces.

The end result is fun, exciting, engaging, and interactively diverse artwork on exhibit in the tireless cooperative nonprofit gallery on Mount Vernon Avenue in the heart of Del Ray. If you haven’t been to the Del Ray Artisans Gallery lately you haven’t been to the Del Ray Artisans Gallery!!

There are some interesting workshops affiliated with the exhibit theme that are open to the public:

*Wire-Wrapped Gemstone and Crystal Rings Workshop on February 7, 6-8 pm

*Making Cards Workshop on February 10, 6-8 pm
Very popular last month during the shutdown!

*Found It ~ Make It ~ Wear It (jewelry) Workshop
February 12, 7-9 pm

*Playing with Resin Workshop on February 19, 6-9 pm

Del Ray Artisans Exterior (Photo by Visit Alexandria)

Del Ray Artisans

is at 3704 Mount Vernon Avenue in the Del Ray section of Alexandria.

Gallery Hours are Thursday 12-6 pm
Fridays and Saturday’s 12-9 pm
Sunday 12-6 pm

The Gallery is free and ADA accessible.
Come on over!


Kelly MacConomy

Kelly MacConomy is the Arts Editor for The Zebra Press.

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