Free Things in DC: Artomatic 2008

And this is one of the many things I love about DC: a 12 story building filled with visual art and theatrical, dance and musical performances…all for free! It’s called Artomatic and it’s running until June 15th. Bonus points for being VERY metro accessible (you can see the building where it’s housed – Capitol Plaza – from the train) and did I mention it’s free?

The fabulous duo of Liz and Patrick joined me to check out the happenings at Artomatic, located in the Capitol Hill North neighborhood of DC. Like Shaw (and so many other parts of DC), Capitol Hill North is undergoing a bit of a renaissance/renovation/renewal/insert other “re” word here. Considering my public policy background, I find such neighborhood revitalization efforts fascinating. So while I was definitely interested in seeing the art (and the free photography workshop), I was also curious about the “progress” being made by the NoMa Business Improvement District. Why the quotation marks you ask? Because one man’s progress is another man’s negative aspects of gentrification. And while I believe bringing in new revenue streams to a neighborhood is great, there are the concerns of pushing out the current residents and the loss of neighborhood uniqueness and identity. But on with the art (all my Artomatic pictures can be found here)!

First of all, if you plan on going to Artomatic, make sure you block off enough time to take in as much as you can. I’m still not sure I saw everything and I was there for at least 3 hours. The highlights: dioramas using peeps (including my personal favorite “Reservoir Peeps”), a display of “food” made entirely from seashells, pinhole camera photographs, the artwork of Caitlin Murphy (which included a tribute to Sean Taylor), Jason Colston’s photographs and these paintings (I lost the information with the artist’s name):

I had a blast exploring all the different artists and workshops Artomatic had to offer Saturday evening. However, don’t expect fine art at every turn. Anyone can display their pieces at this event (all they have to do is pay the exhibitor fee), so there are some collections that honestly the Diva could have done. But there are just as many great artists, many of whom are still undiscovered. And did I mention it was free?

One of the best things about Artomatic? The space that is Capitol Plaza. Still unfinished, but filled with floor to ceiling windows, Capitol Plaza is the perfect place to house this collection of visual and performing arts. I got a lot of great shots of the Capitol Hill North neighborhood, as well as shots of the Capitol building, the Washington Monument and the sun setting, all from the windows of Capitol Plaza. The panoramic views showed how much potential exists in this neighborhood and how many cranes are already on the move. My hope is organizations like NoMA can make a positive difference in this neighborhood and that events like Artomatic bring more people to a potentially new “it” spot in DC. And wait, did I mention it was free?


Filed under DC Events - Cultural, Free Events in DC

7 responses to “Free Things in DC: Artomatic 2008

  1. The painter is Gregory Ferrand. His work is one of the highlights of Artomatic 2008. This is his website:


    Shaw Resident

  2. Matt,

    Thank you so much! His paintings were hands down my favorite and I kept kicking myself for losing his information.

  3. i wanna go to DC!
    i wanna go on a holiday!


  4. Had so much fun with you. And you got some great shots.

    P.S. Definitely on for the 4th but no bribery required. 😉

  5. Diva – I would be more than happy to do a cultural exchange and be your DC host! This city is amazing and I love showing others the wonders of it! I just came back from an amazing performance of Hamlet in the park…for free! I sooo love DC!

  6. deutlich

    I had NO idea that was in DC! I’m going to have to make some plans to go there, for sure!

    Thanks for the heads up!

    ps: foundya through Liz 😉

  7. Deutlich –

    The festival ends June 15th, so make sure to get there before it’s gone!

    Considering I am the Summer activities director for me and Liz’s posse of culturality, I will definitely be on the lookout for similar events. I’ll make sure to keep everyone posted on cool things in DC!

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