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A Calendar To Keep

Original art on display at Gallery Lafayette.

Once again the images that are Old Town Alexandria can be enjoyed every day of 2007 with Todd Healy's annual holiday calendar.

From the January snow piles and remaining holiday decorations on Duke Street to the flag waving birthday of the nation and city on South Fairfax Street in July to pumpkins and a raven in October and the newly arriving December winter on South Lee Street, it presents a panorama of what makes Old Town, Old Town. After the year has vanished, the images remain, each suitable for framing.

Owner and artist in residence of Gallery Lafayette, 320 King St., Healy not only paints and produces his scenes of Old Town for the calendar every year but also, for the past five years, has created a tree ornament representative of the city. This year's offering, named "Seaport," depicts a two masted schooner arriving at the local docks. Selling for $26 each, only 2,600 were produced.

This year's 27th edition of his calendar is priced at $16.95. Complementing the calendar images are holiday cards for $16.95 per box and gift tags for $5.95 per box. Both are packaged in quantities of 10 per box.

As explained on the back of his calendar, "Virginia is my birthplace; moving from Virginia Beach to Northern Virginia in 1976, I found my muse ... the historic city of Alexandria," Healy states.

"Alexandria's seaport in early American history created a commercial and residential district of buildings that does not exist often outside Europe. The colonial city's large urban population required housing and public buildings that remain in use today," he stated.

"When I walk along the footpaths of George Washington, who first surveyed these original lots of Alexandria, I am drawn to the sense of home and community. I often think of the artisans who built these homes and public buildings," Healy explains on the back of his 2007 calendar.

"My watercolors and illustrations are dedicated to these artisans and their significant contributions to this city. It takes me over 100 hours to create an image of a single building," he explains. The original paintings are on display in the gallery through December.

Each image is done by hand to capture the essence of the structures portrayed throughout the calendar year. "My hours of effort honor the significant contribution of the craftsmen" who built Alexandria and made it a "very special place to live and work then and now," Healy states.

Gallery LaFayette, tucked in the rear of Gadsby's Arcade, directly across from Market Square and City Hall, also offers a wide array of items displaying Alexandria scenes. These include mugs, napkins, note cubes, tote bags, wine sacks, and tea towels to mention only a few.

Healy's primary enterprise is the selling and framing of various works of art. During the holiday season the demand for framing rises significantly. "Anyone intending to get art work framed in time for Christmas come in no later than Dec. 14. With Christmas falling on a Monday this year, that's going to have to be our cut off date," Healy said.