The Washington Glass School’s straightforward progression of classes helps crafters of all experience levels become accomplished glass-artists, demystifying the only art form that combines the chromatic range of oil painting, the practical aesthetics of ceramics, and the high temperatures of burnt-toast-portraiture. The illustrious staff includes Fulbright Scholars, eco-creators, and artists with permanent exhibits at the Smithsonian and the Art Institute of Chicago. The studio also serves as a resource facility for other artists: the Artist Incubator program provides seasoned crafters with studio space for new independent and collaborative works.
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 Phillips Collection emerged from one man's passion for art. Duncan Phillips filled his 19th-century Georgian Revival house with artwork, and he invited others to come and look at his collection. In 1921, the home formally became a museum of modern art. Impressionist and modern works fill its walls, and the collection continues to grow to accommodate contemporary artists.
Madame Tussauds Washington D.C. escorts guests on an interactive journey through American history. Only here, the past isn't manifested through movies, but through wax. Inside, The President's Gallery brings visitors face-to-face with all 44 US presidents, from Harry Truman to Abe Lincoln and his signature spinning bowtie. Cultural leaders, such as Martin Luther King Jr., stand tall nearby, and rock stars such as Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan compose silent jam sessions in the Music Room. Hollywood stars, sports heroes, and nonpresidential political figures round out the collection, which can be visited 365 days a year.
Design shops are a rarity in colorful Adams Morgan, but the eclectic nature of Skynear makes up for the dearth. Located in a Victorian townhouse built in the 1890s, Skynear Designs Gallery offers a modern and cool take on everything from furniture and artwork to jewelry and iPad accessories. While most of the handmade products are local, Skynear does sell one-of-a-kind, silk-screened Cuban movie posters, along with art from nationally-known painters. While not part of Skynear proper, a wander up the stairs will lead shoppers to a gallery featuring art from artists of various origin including South America. Skynear hosts once-a-month curated evening events, which often feature artists whose works are sold in the space.
Merlot?s Masterpiece buries the anxieties of creating art under a comforting blanket of easy-to-follow instruction with a sidecar of wine or mimosas. An instructor flits around the room, offering pointers to students perched in front of their half-completed artworks. The subject matter varies from class to class, ranging from an O'Keefe-inspired floral blossom to Monet-inspired impressionist depictions of mermaids weaving hats out of water lilies. During each session, aspiring artists can sip on wine while making the most of the included supplies and canvas to paint the masterpiece they'll take home after the class.