A Bountiful Harvest of Art Awaits


Alexandria revels in art. Sure as fall comes to the city, art will abound in street festivals from Old Town to Del Ray.  The colorful creations and sculptures will delight and inspire all ages as residents and tourists alike take in the spectacular offerings in the myriad of galleries that the city has to offer.

 If you are looking for the perfect piece for $10, $20 or even $20,000, or seeking to discover the next Andrew Wyeth or Andy Warhol, there is something for everyone, whether you are meandering through Alexandria’s largest permanent art venue, the Torpedo Factory Arts Center, or strolling along the streets of Del Ray for Art on the Avenue.  Covering a spectrum of mediums, Alexandria’s fall arts festivals and gallery shows are an explosion of creativity and color that are not to be missed.


 Here are some highlights of the upcoming art shows and festivals:


Festivals and Street Fairs

 The 7th Annual Festival of the Arts and the Torpedo Factory’s 3rd Annual Art Activated will be held on September 12-13 on six blocks of lower King St., where more than 1,000 pieces of art worth in excess of $15 million will be on display. This free art fair was selected by Sunshine Artist magazine as one of the top 100 art festivals in the United States.

 “We are very pleased to be a part of the Alexandria Festival of the Arts again this year with our third annual Art Activated event, an event that bridges together different art forms music and dance this year with the visual arts, said Erin Black, organizer of the Torpedo Factory’s Art Activated event. “There will be artist demonstrations, hands-on projects and other special activities.”

 During the afternoon, Alison Bazala Kim, a cellist with the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, will perform and the award-winning BosmaDance troupe will stage their art-inspired dance vignettes in artist studios. The street art fair ambience will be on offer all afternoon as the Torpedo Factory hosts non-resident artists selling unique pieces in the main hall. For more information, visit www.torpedofactory.org or call 703-838-4565.

 A few miles away and a few weeks later, on October 3, Del Ray is holding its 14th annual Art On The Avenue,   a multicultural arts festival along Mount Vernon Ave. between Hume and Bellefonte Avenues.  Pat Miller, chair of Art on the Avenue, said she is very pleased to have this Alexandria signature event in Del Ray.

 “Del Ray has become the area in Alexandria where artists congregate,” Miller said.  “We like to think that along with the Del Ray Artisans, Art on the Avenue has helped to build this artist community.”

 This free event is an “entirely volunteer-run venture and it is enthusiastically supported by the businesses in Del Ray,” according to Miller. In addition to the 325 artists and craftspeople selling their one-of-a-kind creations, Art on the Avenue has three stages where live music is performed.  Kids will be entertained by the crafts they can make, activities they participate in and the free entertainment. Throughout the day, free shuttle buses will be running between the Braddock Street metro stop and Art on the Avenue. To learn more about Art on the Avenue, visit www.artontheavenue.org or call 703-683-3100.

 On October 10, a child-oriented extravaganza takes place at the Torpedo Factory as the art center holds its 14th Annual Art Safari, which Black describes as “our annual festival of hands-on arts and crafts activities for kids. Fall is always an exciting time for us here at the Torpedo Factory Art Center!” More details about Arts Safari will be available closer to the event date.


Galleries’ Fall  

Old Town

 AHM Gallery at 215 South Union St. (2nd floor) is owned by Andrew Macdonald, the city’s former vice mayor. Macdonald said that he is “planning to open the fall season in September with a show of watercolors with historic subject matter including some things from Alexandria. The Alexandria paintings are by Maria Morga, an artist, architectural illustrator and Corcoran College Art and Design teacher. That exhibit will be followed by a show of photographs.” For more information about the gallery, visit www.ahmgallery.com.

 Gallery West, located at 1213 King St., is one of the oldest art cooperatives in northern Virginia. Gallery West is home to a wide variety of artists with diverse styles and is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Artist Susan Lamont said that she “is pleased to be a part of a hard-working and talented group of artists who work in a variety of mediums including oil, acrylic, watercolor, collage, photography, digital, ceramic and jewelry and styles such as  representational, expressive, impressionist, abstract and non-objective.” In November, the Gallery will have special events to celebrate its 30th anniversary and they will host their Small Works show for “those special nooks and corners of the home that don’t accommodate larger works of art,” Lamont said.  More information about the 30th anniversary celebration will be available soon at www.gallery-west.com.

 Mindful Hands Gallery at 211 King St., 2nd floor, will continue to feature the works of their artist in residence, Chris Engnoth. “His watercolors are of landscapes, botanicals and turtles,” said Sally Scime, the gallery owner. “During the Festival of the Arts, we will be out on the street in front of the gallery selling Engnoth’s works and Chris will be telling  visitors about his paintings. Also, on the Saturday of the Festival, we are partnering with King Street Cats to do a “Kitten Adopt-athon.”

 The Principle Gallery at 208 King St. will have several special exhibits this fall including Thomas S. Buechner’s A Retrospective, which will open September 25. That show will be followed by the Artist’s Choice Exhibition on October 23 and will feature selected gallery artists. Gregory Gandy and Jeremy Mann will open their City Views exhibit on November 13.

 Target Gallery at the Torpedo Factory has a number of different special exhibits in the next few months including From There 2 Here: Art Center Exhibition Exchange from September 10 – October 18. The exhibit is part of the Torpedo Factory’s 35th anniversary celebration.  Artists participating in the year-long traveling show will exhibit a selection of their work here. All of the participating art centers are similar in design to the Torpedo Factory.

 From October 28 – November 29, the Target Gallery will feature the 2009 Open Exhibit Winner, sculptor Renee van der Stelt.  This is a nationwide competitive annual exhibition opportunity for an artist to have a solo exhibition in the gallery.  The Target Gallery describes van der Stelt’s work as the exploration of “how a drawing can affect and shape space. She seeks formal and conceptual ways to assimilate drawing into the sculptured form as she produces sculptures and drawings through cutting or repeatedly puncturing the surface of a paper with a pin or shaped punch. She then uses light to shine through these large, paper sculptures to suggest space in both diagrammatic and topographic ways.” During the show, van der Stelt will sculpt new pieces that “explore local land use of the Alexandria region, with the goal of encouraging viewers to reconsider how the local region is directly connected to global uses of space, natural resources and environments,” according to the gallery.

 Del Ray

 Blueberry Gallery at 116 East Del Ray Ave. is holding two special shows this fall. Owner Sean Myers stated that “the first one is a solo exhibit in September by a French painter, Gilles Collette. In October we are hosting a group exhibit. The group exhibit will consist entirely of local fine artists.” For more information, visit www.blueberryartgallery.com.

 The Del Ray Artisans at the Nicholas A. Colasanto Center, 2704 Mount Vernon Ave., are hosting the Revenge of the Sequel Art Exhibition from September 4 27 with a Meet the Artists public reception September 11 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Curator David A. Kosar said, “The Revenge of the Sequel is the first of its kind of exhibition in the United States. It is a juried art show which provides artists the opportunity to unleash their talents to create images that depict and convey their uninhibited and unabashed versions of a sequel. By sequel, we mean it is a continuation of something or some work that comes as a result of something else. Many of the paintings, photography, mixed media and even three-dimensional works are phenomenal.”  For more information, call 703-838-4827 or visit www.TheDelRayArtisans.org