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.
It's a big leap from the bustle of an athletic field to the solitude of a darkroom, but Calumet Photographic made the transition seamlessly more than 70 years ago. From its origins as a Chicago sporting-goods store, the company evolved into a one-stop shop for cameras and darkroom equipment and eventually into an innovator of photographic technology. In the 1960s, Calumet's most brilliant minds were behind the development of the Caltar large-format-lens line and nitrogen burst film.
Today, Calumet Photographic continues to manufacture and sell professional photographic products and software across the globe, boasting more than 25 retail stores throughout the US and Europe. Their shops abound with both new and used high-quality cameras and equipment, rental gear, and knowledgeable technicians eager to help customers find the right equipment for the job. The company’s extensive online catalog enables shoppers to purchase equipment from around the world and have it shipped directly to their home, studio, or mall photo booth they’ve claimed as a studio.
Sleek hardwood floors. An earth-toned tile backsplash. A stone fireplace that matches the stone floor of a refinished basement. These are just a few of the many customized remodeling options that Lofft Construction Inc. offers up to its customers. It does so by working directly with architects and each client to design new additions, update a kitchen, or make a basement a livable space for the family members who aren't ghosts.
The approach has paid off. In addition to making customers happy, the company has racked up awards, including the COTY Contractor of the Year Award in 2009, 2011, and 2013. It also gives back to the community, donating unused building materials to Habitat for Humanity and hosting meal nights to feed those without homes.
The front doors of Skin Spa Austin Lounge open to a studio with an industrial yet comforting aesthetic, where sunlight spills in through the broad windows and warms the exposed-brick walls and bronze-colored floor. Within this space that both celebrates and seals out the savage urban jungle, aestheticians and massage therapists tend to guests with à la carte and packaged spa services that span facials, massage, waxing, and even LED teeth whitening. Skin Spa's staff prefers organic and pharmaceutical-grade products, stocking lines such as HydroPeptide that teem with active enzymes and botanical extracts.
One of Maryland's top mattress retailers, Casa Furniture, Inc. has spent a decade perfecting a business model that allows for a well-stocked inventory of high-quality furniture at low prices. The masterminds behind the furniture emporium scour the world for well-crafted furnishings for the living, dining, and bedrooms, and arrange to directly import the best pieces they discover on the back of their highly trained, ginormous eagle. Additionally, two factories produce furniture exclusively for the store, driving costs down further. Once customers select their new piece, Casa schedules a prompt delivery time to which its professional staff takes pride in adhering.