String Theory – Gabriel Thy – 40″x30″ acrylic on canvas
IT’S FINALLY HAPPENING! Artomatic 2007 has been announced. I will be there next Saturday as one of the first registrants to pick prime real estate in this, my first Artomatic show. Two floors (the 6th and 8th floor) in the Old Patent Office Building in Crystal City—each floor is 45,000 sq. ft. and one has around 130 offices still walled in while the other one has been gutted. I hear it’s a nifty location and quite easy to navigate to either by car, bus, subway or even Virginia rail.
There are some spectacular views of the city from all the outer walls. The other cool thing about this location is that thousands and thousands of people both work and live right around this area.
Artomatic is a month-long multimedia arts event that draws together visual artists, musicians and performers and brings their work to the community without charge. Originally conceived as a way to break down the geographical and social segmentation of the Washington arts scene, to bring art directly to the public and to build cohesion among artists, the city’s ongoing development in recent years has diffused the arts community by breaking up pockets of artist studios. Unfortunately, local artists are frequently overshadowed by national blockbuster shows and federal landmarks, thus Artomatic provides a forum for all of our area’s artists to convene, perform and exhibit, strengthening the visibility, cohesion, and marketplace of Washington’s arts community.
Artomatic began in 1999 in the historic Manhattan Laundry building. A dozen or so artists originally toured the empty building and within a month, three hundred and fifty artists had cleaned, lit, painted and colonized the 100,000 square feet. Over 20,000 visitors attended the first Artomatic over 6 weeks. From there, it grew organically, as buildings were made available to Artomatic by community developers. Music and performance of all kinds were added.
In 2000, 665 artists exhibited and 200 performed at the old Hechinger’s building; more than 1000 artists and performers took part in 2002 at the Southwest Waterfront and even more in 2004 at the old Capitol Children’s Museum in Northeast. The number of visitors has also more than doubled to over 40,000.