While living in New Zealand for eight months, Art Hauptman fell in love with the country's thriving café culture. At Cassatt's Kiwi Cafe & Gallery, he captures that spirit with New Zealand–inspired items such as meat and vegetable pies complemented by homemade tomato chutney. Chefs also toss salads with warm roasted beet and goat cheese, sauté pan-roasted chicken breast in a curry coconut sauce, and craft homemade desserts such as pavlova. To help wash down dishes, staffers whip up specialty drinks such as the flat white—a New Zealand-style latte—with coffee brewed in-house and pour imported New World wines from countries such as New Zealand and South Africa.
Named for impressionist painter Mary Cassatt, the café surrounds diners with monthly showings of work by local artists from the Arlington Artists Alliance. Along with visual art, the cozy bistro hosts live musicians every Saturday night, who play everything from Appalachian tunes to American blues.
Crystal Framing Gallery's staff skillfully handles a range of customer requests, from traditional photography and portrait framing to special projects such as engraving, photo restoration, and object framing. Patrons choose from more than 2,000 available materials and framing styles that include conservation, shadow boxing, and glued macaroni.
The artisans behind K.H. Art & Framing understand that the best kind of preservation combines traditional techniques with modern technology. Each day, they draw on more than 20 years of experience as they craft museum-quality frames with 200 moulding options and conservation-grade glass and matting. Inside their photo lab, staffers look to the future, printing passport photos and canvas prints or digitally restoring images before storing them safely on CDs. While framers and technicians preserve memories, curators stay busy filling the studio's gallery with artwork—such as oil paintings, lithographs, and silk-screens—from both local and international artists. They also sell posters that can turn a house into a home or a bathroom stall into a personal workspace.
There are plenty of famous landmarks to see in Washington D.C.: the White House. The Lincoln Memorial. Jefferson's vault of pudding. However, more obscure (but just as interesting) sites lie off the beaten path, and Zohery Tours whisks its patrons to many of them. In between stops at the U.S. Capitol Reflecting Pool and the American Red Cross Headquarters, Dr. Zohery introduces visitors to the spots where dignitaries go jogging and politicians take their morning coffee breaks. He also opens their eyes to the cultural aspects of the city, which include seven universities, the National Gallery of Art, and the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. Regardless of the locale, the guide taps into 25 years of experience hosting D.C. tours, regaling visitors with historical facts and answering questions about the political process.
In June 2010, after a late-night session of painting, drinking, and generally rousting about with a group of friends, magazine editor Michael M. Clements found himself pondering an unshakeable question: “Wouldn’t it be great if we could do this at a bar?” The seeds of ArtJamz sprouted almost immediately into a traveling party, where the caterers brought not only beer and wine but also all-you-can-paint palettes, for-sale blank canvases, and invaluable artistic expertise. In the two years since that fateful, paint-spattered night, ArtJamz has become a citywide phenomenon, organizing collaborative events with the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and finally realizing the founding fathers’ vision of a tie-dyed capitol building.
Although these creative enablers still operate pop-up events at galleries and retail spaces across D.C., the brand-new, 1,800-square-foot permanent studio in Dupont Circle has an open-house policy to enable paint parties seven days a week. Freestyle paint sessions and classes are offered, charging separatley for studio time, canvas, and drinks. Day hours keep artists aged 5–18 in mind, whereas nightly sessions feature beer, wine, and creative cocktails for the 21+ set. More than 32 distinct colors await inspired brushes, and the walls of the cozy venue are fair game for a fresh coat. A trained staff is always on hand to offer advice if needed or requested, and to make sure nobody loses an ear.
It?s only fitting that a museum devoted to architecture is itself housed in a formidable structure. The National Building Museum's 19th-century edifice greets visitors with somber Union soldiers sculpted into the exterior?s 1,200-foot frieze. Corinthian columns 75 feet high and built with 70,000 bricks lead into the cavernous Great Hall, which soars up to 159 feet in height and captures the echo of groups as they follow the color-coded banners towards exhibits devoted to American and international architecture, engineering, and design. Drawing on hands-on children?s toys, drawings, photographs, and models, the exhibits delve into everything from the history of the American home to the evolution of building blocks and other architectural toys. Future-facing exhibits, meanwhile, focus on topics such as sustainable school buildings that employ recycled construction materials and singing plants instead of teachers. The museum shop practices what it preaches with an award-winning selection of sustainable housewares, toys, and books.