By Kelly MacConomy
Alexandria,VA- September’s sweet summer finale is barely a memory when fall kicks in fast and furious, with pumpkin lattes, Halloween gear stocking shelves, and turning leaves beginning to drop. It’s back to business in the art world. Fall art festivals and autumnal happenings are spilling all over our suddenly slammed calendars.
Ever popular and packed, the 17th annual King Street Art Festival returned for the weekend of September 21 and 22. More than $15 million worth of original art was on exhibit throughout the two day festival, which spanned Washington Street to the Torpedo Factory. In its second year at the festival, the Beer and Wine Torpedo Garden served up Port City Beer, Lost Boy Cider, and fine wine selections from King Street’s own Sonoma Cellar. The event was free for all, including canine art aficionados.
Nights on the Edge, the National Gallery of Art’s East Wing monthly after-hours swinging soirée, returned for the fall season September 12, but it has a new name: NGA Nights. The September theme, Back to School, featured popular prom and school dance music. Guests could take a spin on the dance floor to the summer jams with DJ Heat or the NGA trivia wheel to win a prize. Pop-up art talks were a happening, as well as a conversation with podcast hosts of Stuff You Missed in School’s Tracey Wilson and Holly Frey discussing the color blue. Cool for Art school was back in session at full capacity with Learning to Draw 101 held in the Picasso gallery.
These free, second Thursday NGA Nights craft and cocktail dance parties book up in a New York minute. October’s theme is Art History Mysteries, October 10 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. November 14’s theme is Throwback, a nostalgic celebration of all things cultural, circa the 1990s. Reserve a space for you and a guest in advance by visiting the website: [email protected]
Back across the moat, Del Ray Artisans Gallery has a new Halloween-themed show on exhibit for October. Art Inspired by the Twilight Zone is curated by Gordon Thomas Frank, who conceived and curated the diverting Clowning Around DRA exhibit last August. Works on display have been inspired by the iconic television show created and hosted by Rod Serling that aired from 1959–1964.
The TV show has been rebooted this year by Jordan Peele, director and writer of the acclaimed horror films Get Out and US, making the exhibit theme all the more timely. The Twilight Zone is on exhibit through October 27.
Artbot is cranking up the esoteric ghoulishness all month long, and thereafter. Part tattoo art salon/part provocative art space, Artbot is off the beaten path in the recently redeveloped building at 1012 Madison Street, next to Chop Shop Taco in Parker-Gray. Previously located on King Street, the new gallery kickstarts a promising art and entertainment vibe for the area. Madison Social is across the street, with the fashionable speakeasy Captain Gregory’s a few doors away on North Henry Street.
The space showcases eclectic, progressive work. Not your grandmother’s pretty-picture framed landscape or even Grandma Moses’s naive scenery. More like James Dean and Evel Kneivel a la Day of the Dead homages. Or Frankenstein juxtaposed with Hedy Lamar and David Bowie mashup portraits. Featured artists include Jorge R. Gutierrez, Brian J. Hoffman, Perilla, Mike Bell, and Geoffrey Gersten. Marlowe Tattoo shares the space. Come for the art. Stay for the tattoo.
Back at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, which is celebrating 45 years since conversion from a World War I munitions plant, the newly founded Marian Van Landingham Gallery was officially dedicated September 12. Marian was the die-hard engine who spearheaded founding of the Torpedo Factory Artists Association, in addition to overseeing redevelopment of the world famous art center in 1974. When she wasn’t representing Alexandria in Richmond as Delegate for the 45th District, Marian was and has long been a very successful painter.
Marian has witnessed decades of change from her third floor studio overlooking the Potomac and National Harbor. The new gallery has been named in perpetuity for her legacy of public service and dedication to the arts community in Port City. Concurrent with the dedication, Marian exhibited her paintings in the gallery that bears her name. A heartfelt standing ovation of appreciation for Marian Van Landingham’s outstanding contributors to our community.
Autumn in Alexandria and the DMV offers a cornucopia of art happenings. Check published schedules and online calendars. Zebra is a great source. Crayon in those dates. Then, while out and about foliage foraging, take time to stop and enjoy the splendor of the head turning art on view. The art scene is must see this fall. Find your art!