Led by a former New York City gallery owner, Hinckley Pottery's experienced staff is adept at teaching fresh potters how to turn mud into masterpiece. The intimately sized, one-hour Try It! course helps patrons bone up on pottery-wheel basics and decide whether or not to pursue more-advanced wheel techniques, such as creating a vase using only your thighs. The 3,300-square-foot studio, housed in an industrial warehouse, boasts 14 electric wheels, two kick/electric combination wheels, and one treadle wheel, in addition to two electric kilns, two gas kilns, and a propane-fired raku kiln. Try it! courses are available at select times. Click here for details and to find a time to meet likeminded crafters, channel workweek stress into a mound of clay, or craft a large bowl that can hold novelty sized paper clips.
Originally the residence of U.S. Capitol architect Edward Clark, O Street Museum’s five interconnected townhouses today enfold a private club, luxury hotel, conference center, and museum. The O Street Museum explores the creative process with more than 1,500 ever-changing exhibits, including handwritten manuscripts, animation stills, and autographed items from such musicians as Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. Shedding the restraints of a standard museum, O Street grants guests the freedom to leaf through collections of photographs and letters from visual artists or gently cradle sleeping sculptures in their bare hands.
Themed tours for groups or individuals unveil the subtleties of the museum’s elegant space, adorned with original, hand-painted ceilings and Tiffany stained-glass windows. Immersive special events include the Raw and Exposed program, which draws from the museum’s vast archives as it presents rare recordings from artists such as Janis Joplin and The Beatles. Amateur and seasoned musicians unite on stage during weekly jam sessions, and the SRO concert series fills the museum’s intimate space with one-of-a-kind gospel performances, drag shows, and sock-puppet reenactments of the Revolutionary War.
Ford's Theatre, the site of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, preserves Lincoln's legacy by hosting dramatic and historical plays on its legendary stage and educational experiences throughout its halls. The theater presents dramatic works such as Big River and 1776, and the museum displays artifacts from Lincoln's White House and the Civil War, along with the swallows that nested in his distinctive stovepipe hat. Those toting Player memberships are showered with benefits including service-charge-free ticket purchases, gift-shop discounts, and a biannual newsletter subscription. With four complimentary passes in tow, members can take in performances of One Destiny, a theatrical eyewitness account of Lincoln's assassination, as well as educational events throughout the year, such as a lectures by National Parks Service interpreters, who recount tales of the fateful evening.
Part art gallery, part cocoa bar, Artfully Chocolate was established in 2007 when owner Eric Nelson quit his job as an executive in order to pursue his artistic passions. Needing a little something extra to draw attention to his shop and unwilling to sound a tornado siren after every purchase, Eric called on the services of friend and chocolatier Rob Kingsbury. Kingsbury instantly infused the colorful gallery with the sweet allure Eric was seeking.
Today, the duo's handiwork takes center stage inside two different locations: Eric's masterpieces parade across the walls, and Rob's expertise reveals itself in sips and bites of decadent drinks and pastries. They also host tasting classes, including a wine-pairing class and chocolate-tasting class.
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.
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.