Monday, June 8, 2009

The Artomatic So Far: What We Like...

The Artomatic Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary

In celebration of its 10th anniversary, Artomatic has brought its trademark one-of-a-kind multimedia arts event to Half Street’s 55 M St, SE in D.C.’s Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. In 2008, Artomatic attracted 52,500 visitors and 1,540 participating artists. It is expected that over 60, 000 will visit the Artomatic this year. Artomatic began on May 29 and extends until July 5, 2009.

In conjunction with the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District and Monument Realty, Artomatic presents more than five weeks of art, music, theater, workshops and more — all of it free for visitors. Artomatic is a nonprofit organization headed by a volunteer Board of Directors. It is funded in part by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, an agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

(In photo: Camille Pasley-Mosley's exhibit on nurturing)

East of the river visual artists featured this year include Amber Robles-Gordon and Camille Pasley-Mosley. The popular go-go band Mambo Sauce will perform on the 4th of July. Held regularly since 1999, Artomatic transforms an unfinished indoor space into an exciting and diverse arts event that is free and open to the public. In addition to displays by hundreds of artists, the event features free films, educational presentations and children’s activities, as well as musical, dance, poetry, theater and other performances over the course of five weeks. Artomatic is an unjuried event and registration is open to all artists, from professionals to beginners.

“Two of my poems are getting published in an anthology called, Liberated Muse Volume I: How I Freed My Soul. I will be performing at the Artomatic to promote the book,” says local actress, Farah Lawal. Lawal is using the Artomatic appearance as a promotion also for her one-woman show "So Do You Love Me Yet?" which will open on July 10th in the upcoming Capital Fringe Fest in Washington, DC. Lawal will appear on June 20 and July 3 on the Solo Stage with other writers featured in the book and local performing artists.

What We Like So Far

So, Hook of and I volunteered at the Artomatic during its opening weekend. It was a Saturday and it was after 9pm when we arrived. There were wall to wall people and it reminded me of an evening in the busy streets of New York with the crowds and high energy in the air. The eight floors of Artomatic were bustling and alive and the elevator was packed as we made our way to the floor where the office was to receive our volunteer assignment.

Of course we checked out the Solo Stage first to see what the stage looks like for the upcoming Liberated Muse showcase on June 20 @ 6pm and July 3rd @ 8pm. It is on the 3rd floor and was among the art exhibits in a very ideal spot.

When we arrived at the office, it was packed. We were first assigned to the loading dock, but later re-routed to work in the store. I stayed put while Hook went check out the other floors to report on later. I was fine. It was a great volunteer spot. Also working the shift with me was Patrick, one of the planners of the Artomatic who has experience in planning performing arts events aside from Artomatic. We shared a lot of ideas and were able to meet some truly eclectic people who came in to purchase Artomatic souvenirs.

This past weekend, we visited the Artomatic on a Sunday during the day for a children's workshop. My daughter was able to create an original sculpture in a workshop hosted by the Suisse embassy. On this day, the space was not populated as much as it was opening weekend, but still well-attended. Here are some things she was able to do that were hands-on
(from top r to l: Make her Mexican elephant sculpture "Miss Millie", learn about a Swiss sculptor, draw a robot)
The Artomatic sells food and beverages and is open Wed-Sun, closing at 1a.m on the weekend. Visit for more information.

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