Gary Spellman is one of the artists that is spearheading the exhibit, with culminates with a big event on March 18 that will feature musicians, comedians, a bongo player and overall hipness that might be connected with this bygone era. There will be an art raffle too. Spellman lived in Laguna Beach years ago and was absorbed into the beat atmosphere, so his studio walls are covered with his paintings of classic 1950s cars and other items that scream “daddy-o.”
“I was born in the 1950s so I paint what I know,” Spellman said, “it’s funky and cool, the funkiness of it,” he said. One item in particular is a 3-D art piece of old corks and a flashing red light that his father bought in the 1950s and he’s saved it ever since. It provides an inspiration. Another item is a beatnik bobblehead he bought in some secondhand store. “It’s just fun,” he added.
The fun is carried over to the whole exhibit put together with works from many of the artists at the Workhouse in a fashion they call “Series 2023.” Daddy-O is the sixth series, and their last one fit a pirate theme. People dressed up like pirates for the final fun day at the Workhouse and Lura Bovee hopes attendees will get the same inspiration this time around on March 18.
“We try to encourage people to dress up, more people dressed up like pirates than we expected,” Bovee said. In the studio building where the Series party will gather, “we’re making it look like an old, seedy coffee shop from the 1960s,” she said.
The artists are a big part of the Workhouse atmosphere, but with the Series events, which are also a fundraising event, they count on the staff, the board members, artists and people from the surrounding community that may have a talent that is needed. “We draw on all these people, different talents,” she said.
For the Daddy-O exhibit, which will be in building 16 where the gift shop and offices are, there are paintings of various genre, glass sculptures, 3-D art and jewelry that have a “beat” feel to them. Luce is a painter also, and recently started painting pictures of vents and windows from some of the former prison buildings too. The rusted steam vents, aged brick walls and window coverings reinforce the feeling that art is whatever inspires.
Luce does have a connection to the Beat Generation too. Years ago, her cat was named Lenny Bruce, who is a famous comedian and influencer from that time.
Workhouse Arts Center
9518 Workhouse Wy, Lorton, VA 22079
Phone: (703) 584-2900