Artomatic Gets Ready = Get Ready for Artomatic!

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Artomatic is a multi-week, multimedia arts event held in the Washington, DC area since 1999. 
Washington Glass School has a long relationship with the DC-area arts showcase of visual art, music, film, performance, poetry and fashion. Tim Tate’s artwork at Artomatic 2000 was seen by the curator of the Smithsonian’s Renwick Museum, and that show both got his work into the Museum’s permanent collection, and his sales at the show provided the seed money that started the Washington Glass School. Artomatic at Tenleytown’s old Hechinger’s space is where Tim Tate first saw the sculpture work of Erwin Timmers and they later teamed up to start the School & Studio. 
Michael Janis’ first showing of his glass artwork was at the glass room at Artomatic 2004, where the Washington Post’s art critic Blake Gopnick slammed the show in his review “Hanging is too Good For It” – but noted about the glass: “Some of the glasswork looked all right. (Glass is such a gorgeous medium it’s hard to screw it up, and you need some basic training even to begin to work in it.)”  High praise indeed. 
In 2007, the show was held in Crystal City, VA, in the old Patent Office. As a result of this Artomatic, Maurine Littleton Gallery began showing Michael’s artwork.

Photographer Tracy Lee captured the essence of the Artomatic mystery.

At that Artomatic, drama ensued after Tim Tate’s artwork “The Rapture” disappeared under mysterious circumstances. After the Washington Post “Reliable Source” reported the disappearance of the artwork, and newspaper reporter Amy Argetsiner, was sent a ransom demand ($10,000 in monopoly money) from someone named “The Collector ” – along with a “proof of life” photo of the rocket from the artwork in front of the previous day’s newspaper. The reporter went to the late night ransom drop in a city park and tried to catch the perpetrator as it all went down.  In the next day Washington Post, the story was almost full front page of the Style section, along with their prime suspects.

The Artomatic ransom note sent to the Washington Post’s Reliable Source

The Post cast dispersions (along with thumbnail mug shots) onto : Tim Tate glass sculptor, original victim 

Why him?: With a well-known flair for publicity, Tate was suspected by many at Artomatic of faking his own sculpture’s disappearance. 

He says:”I categorically deny it.”

Alibi: Tate was by our side when we met The Collector at the ransom drop last year, so unless he’s part of a broader conspiracy . . .

 Michael Janis glass sculptor, friend of Tate’s

Why him?: Artomatic gossips theorize that Tate’s Washington Glass School colleague may have helped pull off the stunt.

He says:”I’m denying any kind of involvement.”

Alibi:”Michael is too serious” for pranks, says DCArtNews blogger Lenny Campello.

 Jesse Cohen art photographer, overseer of the Artdc.org forum

Why him?: Like the author of The Collector’s manifestos, a big booster of the local arts scene; resembles the man at the ransom drop (young white guy, dark hair).

He says:”No . . . I thought it was really crappy of anyone [to take Tate's art].”

Alibi: Skinnier than the man we saw.

 Kirk Waldroff  printmaker and glass artist, colleague of Tate ‘s

Why him?: Has The Collector’s build, coloring; his voice mail sounds like the man we talked to on the phone; Tate is a little too insistent that Waldroff can’t be The Collector.

He says:[In a voice mail message] “No, I’m not The Collector”; says he’d be glad to talk more but he’s leaving town in a few minutes. (Hmm, getting too hot around here?)

Alibi:”He seems too cool to be pulling stuff like that,” says a fellow artist. “He’s in a band.”" 

Tim Tate created a new sculpture from the returned component, and the work was auctioned  for the benefit of Artomatic.

Tim Tate later created a new sculpture made from the remains of the old, and it was auctioned for the benefit of Artomatic; the drama of “The Collector” was never solved.

UK artist Stephen Reveley’s fused glass, photo by Caroline Angelo

In 2009 the Artomatic was held at a new building near the new Nationals Baseball Statdium near Navy Yard Metro. This exhibition featured many glass artists from England. That year the Sunderland City Council had sponsored artists represented by Creative Cohesion to show glass, ceramics, paintings, bands and more, as part of the Sunderland, UK / Washington, DC Sister City agreement.

Artomatic 2012 is set to open May 18 – who knows what will be the result of this year’s show!

Have a look a the great video made by 2012 Artomatic :

ART-O-MATIC Registration Opens!

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Registration is Now Open for Artomatic 2012!

1851 South Bell Street

Crystal City, VA

Friday, May 18 – Saturday, June 23

Registration is now open for artists and performers to display work at Artomatic, the DC area’s biggest free arts festival!

Registration Open

Artists, performers, filmmakers, and creatives of all types may now register to participate in Artomatic at www.artomatic.org.


With no criteria to participate, anyone can show art at Artomatic. Exhibit space is allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. At our last event in 2009, Artomatic attracted more than 76,000 visitors to see work by more than 1,200 artists, as well as 600 performances. This year, we expect to attract more visitors than ever before.

“We are very excited for this year’s artists to exhibit at Artomatic,” says Barry Schmetter, Artomatic’s Event Director. “It’s always amazing to see the variety of work displayed by our artists and performers, and exciting to see how much our visitors enjoy discovering new art.”

To register, and for more information about the festival, visit

www.artomatic.org.


For the most recent updates, subscribe to Artomatic by email

or Facebook, and check the Artomatic website.


(It may take a bit to get thru – the number of artists rushing to the site had overwhelmed the server on the first night – but there are plenty of spaces!)


Get Yer Art On!


Fulbright Scholars Janis & Tate Final Report

>Final Report by Michael Janis and Tim Tate regarding their Fulbright Specialist Program at the University Of Sunderland and the National Glass Center.

The bonds that were forged years ago when The City of Washington & Washington Glass School hosted the UK artists from Cohesion Glass Network art Artomatic’s Glass 3 event in Georgetown have been strengthened. Our connection with Washington, DC’s UK Sister City, Sunderland, the National Glass Center and the University of Sunderland; will continue throughout our careers. While our mission as Fulbright Scholars was to impart information, we leave having learned many lessons.

Our time in England began with presentations of our artwork and discussions of on new directions the glass world was embracing, such as Glass Secessionism, where artists are looking to move from the aesthetic of pure technique, materials and process and are advancing glass as a medium of sculptural expression in the narrative realm. The participants in the audiences came from the student body of the University as well as working artists from Sunderland, Newcastle, even as far away as Edinburgh, Scotland. The audience stayed long after the talk, and topics from the discussion continued to come up during our entire Fulbright program stay (and indeed, afterwards via the internet) showing the strong relevance of the concepts.

We created workshops for both the National Glass Center and Sunderland’s Creative Cohesion studio; the city’s artist incubator (that, in fact, used the Washington Glass School as its educational and business model). The City of Sunderland invited us to speak with students at a local secondary school during our stay, where we talked about careers in art. We also worked with the Leaders of the University’s Glass and Ceramics program and outlined methods we could extend the cooperative agreement that exists between Sunderland and Washington, DC.

The British tertiary arts education system is different from the US university model. Their MA program blends an MFA and BFA into a very concentrated program. The amount of expertise, materials and techniques they make available to students seems staggering. Sunderland’s may be the finest glass program in the world. With the National Glass Center, the physical space alone dwarfs any facility in the US (or even if one combined the arts centers of Pilchuck, Penland, Corning into one place). The University of Sunderland also offer a doctorate in glass, which is similar to an MFA, though the focus is research, as this is one of the primary methods for the University to receive funds. At the end of a student’s time at Sunderland University, they have a much broader base of knowledge regarding glass and its parameters. In many ways the educational system in the UK is ahead of the US, especially in how they treat glass sculpturally.

Our talks with the students included observations on the differences between the art practices of the two countries. The gallery/collector focus on technique driven vessels that drove the US Studio Glass Movement for over 40 years did not occur to the same extent in England. Instead of being gallery driven, the UK arts education sector seems to be more exhibition and grant driven. University and museum -sponsored art shows are more common as the way an artist would establish themselves. With this as their foundation, artists do not find it as necessary to focus on a single form. They are able operate with the freedom of each installation being potentially a different medium, voice, direction (though many times I would have liked to see the directions pushed much further.) In the US, with the galleries / collector based system, there exists the perception that an artist’s work be recognized for a particular form and for the work be within a series format.

The courses we held at the University included a mix of graduate and undergraduate students, and the workshops allowed and encouraged students working in different modules to interact. We found the students of the University to be some of the most engaged and accomplished students we have ever worked with. They wanted to absorb as much information as possible. Their energy was refreshing, and we added another workshop and added one talk more into the schedule.

Our final discussion was on Artist Covenant’s and how artists can create a network using social media as a way to support each other as a group. This informal talk was packed, standing room only. The artists were voracious in seeking advice on how to get their work seen and recognized. We hope we have helped energize them and perhaps rally them to work together towards their common good. The interest and respect we received from the students was over-whelming. Many of the artists have connected to us online.

We would like to thank all those who made this academic interaction possible: The Fulbright Commission, the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES), The University of Sunderland and the National Glass Center, The City of Sunderland and Creative Cohesion. Each in their own way has made our visit into a life changing experience.

Our mission is to now to reflect and contemplate on not only what we have achieved, but to think of ways on how best to extend our hand and continue our symbiotic and synergistic relationship so that it will not only survive but thrive.

Lets all bridge the Atlantic for many more decades.

Tim Tate & Michael Janis , Co-Directors, Washington Glass School

Art-o-matic is back for 2012!

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Artomatic Returns to Crystal City in 2012!

Free and Open to All, May 18th – June 24th

Artomatic returns to Crystal City in 2012 for our signature free arts event, to be held in the biggest Artomatic building ever, from May 18 – June 24.

Artomatic 2012


Artomatic will partner with the Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) to transform the Transwestern Presidential Tower at 2511 S. Clark St. in Crystal City into a vibrant arts community that celebrates creativity and creates a unique and exciting event for tens of thousands of visitors – all free to visit.

Registration information to exhibit work at Artomatic will be available soon. To get the latest updates, keep an eye on your email, and subscribe to Artomatic by Facebook, or Twitter.

Artomatic Is Back! In Frederick, MD

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Artomatic is a five week unjuried exhibit scheduled to open Wednesday, September 28th and run through Sunday, November 6th, 2011. The event will be held at the old Board of Education Building located at 115 East Church Street in downtown Frederick.

Artomatic@Frederick will be a collective presentation of visual arts, music, theatre and poetry.

Registration for exhibit space will begin on August 1st and runs through September 9th. Building tours will be held at 9 am and 11 am each Saturday and Sunday beginning July 9th through July 31st (with the exception of July 17th). Artist Registration begins August 1st.

UPDATE: Here are the revised building times:
Artomatic will be conducting tours on:

Saturday July 16th at 9,10 and 11
no tour sunday the 17th
Sat. July 23rd at 9,10 and 11
Sunday July 24 at 10 and 11
Saturday July 30 at 9,10 and 11
Sunday July 31 at 10 and 11

Information: http://www.artomaticfrederick.org/
Questions: aom21701@gmail.com
Phone: 240-285-3758

Rumors & Whispers: Artomatic 2010

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Artomatic – everyone’s favorite month-long DC art festival – is rumored to be next held (the talk is either this October, or this coming Spring 2011) at the old Hine School adjacent to Eastern Market. The plans for the redevelopment of the former junior high school were outlined last fall, and the site certainly is well situated.

Artomatic organizers officially have not either completely denied or confirmed the rumor… but who needs signed contracts anymore? Start outlining what you, as an artist would include if it were all a go, as approval to actualization time could be short!

Artomatic Seeks Artwork for Parade Float

>The Artomatic organizers are collecting submissions** for an Artomatic parade float for the upcoming Washington Project for the Arts Art Parade - the WPArade.

Sign up by May 28th to submit an entry!

** Enter any 8×11″ size art submission to be added to Artomatic’s parade float. The WPArade is scheduled to take place June 5, 2010 at the Capitol Riverfront – near the Washington Nationals Baseball park on Half Street.

“The WPA Art Parade is an extravaganza of artists connecting with community to create a moving visual spectacle of art and culture. Visual artists, performers, architects, musicians, and visual arts organizations are invited to work independently, together, and in partnership with community organizations to create inflatable art, placards, portable sculpture and street performance.”

Click HERE for more info on the Artomatic float.

For more information – and to mix & mingle with fellow DC area artists – come visit Artomatic at Bistro Bistro for Happy Hour this Wednesday in Dupont Circle …

Artomatic Happy Hour
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
5pm – 7pm
Bistro Bistro
1727 Connecticut Ave, NW

News From Across The Pond

>Artists from the UK’s Cohesion Glass Network were some of this year’s Artomatic highlights. The work from the Brits was astounding, and the artists were a fun and energetic force as they stormed the US Capital.
STEPHEN BEARDSELL DEMO
Stephen Beardsell cast glass demo

Click HERE to jump to Cohesion Network’s newsletter with their review of the DC arts festival.

Click HERE to read what UK artists Sarah Blood & Joanne Mitchell thought of the show – from an artist’s perspective.

Spotlight on : Megan Van Wagoner

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One of the artists featured in the Common Element show is Megan Van Wagoner. An Assistant Professor at Montgomery College, Megan works in a variety of media: primarily ceramics, metal and glass.Megan Van Wagoner’s cast glass on display at artDC Gallery

At this year’s Art-O-Matic, Megan was one of the critical and audience favorite artists showing at the huge artwork exposition, with her mixed media sculpture work titled “Comforts of Home”.

Comforts of Home – Artomatic 2009 installation. Glass, ceramic, cast aluminium

Megan has written about her work:

In my sculpture I capture moments in a narrative and express them as artifacts (or sometimes artifice). In many cases the narrative is autobiographical, but through the reduction of the story to a few simple objects I hope to make the narrative more universal and at the same time create an air of personal mystery.

Click HERE to jump to Megan’s website.

James Renwick Alliance Awards

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The James Renwick Alliance is committed to promoting Craft Artists and their Art. As such, a judging committee went through a preview of DC’s Artomatic arts festival. selecting artists to receive recognition for their work in selected craft categories. The judges were: Mrs. Deena Kaplan, long time art supporter and world class craft collector, Mr. John Kotelly, Esq., former President of the JRA and avid craft collector, Dr. Paul and Mrs. Elmirina Parkman, both Past Presidents of the JRA, founding members of the JRA and long time craft collectors, Ms. Judy Weisman, JRA Acquisitions Chair and long time craft collector and consultant.

The following artists won the Craft Awards of Distinction (and a complimentary one year membership in the James Renwick Alliance):
Fiber: Rania Hassan
Clay: Laurel Lukaszewski
Metal: Michael Sirvet
Glass: Phil Vickery
Wood: James Long
Mixed Media: Eric Celarier

(The Glass School lays claim to Rania, Michael, Laurel and Phil as adopted children)

Sending a Thanks to the James Renwick Alliance & Congratulations to all to all the artists at Artomatic!