mid city artists


On June 19, the Art17 Gallery at Coldwell Banker welcomes back local artist and curator, Brian Petro for a solo show of his work from 1996-2014. The gallery, located below Coldwell Banker (1606 17th St NW) in Dupont Circle, opens its doors to quarterly art shows by local and established artists.  The show, featuring a unique retrospective of Brian Petro’s work, will run from June 1, 2014 to August 20, 2014.

WHAT:    Brian Petro – Works from 1996-2014

EXHIBITION:   June 1, 2014 – August 20, 2014, M-F 9:00 – 5:00 PM

OPENING:  Thursday, June 19, 2014 6:30 – 8:30 PM

WHERE:  Coldwell Banker, 1606 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

The work featured in this show represents his wandering, and wondering mind. He credits his style to the dichotomy between his supportive, rural, Central-Pennsylvanian upbringing, and the brutal independence of urban life. Global travel and urban exploration fuel his search for images, ideas and processes. Some artworks will even be available at affordable prices between $160 and $190. From joyous and youthful colors of old animal cracker box images, to Iconoclastic Architectural DC monument images, to a recent series of Abstract Ink and paint pieces, to glimpses of his first ever professionally recognized artworks, the show will include the many sides of Brian Petro as an artist. His most recent show “Ink: Brian Petro & Christian Pratt” at Susan Calloway Fine Arts was listed by Mark Jenkins of The Washington Post in March 2014.

Brian Petro is, and has been, represented by galleries in New York City, Hawaii, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Washington, DC and Rehoboth Beach, DE. His work is also on display in venues in Brazil, England, Italy and Spain. Past commercial clients include Absolut Vodka (who commissioned Brian to design the Absolut Dupont Circle advertisement), The Ritz Carlton Hotels, Saks Fifth Avenue, IBM (an 8 foot by 20 foot mural), and The Library of Congress. Brian has been published in regional and national news magazines and newspapers, and he and his work have been featured on several television shows including HGTV’s Curb Appeal and Showhouse Showdown, and has recently been filmed by CCTV in China, affiliated with PBS, and footage can be viewed in upcoming months in Asia, and here, Nationally. Within the last month, Brian was commissioned by Absolut Vodka again to design a 5 foot tall bottle for their use in any advertising campaign they choose.  This may be considered the “Absolut Petro” bottle!

 Coldwell Banker opened Art17 over a decade ago by Kevin McDuffe, the owner. His goal has been to open this office space to local artists to showcase their work. Recently, he brought in a curator for the space, one of the Mid City Artists, Brian Petro. While Petro is a full time artist, living and working in the Logan Circle area, he is also a curator of private spaces in the community. In the past, Art17 has featured artists such as Amy Flatten, Dylan Davis, and Matt Sesow. 

Weekend East City Event Round Up: Activism in Art Edition

Friday, May 16

Art Works Now - 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Art Works Now is hosting a Drink and Draw Hullabaloo Fundraiser. Join artists and educators Rushern Baker IV and Annie Rachel Wells for a night of fun and art. All proceeds will support Art Work’s Toddler Time Program. For a full description of this must go to event, click here.

The festivities will take place at 4800 Rhode Island Ave. in Hyattsville.

Saturday, May 17

Transformer - 6 p.m. to  8 p.m.

Transformer presents Float, an exhibition of sculpture and mixed media work of four emerging Jamaican artists. Join Transformer for the opening reception of this exhibition, which showcases works that redefine the physical and social boundaries assigned to them. To read more about this must see event, click here.

The exhibit will be shown at Art Museum of the Americas of the OAS Gallery 5 on the 2nd floor. The gallery is located at 201 18th Street, NW.

Project 4 – 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

You’ll need to take a minute to wait after visiting Float so why not stop by Project 4 and see their exhibit Wait. The new media exhibition presents video, sound, installation and performance works by four talented artists and conceived and curated by E. Jane.  For details on the artist and the exhibit, click here.

Project 4 Gallery is located at 1353 U St. NW, Suite 302.

Saturday and Sunday Open Studio Tours

Mid City Artists - 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The artists of Mid City are holding an Open Studio Tour. On Saturday and Sunday join fellow art enthusiasts for a two-hour guided walking tour of 4 to 6 studios in Mid City. The tours are free and space is limited so sign up now! For more information about tours, click here.

The tours location will be based on reservation.

Passageways Artist Studios - 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Passageways Artist Studios are having open studios this weekend. Stop by after your walking tour of Mid City and visit more local artists at work. For a list of participating artists, click here.

Passageways Artists Studio is located at 6001 66th Street, Riverdale, MD.

Sunday, May 18

SCRAP DC - 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Join SCRAP DC in welcoming author Betsy Greer to celebrate her new anthology, Craftivism. This book launch and darning mini-workshop support the worldwide movement that functions at the intersection of craft and activism. So bring a piece of clothing to mend and join the movement! Details here.

Scrap DC is located at 3101 12th Street NE.

Jess Oros is the Production Manager of East City Art.  You can get more information about East City Art on Facebook  by follow them on Twitter or click here to sign up for their newsletter. Photo Credit: Glenn Fry demonstrates his printing method at a recent open studio. Photo credit: Luis Gomez.

This Weekend: 5 Creative Things To Do

Let's get right down to it.... Since # 1 is OUR awesome Brookland Creative event TONIGHT, I'll throw in an extra: 

1. Brookland Creative TONIGHT at 728 Lawrence St NE [link]
2. Fathom Gallery presents Nima Veiseh TONIGHT from 6-10 pm [link]
3. WPA opens HOTHOUSE VIDEO by Brandon Morse at Capitol Skyline TONIGHT from 6-8 pm [link]
4. YOUNGPAYNE & The Kids Table present: Color Me Collaborative FRIDAY 6-9 pm [link]
5. FLOAT opens at Transformer SATURDAY from 6-8 pm featuring the work of four unique artists [link]
6. ALL WEEKEND: Mid City Artists Open Studios... Amazing art, great people and a chance to buy from the artists [link]

I know... Lot's to do on Thursday but that gives you time to relax this weekend and enjoy the sunshine! See you at #brooklandcreative 

Bringing the Art in DC to You, 


Weekend East City Event Round Up: Beam Me up Edition

Takoma Art Hop—  The festival will take place over the weekend as follows: Friday from 6-8 p.m. | Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Details can be found here.

Saturday, May 3

CHAW  9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop Annual Student Ceramic Sale will be held at Eastern Market.  Support future crafters and an annual neighborhood tradition. Details here.

Eastern Market is located at 225 Seventh Street SE

East DC Studio Tour 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

You know you’ve always wanted to peek into the private lives of local artists.  Artists include Kathryn McDonnell, Gail Vollrath, Zofie Land, Peter Harper and many more.  Details and map here.

The studio tour takes place in NE & SE DC.  See detailed map at link above.

SCRAP DC 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.       

SCRAP DC doesn’t just celebrate Earth Day, the organization seeks to reuse and recycle materials year round.  At the inaugural opening of their Re:Vision gallery, see a group exhibition by local artists who were required to incorporate 75% recycled materials into their work.  See artist list here.

SCRAP DC is located at 3101 12th Street NE in Brookland

art works gallery 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

In Artist Imprint; A Family Story, Olivia Di Benigno tells the story of her Italian American heritage through delicately carved clay tiles. Full eexhibition description here.

art works gallery is located at 3711 Rhode Island Avenue, Mt. Rainier, MD

The Fridge 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Local artist Ben Tolman, third place winner in the first annual EMULSION regional exhibition opens a solo exhibition at the Fridge.  His new work examines the absence of truth in our shared environment.  Details here.

The Fridge is located at 516½ 8th Street SE (rear)on Barrack Row

Spring Studio Tours (Save the Dates!)

May 10—  10th  Annual Gateway Arts District Open Studio Tour

May 17-18—  Mid-City Artists Open Studios

Phil Hutinet is the Editor-in-Chief of East City Art.  You can get more information about East City Art on Facebook  by follow them on Twitter or click here to sign up for their newsletter. Photo Credit: New work from Ben Tolman.  Image courtesy of the artist

Exhibition Preview: Mid City Artists at Art17: A Group Show

Painted a soft turquoise with deep blue windows and doors, an antique row house stands out for its simplistic beauty.

“There is something particular in the decay. Especially now that everything on every side of it is completely redone and gentrified,” said Regina Miele, whose oil on linen painting, Mid-City Blue, is a depiction of an actual house on P Street.

Mid-City Blue is part of “Mid City at Art17: A Group Show,” the latest exhibition featuring thirteen Mid City Artists, a diverse group of artists living and working in the Dupont and Logan Circle neighborhoods of Washington, DC.

In anticipation of the Spring Open Studios Tour on May 18 and 19, Art 17 highlights some of the group’s most interesting works in a variety of mediums.

While Mid-City Blue draws inspiration from ideas about beauty and the Mid City neighborhood, which Miele has been painting for many years, her other work in the show, a charcoal drawing on foamcore, Chesapeake Gotham, concerns issues of motion.

“I’m fascinated by the idea of trying to render something in motion still, not having the motion behind it,” explained Miele. “The majority of shows that I have are in New York and not in Washington, so I’m constantly on Amtrack, a lot of the time thinking and shooting. I leave it to chance, what the camera will come up with.”

Just as Miele’s artistic practice, self-described as autobiographical, concerns the objects, events and materials in her immediate environment, Scott G. Brooks is most inspired by his personal relationships, as well as contemporary social and political themes and events.

“She’s in this great, dark, bleak world. She’s trying to make the best for her baby with all the toys, despite what’s going on around her,” Brooks said of his painting, Mother Instincts.

Framed by an architectural structure reminiscent of Flemish portraiture, a young mother with wide-set green eyes and a Bumblebee tuna can placed on her head in the fashion of a Jackie Kennedy pillbox, looks out with a sense of eagerness. Her hopeful smile and prayer hands are incongruous to the dystopian landscape.

“I try to get some humor [in my paintings] because the themes are dark,” explained Brooks. “There always is something that makes me smile and other people smile.”

While both Miele and Brooks primarily show their work in New York, as Mid City artists, their peers play an important role in each artist’s work and practice.

Miele looks forward to seeing her fellow Mid City artists at Art17, and receiving “a hometown response” to her artwork.

“It has made me a lot more open to having my work seen kind of in a half-finished, un-finished, in-the-middle-of-thinking-it-out state,” said Miele of the impact Mid City Artists has made on her art career.

Brooks has lived in the DC-area since 1990 and has been a Mid City artist since the group’s founding in 2010. When Mid City Artists hosts its’ Open Studio Tour each fall and spring, Brooks does not have to curate his apartment-housed studio. His walls are consistently filled with his artwork, and his door is often open to friends, family, and the curious DC arts patron.

Mid City at Art 17: A Group Show opens Thursday, May 2, 6:00- 8:00 PM
Coldwell Banker, 1606 17th St. NW

Bringing the Art in DC to You,
Roxanne Goldberg

Brian Petro Exhibits Latest Work at Vastu

Among the hustle and bustle of 14th Street’s trendiest bars and restaurants lies an art studio home to one of D.C.’s most beloved artists, Brian Petro.

This small workspace, lined with brick and exposed beams, is packed with works of art Petro has created over the decades.

Working as professional artist for years, Petro spent much of his time bouncing between New York and Washington, exhibiting at galleries and working on commissions from clients like Absolut Vodka, Ritz-Carlton Hotels and the Library of Congress.

But a few years ago, Petro decided to stay-put with a permanent studio space in the District, directly below the 14th Street contemporary home furnishing store, Vastu.


(Photo credit: Brain Petro)

At Vastu, Petro works as a kind-of “resident artist and curator,” exhibiting his own art on the walls and also contracting other artists to display their work in the store.

Currently, some of Petro’s latest artwork adorns the expansive space at Vastu, including pieces from Supermarket Series and Roman Series. And while both are drastically different in look and media used, the two series have one thing in common: the artwork is influenced by different periods of time in Petro’s life.  

The colorful and vibrant pieces in Supermarket Series pay homage to Petro’s time spent working in the produce department at a grocery store in central Pennsylvania.

“I really loved the physical labor of working in this huge produce department, and I didn’t realize what was happening until years later, but I’d go in early in the morning and pack this huge department full of colors and textures and shapes and smells, and when I’d get done, I’d sit back and have such a gratifying feeling to see all of this wonderful and beautiful stuff and realize that it’s really putting up an art installation every morning.”

Supermarket Series embodies more than Petro’s time spent in Pennsylvania; the series is also inspired by old grocery and bodega signs that Petro found while dumpster diving for found-art in Manhattan – A city he loves and describes as gritty, yet bright and energetic.

(Photo credit: Brian Petro)

Similarly, the more somber pieces in Roman Series were inspired from another period of time in Petro’s life. When he was 22, Petro took his first trip to Europe and spent some time in Rome and other cities throughout Italy.

“I was just floored by Italy,” said Petro, who attempts capture the complexity of Roman society with simple, stoic gazes of ancient statues and ruins.

For the pieces in Roman Series, Petro uses a difficult and tedious process that makes each piece of work unique – a process Petro refers to as “photographic thermal transfer.”

“What I do is I shoot on real film, develop and enlarge that and then print that with a four-color press onto paper, a chemical release agent and plastic,” explained Petro. “Then when I heat that, it melts the plastic into the toners and the ink and then I can press it and it will leach it off onto another surface. And in this case, the other surface is 140-pound archival paper.” 

Petro’s work will be displayed in Vastu through July 16. Additionally, Petro will open his studio to the public this weekend for the Mid City Artists Open Studio tours. Petro will be on-hand to show his work and answer questions from visitors from 11am until 6:30pm on Saturday and noon until 4:30pm on Sunday.

Interested persons can also schedule a free personal tour of Brian’s studio until July 16 by phoning the artist directly at (202) 270-7352. For more information, visit http://www.brianpetro.com.