Art Blooms in Navy Yard

Posted June 1, 2009 at 4:30pm

The Navy Yard is quickly becoming a hot spot to be this summer. In addition to being home to Nationals Park, the up-and-coming neighborhood is hosting Artomatic, a large-scale art show that features more than 1,000 artists.

Entering its 10th year, Artomatic features nine floors of art, including photography, sculpture, dance, music and even tattoos. The show is being hosted through a joint collaboration with the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District, the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, Fleishman-Hillard International Communications, Monument Realty and Artomatic Inc. Monument Realty owns the unoccupied building just off the Navy Yard Metro station where the show will take place.

“We are doing what artists want to do— at Artomatic, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) said at the show’s opening. She joked, “Is there any possible better way to use an empty building during a recession?—

Artomatic aims to give exposure to local artists as well as up-and-coming neighborhoods. The show is traditionally held in an unfinished space such as its current location at 55 M St. SE. In the past, the show has been held at the Southwest Waterfront and the former Capitol Children’s Museum in Northeast D.C.

“To have Artomatic here in the neighborhood … it gets people down here to see what’s going on,— Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells (D) said. “Artomatic is a part of what those in Washington realize. We’re a lot more than a Capitol monument city. We’re a city that has artists.—

This year’s show will also feature blown glass and other works from a group of 38 artists in Sunderland, England. In 2006, Sunderland, the city that George Washington’s ancestors hail from, signed an agreement with Washington, D.C., to promote cultural exchange between the two cities.

In addition to British artists, the show puts many of D.C.’s own on display. Artomatic will feature 361 musical performances, 41 dance performances, 26 spoken word pieces, and it will even host a tattoo parlor.

“You can reach an audience at Artomatic that you would never reach sending out slides,— artist Sheila Crider, who specializes in mixed media, said of her experience with the show. “It equalizes this for artists across the board.—

There is no fee to enter Artomatic, and many of the pieces are for sale, though they must remain on display through the end of the show. Refreshments are available for purchase with proceeds going to Artomatic.

Artomatic is open through July 5. For more information, visit