WEARHOUSE at the Anacostia Arts Center

In addition to just about everything else in DC, the local arts scene is burgeoning and it’s really exciting to see how many ridiculously creative people we have living and producing beautiful artwork here. The WEARHOUSE event at the Anacostia Arts Center and Honfleur Gallery was an opportunity to get to know local fashion designers and jewelry makers at a night time market that felt more like a party with a DJ and mixed drinks. Note to self – drinking while shopping is dangerous to your bank account.

Before I admit to all of the things I bought and the fun designers we met, I must say that if you haven’t yet visited the strip of Good Hope Road in Anacostia where these galleries are located, you must. The quality of the artwork on display here is excellent and there’s a great community vibe that is so supportive of local artists. There’s even a cafe located inside the Anacostia Arts Center for a snack and coffee. They hold all kinds of great events here too, so it’s worth checking out their events page regularly.


Another gallery on Good Hope Road, the Craig Kraft Studio. Kraft is a light artist and this piece was pretty spectacular. 

Thanks to Instagram, I recently happened upon local jewelry designer Alissa and her design studio Off On a Tangent. Alissa and her husband Tom are both architects by trade and the jewelry pieces are inspired by great works of architecture around the world. I fell in love with her work and couldn’t resist ordering a necklace that was inspired by the stunning new African American History Museum right here on the National Mall. It was through them that I learned about the WEARHOUSE event, and I was excited to see all of their pieces in person and choose another one.


My new necklace from Off on a Tangent Shop. It kinda looks like gold, but it’s actually wood. I love it!

Another gem of a shop inside the Anacostia Arts Center is Vintage and Charmed Classic Clothing. They provided the clothing for the live window models at the event, who were completely still for so long that we didn’t realize that they were real people until one of them moved ever-so-slightly. My friend Mimi (who is a fashion hound like me) and I spent a while going through the great clothing, jewelry, shoes and bags in this small shop. And I came away with some new earrings because I rarely leave a vintage clothing store empty-handed.


My new earrings from Vintage and Charmed. I especially love the big gold earrings. Serious statement pieces.

Over at the Honfleur Gallery, we discovered the black and white screen printed bags of Printed Wild. I loved the clean and bold patterns inspired by nature and finally decided on a square pouch bag because of the unusual shape. Like Off on a Tangent, you can buy Printed Wild products (which are not limited to just bags, by the way, but also towels, pillows and other household stuff) online as well as get lucky enough to stumble upon them at events like this one or find them in small specialty stores around town like Salt & Sundry.


Some of the great, bold prints at Printed Wild.

There were so many other great fashion makers who we met and whose work we admired. And based on the turnout, I think it’s safe to say that the event was quite a success. I know it was for me! I would love to see the nurturing and supportive community of local artists and designers continue to grow, and I can help that happen by not only buying these local products but also telling as many people as I can about them. Shop local, indeed!


Following the “Beach” Balls Underground

I will freely admit that one of the biggest draws of seeing the current “Raise/Raze” exhibit at the Dupont Underground was just to get inside the underground space. There’s been a lot of buzz of the use of these abandoned trolley tracks as a public art space and I was excited to see it for myself. Tickets to the exhibit were sold out within 24 hours so I clearly was not alone.

“Raise/Raze” is constructed from the thousands of plastic balls used in last year’s very popular “Beach” exhibit at the Building Museum. The balls were re-purposed for this exhibit in another interactive display allowing visitors to create blocks and build structures with the balls. The intentional lighting and shadows create opportunities for some great pictures.

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The black hole within the glowing white balls.

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Entering the Raise/Raze exhibit.

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My somewhat somber underground selfie.

Ironically and completely by chance, earlier that day I also visited the National Building Museum on a field trip with my son’s school. Last year, I took my boys to experience the “Beach” installation at the Building Museum which was essentially a huge ball pit mimicking a beach scene. We had so much fun! I literally had to drag them out of the “water”. Seeing the balls in their new space today was that much more compelling after being reminded of that unique experience. I love that both exhibits were interactive which allows patrons to connect more authentically with the artwork. And the contrast between the balls in a light and airy beach scene and now literally in a dark, underground passage was striking.

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A decidedly more lighthearted selfie playing with the kids at the “Beach”.

The National Building Museum is an amazing space in its own right, filled with tons of light and soaring, majestic ceilings. Pretty much the opposite of being underground.

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On this trip to the museum, my son was learning how to plan a city to make it the most livable and accessible for its residents. He and his classmates learned about the different uses of buildings, i.e. residential, commercial, industrial, etc. They then each built their own structure and figured out the best location in the town for their building based on its purpose and the needs of the people living in the space.

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The city map displaying some of the awesome creative structures built by elementary students.

It struck me how much the kids’ lesson demonstrated an ongoing theme of the use of public spaces in creating viable cities. The “Beach” and “Raise/Raze” installations specifically demonstrate the real world necessity of art in such spaces for building community, raising awareness and exploring important themes of our collective well-being.