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9.10.04

Open Studio on Capitol Hill

Anna L. Conti has been doing some remarkable blogging these days, at her Working Artist's Journal, covering the San Francisco Open Studios. The "open studio" is an event that occurs in lots of places, an organized tour during which artists invite the public into their studios. In San Francisco, this is a major event, with studios open on all four weekends of October, and Anna seems to be all over it. Here in Washington, a great organization called the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop held a similar if much smaller event, Open Studio on Capitol Hill, which took place yesterday (Saturday, October 9). Studios were open in the neighborhood only from 1 to 5 pm, and unfortunately, I was able to visit only a few of the score on the tour, before I had to be somewhere else at 2:30.

29, King's Court, Washington, D.C.I started my visit at a building I have long wondered about, a former box factory at 29, King's Court (the alley between 14th and 15th Streets NE, in the block just north of C Street). The owner has divided this single-floor building, with a sloped roof pierced with skylights, into six beautiful studio spaces rented out to artists. My curiosity was appeased when I got to enter four of those studios on Saturday. Photographer and mobile sculptor Paul Sikora is in #5. He showed me some of the photographs from his recent trip to India (not yet on his Web site), and several of his Calderesque mobiles were hanging from the ceiling. There is a full recording studio in #3, which I visited briefly. Michael Berman, who often shows his work prominently at Eastern Market on the weekends (I was given a copy of his Homage to Eastern Market), has moved his studio from F Street NW to studio #2 here. An artist named Quint Marshall is working in studio #1, and I looked at his abstract oils. A child in the studio at the time thought that the rectangular shapes in the series he was showing looked like "houses."

The last studio I was able to visit was at 1523 Massachusetts Avenue SE, where Nan Raphael, who is also a flutist/piccolo player, and Nancy Donnelly were showing their works. Nan was playing the flute when I came in, surrounded by a number of her works on cards and other paper materials, and Nancy was painting a canvas. I was glad to have had the opportunity to go into the studios I saw, and I hope that the event becomes a regular and more extensive occurrence.

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