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.
William Wilson Corcoran believed in American artists at a time when most collectors bought only European paintings. The financier-turned-philanthropist made friends with masters such as Thomas Doughty and George Inness, bought what interested him, and even opened up his home twice a week so the public could view his collection. And that practice was the seed which grew into the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The formal location opened in 1874 with 98 paintings and sculptures from Corcoran's personal collection. Today, that collection exceeds 16,000.
The focus on 18th- to 20th-century American artists such as Mary Cassatt and Andy Warhol remains—but that doesn't mean the gallery has blinders on. It also holds works by European luminaries such as Pablo Picasso and Edgar Degas. The collection even extends into decorative art such as the Salon Doré, an 18th-century French period room once housed in Paris's Hôtel de Clermont.
In the same way the Corcoran Gallery extends beyond American art, it pushes its purpose beyond simply displaying masterpieces. Year-round events include lectures from prominent critics as well as live performances and wine mixers. The Corcoran even nurtures the next generation of talent with after-school and weekend classes that teach students how to draw everything from landscapes to landscapes covered with bowls of fruit.
At the age of 14, Bikram Choudhury, with three National India Yoga competitions under his mat, had already been named king of the yogis by Swami Sivananda. As an adult, the United Nations put Bikram on the payroll, along with doctors and researchers at Tokyo University, so that he could teach them the healing potential of the ancient practice. Now, his signature brand of yoga—constructed with scientific rigor and the insights borne of millennia of practice—is taught throughout the world.
The intense heat and demanding postures that are trademarks of Bikram yoga have gained appeal due to their ability to test even the most self-disciplined yogis. Like chess, or cartwheeling around the edge of an active volcano, the moves are easy to learn, but intensely difficult to master.
That's where the experienced instructors at Bikram Yoga Tenleytown come in. The staff cheerily receives each guest at the door before leading the 90-minute routines, which progress through the 26 postures and two breathing exercises of Bikram Choudhury's celebrated method. They motivate newbies and devotees through toe stands, sit-ups, and rabbit poses that lengthen spines and restore flexibility to limbs. The studio's warmth of character and yogis maintaining sofa poses ensure that the greenest of guests feel comfortable in the sessions.
Supplying all materials, Art By The Glazz's artist-led painting sessions kindle brush-wielding talents during three-hour classes held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. New artists capture shapes and shadows inspired by a number of pastoral- or wine-themed templates, with step-by-step instruction from pigment professionals. One complimentary glass of wine emboldens the pigment-shy, and those with a thirst for more can visit an onsite cash bar. Aprons protect against stray paint, wine drops, and the tears of fruit trapped in a beautiful but airless eternal present, although Art By The Glazz recommends wearing old clothes. Finished masterpieces chaperone each artist home, ready to be mounted on a wall or hung from the dining-room chandelier.
During Cookies and Milk sessions, kids or teens settle down with a complimentary dessert amid canvases ripe for realizing 2-D tableaux. During each session, one featured painting of a subject, such as the beach, Green Eggs and Ham, or Mickey Mouse, is perched mid-studio to kindle students’ imaginary fires. The company also hosts corporate team-building events, small groups, and birthday parties, giving guests an enjoyable ice-breaking activity.
In the dead of night in 1976, the Abi-Najm family boarded a cargo ship bringing only what they could carry; an escape from Civil War in Lebanon called for a quick getaway. They traveled across the ocean to safety in Arlington, Virginia, where they were able to open a small cafe in 1979. To save money, they changed the eatery?s name from ?Athenian Taverna? to ?Lebanese Taverna? so that they only had to update one word on the eatery?s marquee.
From these modest beginnings grew a series of eateries that today comprises of six cafes and four quick-service caf?s, all still operated by the Abi-Najm clan. One look at the menu explains the success: chicken shawarma, spicy hummus, lamb tartare?all Lebanese staples that helped the restaurant earn a spot on Northern Virginia magazine's list of 25 Iconic Eats. There's even kibbeh, or stuffed meatballs, which blend ground beef, lamb, almonds, and pine nuts into fried spheres suitable for felling miniature bowling pins on top of the table before entrees arrive. The decor is as striking as the cuisine; inside the Bethesda location, light filters through the colored glass lanterns that decorate the dining room.
Faith Hunter embraces a yogic philosophy that hinges almost entirely upon treating the practice as a means to an end. The studio's Vinyasa-inspired classes do build core strength and improve flexibility over time, but these sessions also encourage students to recognize and harness the positive energies that yoga coaxes to the forefront of the mind. From there, the teachers urge attendees to use the renewed understanding of these energies to live a fuller, more impassioned life.
This lifestyle philosophy?called "embrace your flow"?and emphasis on yogic practice has garnered national and international prominence for Faith. She has even appeared on the covers of publications such as Yoga Journal and Om Yoga & Lifestyle, and she has posted her own yoga videos on My Yoga Online.
Her DC studio's classes aim to accommodate virtually all skill and fitness levels. Beginners sessions can introduce students to fundamental asana sequences and breathing techniques, and more advanced classes start to incorporate more challenging poses, including inversions, arm balances, and slow-motion break dancing.