My best friend KS kindly hosted Nick and I at her apartment for 2 weeks (Feb 12-Feb 25) in Alexandria, VA. I took advantage of the Metro near her apartment and explored DC and nearby Old Town.
My most memorable artful moments were:
- Visiting the Torpedo Factory Art Center. MUST SEE!
There are 3 floors worth of galleries, open studios, and classroom space. It was my first time here. I was grateful for the chance to speak with some of the artists. They were all so generous with their time and I enjoyed hearing about their creative process. (I'll write more about the creative people I spoke with in a later post).
- Visiting the Renwick Gallery. The Second Empire-style building is beautiful and its fiery red-orange exterior alone is worth seeing. The gallery is associated with the Smithsonian Art Museum and it showcases the craft and decorative arts collection. Their permanent collection is housed on the 2nd floor and I enjoyed seeing the diversity of works on display.
- Visiting the Smithsonian Art Museum. I originally went to the museum to participate in their Tuesday's Sketching: Draw and Discover at the Luce Foundation Center on the third floor from 3:00-4:30pm. I had some time before it started so I sat in their peaceful courtyard drinking mushroom bisque soup.
I was also able to leisurely look at the contemporary art pieces on the 3rd floor. ( I was somewhat creeped out by this sculpture when I realized she wasn't real!)
- Dropping in at the National Portrait Gallery to see the exhibit Asian American Portraits of Encounter, which is going on through October 14, 2012. (I'll also write more about this experience later.)
- Of course we can't leave out yummy-in-my-tummy, tongue-orgasmic moments. In Old Town I highly recommend two places. My favorite, especially for a date night, would be Fontaine Caffe & Crêperie. Nick and I went there for dessert after I had a very unsatisfying dinner experience at a different place. Fontaine's dessert crêpes are pinch-me-am-I-dreaming amazing (I ordered their chocolatey crêpe).
Then I was gobsmacked when I walked into their Grand Salon also located on the second floor. Was it because of the sheer amount of oil paintings on the wall?
My mouth is watering as I type this … Another place I'd suggest others to try is Layla's Lebanese Restaurant. My friends AH and MH hung out with KS, Nick, and I on a Saturday; we went to Layla's for dinner and it was everyone's first time eating there. All my friends had only good things to say. I enjoyed their hommos, rice, and tabouleh. Both eateries had excellent customer service; the wait staff were warm and friendly.
During my time in the DC area I felt that I wouldn't mind living here. Great access to all sorts of creative venues and opportunities. The one thing I wish I could have seen is the National Museum of Women in the Arts artist's books exhibition but it doesn't start until March 16th.
I had to satisfy myself with what was displayed in the museum's library. (Take a look at the text titled Book as Art and you'll understand why seeing a NMWA artist book exhibit is worth your time and is on my bucket list.)