Mar 25 2010

Gallery Sitting

I’ll be gallery sitting at the 39th Street Gallery this Saturday, March 27, from Noon to 4:00 PM.

The Museum and Art Exchange Galleries are also open on Saturday afternoons (you can find the details in the right column) so all three shows will be open!  You can also see my studio if you’d like since I’ll be in the building.

Stop by and hang out if you’re in the area.


Mar 23 2010

Grand Opening & Open House

The GAC@B Grand Opening occurred last Friday.  It went very well.

GAC@B Grand Opening

I didn’t get to spend enough time in the Art Exchange and Museum galleries — I left right after the official ceremonies to open my studio — but both spaces look great.  I’ll have to stop by the first floor again sometime to get a better look.  And, of course, John Paradiso did an excellent job installing our 39th Street Gallery show on the second floor.

The official ceremonies took place in the Art Exchange at Brentwood, which is part of the M-NCPPC (a.k.a Park & Planning).  Various state and local politicians and administrators gave speeches.  The Art Exchange has a display area at the gallery entrance with some beautiful glass, ceramic and other artworks.

Art Exchange Entry
Art Exchange Entry

With the combination of resident-artist, CDC, M-NCPPC and Museum mailing lists I expected a lot of visitors but was still surprised at the crowds of people.  At the beginning of the ceremonies there were many attendees, both seated and standing, but the room was still navigable.

Art Exchange  Entry
Art Exchange  Entry

By the end of the speeches the gallery was completely full.  Here’s a crude panorama showing how crowded it was.

Gallery Crowd by the End of Speeches

It was hard to understand the speakers from some parts of the Art Exchange, which is not unexpected for a room that wasn’t designed for such a large crowd.  Near the end I maneuvered to a spot where I could hear Ani Kasten’s comments (thank you for representing us resident artists) and Cheryl Derricotte’s credits and logistical instructions (thank you for being brief, unlike some of the previous speakers).

Ani Kasten Speaking for Resident Artists

I haven’t gotten any photos of the Museum (PGAAMCC) gallery yet.  I did walk through briefly to see the quilts in the current show.  In addition to the beautiful quilts I thought the space itself and the displays were very well done.

I also failed to take any photos of the 39th Street Gallery and Studios that day.  When I went up to the second floor to open my studio the flood of visitors had begun.  Of the people passing through there seemed to be a large percentage actually interested in the artworks, as opposed to those just passing through to see the building.  I had a number of fun conversations in my space but didn’t have a chance to get to any of the other studios myself.  The studio open house was catered which gave the event a profession touch and saved a lot of work for residents, staff, board members, etc.  I didn’t have a chance to try the food myself but people seemed to be enjoying it.

There was one particular negative point that bothered me enough to mention.  On 39th Street, parked right in front of the fire hydrant, was a Mercedes with a dashboard card that said something like “Lt. Governor’s Staff.”  I understand that some politicians and their staff get parking perks, but in a red-curb zone blocking the hydrant?  Fortunately, since there was no emergency it was a minor problem, but annoying nonetheless.

Overall I think it was an outstanding Grand Opening and bodes well for the future of our building.


[Edited to add information about those who spoke at the Grand Opening:]

  • Danielle Schopp – President, Gateway CDC
  • Anthony Brown – Lieutenant Governor, State of Maryland
  • Raymond Skinner – Secretary, Maryland Housing and Community Development
  • Samuel J. Parker, Jr. – Chairman, Prince George’s County Planning Board
  • Xavier Montgomery-Wright – Mayor, Town of Brentwood
  • Floyd Wilson – Special Asst. to the Deputy Chief, Admin. Office of the Prince George’s County Executive
  • Brad Frome – Chief of Staff, Office of Prince George’s County Council Member Will Campos
  • Lillian K. Beverly – Chair, Prince George’s County African American Museum & Cutural Center
  • Ani Kasten – Resident Artist, Gateway Arts Center
  • Cheryl Derricotte – Executive Director, Gateway CDC

Mar 18 2010

Ready for the Open House

At some point I want to have a counter-height work table under the windows.  The layout for such a thing is still coming together in my mind, so it won’t be there for the open house tomorrow.  I did manage to get two coats of gesso on the newly stretched canvasses
Gessoed Canvasses

and I re-hung (mostly using masking tape) my installation from Artomatic 2008.
Installation from Artomatic 2008

I need to check its condition, maybe do some additional painting, and generally get it ready for its new home.

The quiet before the storm:Quiet Before the Storm

The studio’s as ready as it’s going to be for tomorrow’s Grand Opening.  Even the artdc.org stickers are in place:Can You Find the artdc.org Stickers?
[Can you find the stickers?  Click the photo for a larger size at Flickr.]


Mar 14 2010

Studio Progress

I’m slowly making progress in setting up the new studio.  I stretched some canvas on two sets of used stretcher bars (thank you Trinka!), one about 4′ by 6′, the other 6′ by 8′ :


Using a set of recycled bi-fold doors from Community Forklift (http://www.CommunityForklift.com) I installed two shelves on some unused wall space:


Canvasses are at the ready, awaiting gesso and/or more paint:


Mar 5 2010

GAC@B Building

Here’s the current stat of the GAC@B:

GAC@B nowGAC@B now

As compared to before the renovation:

Government Surplus Building
Government Surplus Building

This is a closer view of the mosaic on the 39th Street side of the building by Valerie Theberge:

Mosaic by Valerie Theberge

[Photos on Flickr]


Mar 2 2010

Moving In

I started moving into my space the last week of February.  Everything from my old studio (except for the few large items I gave away) has been crammed into my basement since 2008.  It’s good to get most of it moved out — I should be able to get to my piano any day now.  My plan is to keep drawing-related and oil-painting-related stuff in the basement, creating a small-works studio at home, and use the new space for large acrylic paintings and perhaps large mixed-media pieces, or maybe something else entirely.  The ideas I originally had in mind for this new space have been leaking from the sieve of my mind for a while and are just beginning to take shape again.

Here are some photos of the new studio as I’ve been moving in:

(Click on any photo to see the entire set on Flickr.)

First Day in the New Space

First Day in the New Space

First Day in the New Space

First Day in the New Space

Artworks on Display for Our Curator

Artworks on Display for Our Curator

More Stuff Moved In

More Stuff Moved In

More Stuff Moved In

More Stuff Moved In

I need to stop moving for a bit and start painting again.


Mar 2 2010

The GAC@B Explained

Here are some more details about the new Gateway Arts Center at Brentwood (formerly called the Brentwood Arts Center).  First of all, we’ve taken to abbreviating this as GAC@B in writing, and it’s been suggested that we pronounce it “gay-cab.”

The GAC@B is an old two-story commercial building that was puchased in 2005 by the Gateway Community Development Corporation in order to create a new arts space within the Gateway Arts District.  The building has been under renovation off and on for four or five years.  Built in 1945 it was once (perhaps originally?) a Cadillac dealership.  When I first saw it there was a large sign in the windows that said “Government Surplus” and it looked rather dreary:

I’ll try to get some current photos posted here for comparison.  Although it’s still lacking in appropriate signage and needs some small touches here and there it’s looking pretty good.  There’s even a beautiful new mosaic piece on the exterior by Mount Rainier artist (and my landlady) Valerie Theberge.

The Brentwood Art Exchange (operated by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Division of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission) occupies most of the first floor.  It has a gallery, a contemporary craft showcase, and an arts classroom.  The other storefront space is occupied by a gallery and offices of the future Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center.  The Museum is planned for a nearby location in North Brentwood.  Also on the first floor is one studio space.

The second floor has the remaining studios and a small gallery managed by the Gateway CDC.  The entrance to this floor is up the hill on the 39th Street side of the building.  Hence, the gallery is called The 39th Street Gallery and our studios collectively are the 39th Street Studios.  There are several large rooms that have been divided into individual studios by 9-foot partition walls, one small room with a single studio and one large room shared by two artists.. The studios are generally about 350-450 sq. feet and have high ceilings although the lights and air ducts bring the usable height down to about 9-10 feet in much of the space.

We expect to have a new show in the 39th Street Gallery every month.  The plan is to alternate between having a “normal” gallery-style show and using it as a project space.  The “project” can be whatever one can imagine (within call-for-proposal guidelines).  For February the gallery was a project space (Patrick McDonough‘s winter worst/wurst weiss) and in March it will have our resident-artists group show.


Mar 2 2010

Gateway Arts Center Grand Opening

The Gateway Arts Center at Brentwood will have its Grand Opening on Friday, March 19.  The dedication will begin at 3:00 PM.  Following the official activities will be an Open House from about 5:00 to 8:00 PM with celebrations and refreshments throughout the building and art on display in all three galleries.

The M-NCPPC Gallery on the first floor will have a group show curated by F. Lennox Campello with work by artists from the Gateway Arts District.  The African American Museum will also have artworks on display in their first floor gallery.  On the second floor the 39th Street Gallery will have a show curated by Claire Huschle (Executive Director of the Arlington Arts Center) with works by the resident artists of the Gateway Arts Center.  The 39th Street Studios will also be open for visitors.

Here’s text  from the CDC Grand Opening flier:


The Gateway Community Development Corporation

cordially invites you to attend the dedication and grand opening of the

GATEWAY ARTS CENTER
3901 RHODE ISLAND AVENUE
BRENTWOOD, MARYLAND 20722

FRIDAY, MARCH 19, 2010 at 3:00 PM
(Open House to follow immediately after)

RSVP by Monday, March 15, 2010 by calling 301-864-3860 ext. 3.

We encourage the participation of persons with disabilities; if you have special needs, please let us know by March 10, 2010.
This event is in partnership with:
The State of Maryland, the Prince George’s County Executive, the Prince George’s County Council and The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
Directions: The Gateway Arts Center is located at 3901 Rhode Island Ave, Brentwood MD 20722.
Via public transportation, the #83 metro bus stops at the corner of the building at 39th Street and the #86 bus stops 1 block west of the building at 38th Street.
Parking for this event is available on street and at two lots: The Bunker Hill Fire Station located at 3716 Rhode Island Avenue, Mount Rainier, and the Diener warehouse property at 4511 Rhode Island Avenue, North Brentwood.  Shuttle service will be available from the parking lots to this event beginning at 2 PM.  The last shuttle will leave the Arts Center at 8:15 PM.
Parking at the Arts Center is limited to vehicles with a handicapped tag.


Mar 1 2010

Between Studios No More

At long last I am between studios no more.  My new studio is at the Gateway Arts Center in Brentwood, Maryland — Studio 205-C.  When I moved out of my previous space I thought the new Center would be ready in a couple of months.  The excitement surrounding the project of turning this old building into studios and galleries was very infectious.  It sounded like it might be a larger version of what I had in mind for my former space that never materialized.  I jumped into the whirlpool of high hopes and possibilities.

Gateway Arts Center  •  3901 Rhode Island Ave  •  Brentwood MD 20722
Gateway Arts Center - Rendering

Gateway Arts Center - Rendering

In the interim, with all the delays and misleading updates, I had lost just about every last whit of enthusiasm.  Now all the studios are finished and the rest of us are moving in.  (Some studios had been finished earlier and some artists had moved into unfinished spaces.)  Fortunately (for me, anyway) meeting the other residents, talking about art and shelving and storage, figuring out what I want where, having discussions about future events, all these recent activities are starting to rekindle that former enthusiasm.

We’ve already had our first gallery show — actually a project.  Although the ongoing work by artist Patrick McDonough (www.pkmcdonough.com) started early in February (between blizzards) and will continue for another week there was a reception and artist talk just this past weekend.  There were perhaps a couple dozen people in attendance — not bad for our first gallery event.

I can’t say I’m glad at the moment that I waited for this studio space, but past is prologue (as someone cleverer than I once said) and things are definitely looking up.

Note: My apologies to those who were repeatedly harangued by my grousing and jabbering during my lack of studio space.
www.pkmcdonough.com