Artistic Talent Displayed on the Avenue

Artistic Talent Displayed on the Avenue

The 2200 block of Mount Vernon Avenue has been very colorful on Saturday mornings. Art Del Ray began unofficially a few weeks ago and will celebrate this Saturday with a grand opening celebration.

Organizer L’Tonya Tobin said that the arts and crafts marketplace was created to provide a venue for artists to exhibit their crafts.

“I’m an artist here in Del Ray, and as I traveled in different circles, I heard a lot of conversation about the lack of affordable gallery space and consistent retail outlets. With that in mind, I started the Alexandria Arts Consortium, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate the community about the huge untapped resources of international artists,” said Tobin.

The consortium continues to look for affordable gallery space, but in the meantime, an opportunity for a weekly showing presented itself when The Avenue Partnership was looking to replace the Flea Market that was originally held in the 2200 block. Tobin said that 13 vendors are currently exhibiting and they have space for up to 30 exhibitors. Artists work in a wide range of mediums including SX-70 manipulations, photography, antique prints, mosaic art, handmade cards and gift items, painted furniture, ceramic tile painting, hand-painted floor cloths, abstract paintings, beaded jewelry, handmade purses, hand-painted scarves and stained glass products.

“SALES WERE SLOW at first because people were still looking for the flea market,” said Tobin, who printed up 2,000 brochures. Once they were distributed, traffic was noticeably improved.

“Word is getting out, and people now know that we’re here and what to expect,” she said.

The grand opening celebration will include several activities for adults and children throughout the morning. Don’t miss “The Bea and the Bug,” a nonprofit children’s theater production that introduces children to the performing arts by highlighting American history. The first 50 children to attend will have a chance to have their pictures taken with HoneyBea, BungleBug or DragonFly. All children will have the opportunity to have their faces painted by volunteers from the Alexandria Red Cross Youth Program.

Art Del Ray will be held every Saturday morning from 8 a.m.-noon, April through December, in the 2200 block. For more information, call 703-548-5732.