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.
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.
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.
Experienced artist and framer Sara Minarik helps to conserve cherished photos and apprized accolades from the quality-diminishing effects of the world with custom frames cradling museum-quality materials. Memento memorializers can submit their souvenirs to Applegate's talented picture-preservers and rest assured that all pop-art posters, beloved sports memorabilia, and original recipes for raisins will be returned in a framed shield of see-through body armor that flatters as much as it protects. Though project rates vary as much as their framed-in contents, a complete 5"x7" frame with acid-free matting and UV-filtering glass usually starts at around $100. Patrons can customize keepsakes by choosing their favorite materials from a selection of more than 1,500 frames and more than 1,200 matting options. All framing services are completed in Applegate's store.
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.