Weekend East City Event Round Up: The Art of Sound, Handwriting and Conversation Edition

Thursday, July 24

Washington Project for the Arts - 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This Thursday, WPA presents the sixth installment of the Lobby Project with the work of artist Anthony Palliparambil, Jr. The exhibition features 280 prints created solely on an iPad examining the role technology and social media play in the arts. For more information about the artist and the exhibit, click here.

The exhibition is located at 1200 1st St. NE.

Transformer and Artisphere - 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Transformer and Artisphere present the culmination of sounds created during the three months of the Exercises For Emerging Artists program, which focused on artists working with sound art. E11: Coda is the final movement in this process and will be on display for three weeks at Artisphere's Terrace Gallery. To read more about this exhibition, click here.

Artisphere is located at 1101 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA.

Saturday, July 26

Harmony Hall Regional Center - 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Artist Tom Kenyon will be at Harmony Hall Regional Center for the final day of the exhibit, Dreams of Speed. His artist talk delves into his inspiration for the imaginary racing exploits of the real Kenyon Motor Company. For details on this event, click here.

Harmony Hall Regional Center is located at 10701 Livingston Road, Fort Washington, MD.

Pleasant Plains Workshop - 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Join Pleasant Plains Workshop to celebrate the art of handwriting with artist Danielle Scruggs. Make sure you bring along your favorite passage of text, a poem, or a letter to transcribe. For more information about this wokrshop, click here.  (Note this is in Brookland, not on Georgia Avenue). 

Pleasant Plains is located at 2608 Georgia Avenue NW

Bursting in Air! - 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Artists will turn the Route 1 Overpass into a focal point for the Gateway Arts District. Spend the afternoon celebrating this unique event with live music, performances, and refreshments. To read more about this event, click here.

Bursting in Air is located at Franklin’s parking lot at the railroad overpass on Route 1 in Hyattsville, MD.

Project4 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Everyware explores the work of three artists collaborating through social media to create pieces that are in constant change and dialogue. The works of Aaron Cahill, William Deegan, and Lynette Jackson reflect on contemporary issues and reevaluate the mundane or overlooked in our cities. For more information, click here.

Project4 is located at 1353 U Street NW, Suite 302

Jess Oros is the Production Manager of East City Art.  You can get more information about East City Art on Facebook by following them on Twitter or click here to sign up for their newsletter.

Photo Credit: Dreams of Speed concludes this Saturday at Harmony Hall with an artist talk by Tom Kenyon. Image courtesy of the artist.

5 Things That Might Be Kinda Fun... I Hope!

Although I will sadly be up in NY for Art Southampton... Here are 5 things that would be fun for an ArtSee weekend: 

1. TONIGHT... If you don't have plans... Head over to Arlington at Artisphere for E11: Coda opening with Transformer 7-9 pm [link] 
2. Also TONIGHT Anthony Palliparambil, Jr. opens his WPA Lobby Project from 6-8 pm [link] (photo credit!)
3. On SATURDAY night Project 4 Gallery on U St opens Everyware from 6:30-8:30 pm [link]
4. Bursting in Air and art, music, food and beer extravaganza will be SATURDAY from 3-8 pm in Hyattsville, MD [link]
5. Persephone, curated by DC' Eames Armstrong at Capital Fringe, closes this SUNDAY with a performance in collaboration with Hayley Cutler at 7 pm [link]


Bringing the Art in DC to You, 


This Weekend: Live From NY... It's ArtSee

Even though I'm physically in NY checking out PULSE and other fairs... Here are the 5 things I recommend for the weekend in DC and I'm sorry to miss them! 

1. For a post happy hour trek to Arlington at Artisphere check out Fermata THURSDAY 7 - 9 pm [link]
2. FRIDAY: Carroll Square opens show featuring Mariella Bisson, Ashlynn Browning, Amber Robles-Gordon & Deborah Zlotsky  [link]
3. Head down to Vivid Solutions FRIDAY from 6-9 pm for the opening of the show curated by MAMBU BADU [link]
4. 16"x16" is artdc's latest exhibition encouraging creative freedom, opening SATURDAY 12-2 pm [link]
5. Our good friend Amy Hughes Braden is asking "Are You Gonna Eat That?" opening SATURDAY at 6 pm [link and photo credit]

Bringing the Art in DC to You (from NY), 


Will You Be My Valentine? "Knock It Off"

If you are looking for somewhere interesting and artistic to take a date on Valentine's Day, check out Artisphere in Rossyln. Artisphere claims to be "where people and art collide" and hosts gallery space in addition to its main function as a performance art venue. There are currently five mini-shows at Artisphere that are very distinct and a pleasure to peruse. 

The featured image is from the the show "#COPING" by artist Claire Briggs. The show displays colorful crocheted quilts of various sizes with everyday expressions woven into them. The show is very tongue-and-cheek and incorporates very popular phrases that can be used casually but have strong impacts. The cheery colors of the weavings such as pale pink and sunny yellow are in direct contrast with the words interwoven, in this case, "BITCHES BE CRAZY." The show plays a lot with the common linguistics of our time and is sure to entertain the viewer while also prodding the viewer to think about the language they use. Do these supposed words of wisdom belong on the grandma's quilts of the future? Visit "#COPING" and decide. 


The visual arts programming at Artisphere also features an artist in residence series in their art studio. The opportunity to see an artist working is unique and hard to find in traditional small galleries. The current artist working and performing is Emily Francisco. Her piece in progress is "May I Have The Piano Delivered To You?" in which Francisco desires to reassemble pieces of a deconstructed antique baby grand piano into new performance and sculptural forms. Francisco's aim is to recreate the piano while maintaing its history magnitude as a whole. The chance to take a glimpse at the creative process of an aspiring artist is very intriguing and you may even find yourself getting increasingly invested in the work and the direction the project is currently going in or a even a new way you envision.

 Check out the rest of the arts programming at Artisphere here.

Also if you wish to continue your Valentine's Day at Artisphere, catch a screening of the beautiful and witty French Film Amelie, find all the details at Artisphere Film & New Media.

Bringing the Art in DC to You,

Mica Hartman  

Image courtesy of

Experimenting with Bella Russia: A preview of the local band’s Artisphere endurance performance

Like so many artworks of the modern era with notoriously controversial reception histories—Manet’s Olympia, Picasso’s Les Demoiselles D’Avignon, Robert Mapplethorpe’s John N.Y.C.—music also has the power to create rippling currents intended to disrupt habitual thought and mundane routine.

Arlington-based Bella Russia is inspired by one such story, that of James Singer Sargent’s Madame X. Following the recent release of their similarly titled music video, the band is offering local audiences an opportunity to participate in a departure from the conventional concert experience, by inviting art and music lovers to Artisphere on Saturday, September 7, for an eight-hour endurance performance.

“It’s more of an art piece,” explained drummer Josh Braden.

Fine art is no foreign concept for the band members who each have an artistic practice outside Bella Russia. Josh paints and is reportedly an exceptional draftsman, while bassist Nathan Mitchell works as a professional photographer.

Guitarist Alex Braden studied sound art with Thomas Stanley at George Mason University, and will be presenting an interactive sound installation in the parking garage of the Capitol Skyline hotel as part of the upcoming (e)merge art fair.

“I think the personality behind the other crafts make their way into the music,” said Josh, “The way I see songs is the way I see the way I would paint or draw in so many ways.”

“If you look at Josh’s art and then heard him play it would make a lot of sense,” added Alex, who described Josh’s work as “really complex and dark, dark.”

Similar to a painting, a photograph, or an installation, the music of Bella Russia is intricate. It is layered and has texture. It has an underlying order and inherent structure supporting the above surface. It is necessarily a process.

“We wrote songs and those are rules,” explained Alex, “But we create these areas where we can embellish, where we can take away, and where we can improvise.”

The Artisphere performance will function as the launch of Bella Russia’s first EP, Epaulet, which for its cover, appropriates James Abobott McNeill Whistler’s Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 (more commonly known as Whistler’s Mother), as well as Whistler’s Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket, which in 2012, served as the title of the band’s first recorded song. And while during Saturday’s event, the band will perform four artfully titled tracks—Marfa, Madame X, Degas, and Ambergris—Alex, Josh, and Nathan will also be improvising and experimenting.

“I foresee us expanding on some of the songs a bit. But it’s eight hours, so I’m hoping we’ll be generating new ideas and just having fun with it, “ said Josh.

The band mates had other ideas: “We should do that Brian Eno thing, and write different strategies for playing on cards, and right before we play, pull them out. So like, play with brushes instead of sticks,” said Alex, referencing the innovator of ambient music who was prone to using chance operations in his compositions.

“We’re going to have to have some weird strategies for staying around and playing for eight hours,” Nathan said with an amused smile.

Though the final performance will be a surprise for all, each superbly adept musician looks forward to utilizing Artisphere’s wide variety of instruments—possibly taking advantage of a grand piano—to perform “fire drills,” switching instruments during the eight hours.

Visitors to Artisphere on Saturday will be viewing Bella Russia from a window above the Black Box Theater. Josh described the situation as a “fishbowl,” and like Alex and Nathan, hopes to draw a diverse audience. For a band who takes traditional music techniques like scales and harmony out of its writing process, and substitutes orthodox methods for “ridiculous nonsensical metaphors that have nothing to do with music” (Josh offers, “Imagine you’re swimming in a pool and you get out and everyone had a hotdog and there is none left for you.”), Bella Russia is enthusiastic to perform for an all-ages audience that “enjoys performance.”

Bringing the Art in DC to You,
Roxanne Goldberg

Bella Russia Endurance Performance will take place Saturday, September 7 from 12:00- 8:00 pm in the Black Box Theater at Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22209