East City Art’s (Physically) Exhaustive ARTventures on H Review

By Eric Hope on July 2, 2011


H Street’s ARTventures on H art walk and dine arounds have come along way in just over a year’s time.  What is now a seasonal event has grown to 19 stops, with non-traditional spaces (who says a pet shop can’t display a little art?) vying with the neighborhood’s galleries for our attention.  The one difficulty is trying to hit all stops in the allotted two and a half hour time-frame.  In an attempt to find out if was indeed possible, I threw on my running shoes for the timed, one mile “Artdash”.   Here’s how the evening shaped up:


5:41 – 5:55

Studio H. is the first stop and I’m already 11 minutes behind my daunting schedule.  Luckily I attended Pablo Caviedes’s opening reception a while back and had seen much of the work.  It was nice to see several red dots on the walls as D.C. buyers are taking to this Equadoran’s work…  One block down and Metro Mutts pet store for a small but charming display of pet portraiture by local photographer Porter Watkins.  The two resident canine’s were holding court; the owner’s cat couldn’t be bothered…  Adobe Design Center, a full-service art and design studio,  featured the drawings and collages of local artist Al Burts.  He uses skewed proportions to interesting effect to interpret how slaves once formed the backbone of our economy.  Definitely food for thought.

6:14 – 6:55

A three-block sprint brought me to Jorge Velazquez’s studio.  Thankfully there was plenty of jimica margaritas available to quench my thirst!  The margaritas and accompanying goat cheese foccacia hand’s down wins for best reception hors-devours, but Velazquez’s fantasy-themed art, with its lushly textured brushstrokes stole the show.  I check my watch – surely I have time for another… Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar (whose décor my designer friend affectionally labeled baroque whorehouse) brought us a flea market as only they could do it.  Loads of object d’arts for the person who needs an extra swag lampshade or wrought iron candlestick were to be had.  A 50’s martini set caught my attention, but there was no time for dickering – 14 more stops and only 75 minutes remaining!  The Queen Vic, Red Palace and Church and State got in on the fun this time around with small displays saddled up and around the bar.  Best of the three was the Vic’s display from Art Enables, an organization devoted to teaching art to children and adults with developmental disabilities.  Created without pretense, the works are all about fun and celebration.

6:58 – 7:11

The south side of the Atlas District featured stops at the Atlas Theater, Sova and the H Street Playhouse.  Most notable in this block was Colin Hovde’s display at the Playhouse.  Particularly impressive was Macau, China (2004) whose architectural lines were so stark against the overcast sky that the photo read more as a drawing…  Is that Dixieland I hear across the street?  If so, it must be Gallery OonH.  Their perfectly-timed Oh So Red, White and Blue patriot-exhibition features works of museum-quality outsider art culled from the owner’s personal collection.  Most artists are southern; all are self-taught.  They remind us that politics was not always solely blue versus red – how’s that food for thought?

Still with me?  Try and keep up!

7:25 – 7:35

Around the corner on Florida Avenue are the neighborhoods heavy-hitters.  Connor Contemporary, Industry Gallery and G Fine Art are little version of Chelsea in the District (take that NYC!).  Recently opened in the same block is Open Studio, featuring a full screen printing studio and service for local artists and for Artwalk they had a variety of participants on hand showing their wares.  Oddly, G Fine Art was dark which luckily gave us a few minutes rest on one of Industry’s Love chairs (who knew a 20-person seat could fold up and fit in your closet) before traipsing through Connor for one last glimpse of (my favorite) Jeremy Kost’s Ruby Red’s before it comes off the walls this week.

7:46 – 8:01

Running out of time but I’m determined to make it.  A mad dash up Bladensburg Road brings us to the totally yard-bombed Jimmy Valentine’s and brand-spankin’ new One Love Massive which opened last week.  I had a quick chat with the new proprieter Molly Ruland about plans for her new art and music venture, then checked out the progress on their new graffiti-inspired mural going up outside their building…So close to making it!  A last minute sprint and I’m at the Evolve Urban Arts Project to check out Shennigan’s by Lindsey Applebee.  Chris and Jeff, the Project’s owners, were kind of enough to leave the door open (and the white wine out) for a last breeze through.

Now time to give my feet a rest!