Art Newz & Eventz

Spring Swings Into the Summer of Art Lovers

Edward Hopper comes to mind when viewing Amtrak View, acrylic on canvas, by Lucy Shaiken on exhibit at the Nepenthe Gallery. (Photo Nepenthe Gallery)

Alexandria, VA – The spring art season around the DMV has been a wet one. The May 18th “A Vintage Affair at the Canal Center Plaza” was a washout, also canceling the viewing of the ALX 275/Party for the Arts exhibit ongoing at the Gallery at the Canal. Center. Day one of the annual and ever-popular DC Museum Walk took a the-show-must-go-on disposition toward the day’s inclement weather.

Free admission to art aficionado faves such as The Phillips Collection, DuPont Underground and the exclusive Mansion on O Street saw umbrella-armed queues stretching around Dupont Circle all day long. It was during the final weeks of the Bonnard exhibition at the Phillips and folks were more than amenable to waiting in line despite relentless rain for an admission-free day at the museum.

A ballroom entrance at The Mansion on O Street. Musical memorabilia and art fill the over 100 rooms. Although this isn’t one of the 80 secret doors – or is it? (Photo Kelly MacConomy)

If you have never visited The Mansion on O Street, just a block off DuPont Circle, make a plan to do so. Purchased first as a single townhouse built in 1892 by Edwin Clark, architect of the US Capitol, the house has been witness to a lot of changes in its one-hundred-thirty-two years. It opened for business Valentine’s Day, 1980 by art aficionado H H Leonard using credit cards and the generosity of friends and family willing to invest in her unwavering passion and vision. Over the years H greatly expanded the original historic townhome, which has housed the artistic as well as the rich and famous, from J. Edgar Hoover’s G-men to Rosa Parks to legends of Rock and Roll. (Leonard’s given name is as closely guarded a secret as any ever kept in Washington!) It is still a hotel as well as a museum/gallery.

All the art and decorative tchotchkes on display and adorning the walls, floors, ceilings and shelves are for sale, including the artwork created by guests – but not the two Tiffany windows uncovered during renovation. Art abounds. Yet the main attraction is the 80 hidden doors and passages secreted in possibly every and any nook and cranny throughout the over 100 rooms in the manse – some as expansive as an entire brick wall, others so diminutive that only a faerie or sprite might pass.

With so many famous guests throughout its eclectic history, rumors that the Mansion is haunted are to be expected. It had been decades since my last visit to the Mansion. Back in the 80s it was a coveted invitation, if only to spot the glitterati and be seen by all, even a spectral somebody. While touring the swimming pool this time, one hapless guest suddenly and inexplicably lost hold of his iPhone which flew from his grip into a forbidden deep dive. Book a room or a tea party at the Mansion on O Street for that special occasion. Tell us all about it! Photography IS permitted by H – perhaps Rosa Parks or John Lennon objects when taking a dip.

Just outside the Torpedo Factory at Waterfront Park sits the 2024 installation Interstellar Influencer (Make an Impact) by New York artists Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang. In this homage to an asteroid that once struck the area, the artists employed rusted metal with water and light interplay to emulate a rock-like configuration. This piece is sixth in an annual series of public artworks through the Site See: New Views in Old Town program organized by the City Office of the Arts.

Painting on exhibit by Galactic Panther artist Marija Djakovicat the Alexandria Arts Alliance Party for the Arts show at the Canal Center Gallery. (Photo Kelly MacConomy)

The Alexandria Arts Alliance celebration of Alexandria’s 275th anniversary at the Canal Center Gallery continues through June 30, 2024. The gallery will be open Saturday, June 8, 11am — 3pm, Saturday, June 15, 1am — 6pm, and again on June 28 with a closing reception from 4 — 8pm. Art from artists affiliated with art spaces across Alexandria represent in all media what Alexandria means to them. The expansive show spotlights everyone from emerging artists from Alexandria galleries to seasoned professionals who also exhibit around the globe.

Prices range from as little as $50 to several thousand. There’s art for all tastes and bank accounts! Stop by the Canal Center Gallery Wednesday, June 5 from 10am — 1pm for a complimentary coffee break generously hosted by Park & Perk and Just Fine Donuts. All are welcome to both the coffee break and closing reception.

Grand Central V, oil on board by Geoffrey Johnson on exhibit at the Principle Gallery in Old Town. (Photo Kelly MacConomy)

It’s All About Love this month at Del Ray Artisans. Curated by T. J. Feeley, the message of this exhibit is love is love is…. ya know, LOVE! Love in all its diversity. June is Pride Month as well as the celebration of the national holiday of Juneteenth, commemorating the date upon which the news of freedom for over 250,000 enslaved people reached Texas. Juneteenth is America’s second Independence Day.

To quote the curator, “As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously noted, Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Come to Del Ray Artisans gallery and explore love depicted in all media by a diverse presentation of artists and artisans. Father’s Day is coming up along with gifting for those very special graduates and brides and grooms. Show them some love by giving them the art of love!

All About Love is on exhibit from June 7 — June 30, 2024 with an opening reception Friday, June 7 from 7 — 9pm. There will also be a sneak-peek preview during Jumping into Summer at First Thursday, June 6, in Del Ray when the gallery is open until 9pm. From 6:30 until 8pm there will be a family-friendly activity, Jumping into the Summer of Love. Visitors are invited to make tie-dyed paper origami art.

Nepenthe Gallery kicks off the summer of 2024 on June 6th when Caroline Rufo visits to discuss her upcoming art wrap of the entire Boston Seaport building. In addition to site plans and photography, sketches, and layouts of the facade of the building, Ms. Rufo will also be exhibiting her new artwork.

At the Nepenthe Wine Gallery 108 in Old Town, Summer Solstice 2024 opens on Thursday, June 20 and runs only through Sunday, June 23. These six local artists will exhibit their work for the summer solstice celebration: Camille Ashkenazi, Cecilia Calestamy, Gene Robbin’s, Zebra’s own Bob Murray, Eleanor Snyder, and Catherine Zimmerman.

Meet Lucy Shaiken, an emerging artist from Philadelphia,on June 27th at the Nepenthe Gallery’s other location on Fort Hunt Road. Lucy was awarded an Illuminate the Arts Grant by the City of Philadelphia’s Office of the Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy.

The Principle Gallery on King Street held a reception for gallery favorite artist Geoffrey Johnson. His vibrant interior compositions juxtaposed with his stark, haunting landscapes resonate with Principle regulars, evoking a dichotomy of imagery that haunts your dreams.

The Johnson solo exhibit closes June 10, followed by the opening of another Principle regular, GC Myers, whose 2024 show is celebrating his iconic red tree. Continuum: The Red Tree at 25 shines a spotlight on the pervasive symbol of the fragility and fleeting nature of life in Myers’s work. This is the 25th annual solo exhibition for the self-taught Myers in the thirty years since the prestigious gallery founding in 1994. There’s an opening reception for Continuum on June 14 from 6 —8;30pm. The exhibit closes July 1, 2024.

Back at the Torpedo Factory, Printmaker’s Inc. is proud to present Patrick Sargent’s latest exhibit Doleful Whimsey which he describes as the place where sadness meets playfulness on paper. Balance is also thematic in this exhibit as Sargent delves into the depth and breadth of human emotions that are so often simultaneously conflicted and opposed.

Sargent’s artwork is unique in its presentation as the contrapuntal expression portrayals produced via relief prints, cyanotypes (a type of lens-free photography using UV light to print white and Prussian-blue images on paper), and silkscreens are either AI generated or hand- rendered. Given that they are hung on painted boards, the effect achieves a simulated postered urban wall appearance in the studio. Many of these prints are free with free workshops open to the public scheduled throughout the exhibit run.

Interstellar Influencer (Makes an Impact), the sixth public art installation on view at Waterfront Park, is intriguing visitors and residents alike with its extraterrestrial aura. (Photo Kelly MacConomy)

Doleful Whimsey is on exhibit at the Torpedo Factory through June 30, 2024. There is a closing reception June 28 from 3 — 6pm. You can attend this event before heading over to the Gallery at the Canal Center where the ALX 275 exhibit is hosting their reception until 8pm.

There’s 30 days in June. Given a month full of graduations and weddings on the calendar,

take a little time to view some or all of the great artful activities and creative enticements around town. Sweet summer days were meant to be savored.

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Kelly MacConomy

Kelly MacConomy is the Arts Editor for The Zebra Press.

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