The Beat Goes on with "Daddy-O” Art Show

The Beat Goes on with "Daddy-O” Art Show

Workhouse Art Center’s show culminates with bongo and guitars on March 18.

Goatees and clicking the fingers is all part of the scene.

Goatees and clicking the fingers is all part of the scene.

The Beat Generation of the late 1950s had goatees, guitars and visions which are all captured by the artists of the Workhouse Art Center’s “Daddy-O,” art movement which is displayed for the next month in Lorton.

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.”

Gary Spellman in his studio next to an authentic piece he inherited from the Beat Generation.


“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.

This art piece seems in tune with “On the Road.”


“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.

On The Road with the Beat Generation

The Beat Generation was born out of the 1940s and 1950s. The poets and writers were part of a literary movement of the 1940s that became better known in the 1950s as pop culture and media gained a foothold. Names that are connected with the “Beats,” included Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and the Beat bible was Kerouac’s book “On the Road.” The story follows characters Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty across the country, following a path laced with jazz, sex, generosity and drugs. Published in 1957, On the Road is still a reading staple for many.

Workhouse Arts Center

9518 Workhouse Wy, Lorton, VA 22079

Phone: (703) 584-2900