Pump House Pop-Up Presents Marty Ittner and Gretchen Schermerhorn Water Works

By East City Art Editorial Team on November 29, 2017

Sat, December 2 2017 — Sat, March 3 2018

Marty Ittner and Gretchen Schermerhorn show one of the cyanotypes made in Sligo Creek Park.
Opening: Saturday, December 2 from 2pm to 4pm

Pyramid Atlantic Art Center – with funding from the City of Takoma Park Community Grants Program – will create a pop-up art gallery in a 177 square foot open-air site, likely a former garage, which cuts into the slope of Hilltop Road. The site is near the former location of the defunct Sligo Creek Water Works, which pumped water to residents as far away as Kensington from 1900 to 1930.

Pump House Pop-Up opens its first exhibition, Water Works, on December 2 with a reception from 2 – 4 pm (Rain date: Sunday, December 3). Water Works runs through March 3. The outdoor gallery is open to the public daily and located at Hilltop Road between Maple and Geneva Avenues in Takoma Park, MD.

Pump House Pop-Up is the brainchild of Pyramid Atlantic Artist Marty Ittner, a Takoma Park resident of 17 years. “This space was waiting to be a gallery,” remarks Ittner, who has walked past the structure almost daily for over a decade. “I’m an artist and I saw an opportunity. It was just sitting there doing nothing! I wanted to transform it to be something else.”

It took Ittner two years to get around to slipping a little note into the mailbox of her neighbor on whose property this should-be gallery sits. “He emailed me right back!” After getting permission from the site owner, and convincing Pyramid Atlantic and the City of Takoma Park of the undertaking, Ittner’s work truly began. She convinced the Department of Public Works to clear the site of large rocks, spent eight hours clearing the ground by hand of about 4 inches of packed debris (mostly glass), and secured free mulch to level the “gallery” floor. Further, on December 2nd she and fellow Pyramid Artist Gretchen Schermerhorn open the site’s first exhibition: Water Works.

Water Works focuses on the gallery’s proximity to the defunct pumping station and the importance of clean, clear water to Takoma Park’s founder B.F. Gilbert. Ittner and Schermerhorn are creating a cyanotype/screenprint installation that utilizes imagery of the era sourced from the Historic Takoma non-profit organization. For their cyanotypes (photographic prints exposed in the sun) they drew inspiration from Sligo Creek Park using found rocks and sand. The work will be mounted to the walls of the gallery in an installation that will weather and change in the open-air.

In tandem with the exhibition, a self-guided walking tour encourages visitors to be present in historically significant spots. Sepia-toned prints are waiting to be discovered in the very spots where the original photos were taken in the 1900s. Highlights include spotting the circular foundation of the filtration building, and envisioning Washington Adventist’s sanitarium—an architectural gem razed in 1982—at the top of the hill near the creek.

Pump House Pop-Up gallery is made possible by the City of Takoma Park Community Grants Program, Giuseppe Cimmino, and Historic Takoma. A second exhibition is scheduled for May 5 – July 4, 2018.

Founded in 1981, PAAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit contemporary art center specializing in printmaking, papermaking, and book arts. Its 13,000 square foot facility, located in Hyattsville’s Gateway Arts District, features a papermaking studio, print shop, letterpress studio, bindery, and darkroom that are available to individual artists in a cooperative setting. PAAC is also home to 18 private art studios and a gallery. Its programs include adult classes for all experience levels, residencies, and off-site demonstrations and classes for schools and other arts organizations.

The outdoor gallery is open to the public daily and located at Hilltop Road between Maple and Geneva Avenues in Takoma Park, MD.