AFP Spotlight: Jessica Beels

JBeelsInstalRepose2015This is a profile of one of our FY15 Artist Fellowship Program (AFP) grantees, Jessica Beels, a visual artist in Washington, DC.

Q: Are you from the Washington, DC area originally?
A: I am originally from New York City, but I lived in DC with my family for a few years when I was a toddler, so I still have ties to the city (and great memories!) from back then. When I was in DC as a child, we lived in Glover Park. I moved back to DC in the mid-80s for a job at the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. I lived off of upper 16th street with friends for a few months, and then moved to near Van Ness, then on to Capitol Hill for a couple of years. Finally, I ended up in Adams Morgan, where I still live today.

Q: Where have you studied/gone to school for your art?
A: I have never gotten a degree in studio art. I consider myself an accumulator of techniques and try not to miss an opportunity to learn a new skill or try a new material. I was an Art History major in college (Harvard – focusing on Renaissance painting). My senior thesis was on depictions of doctors in 17th-century Dutch art. In college, small classes and strict requirements made it virtually impossible for me to minor in studio art, so I worked on at least two theater productions each year (no major was offered at the time, so it was all extracurricular), doing everything from acting to stage managing to set, costume, and prop design. I also managed to take a class called Projects in Three Dimensions (taught by William Reimann), which totally changed the way I thought about using materials creatively. I took classes in sculpture and drawing at the Corcoran when I first moved to DC in the 80s. I have also also been to Penland School of Crafts (North Carolina) for a Metals (jewelry) class and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts (Maine) for Papermaking and Metals (cold connections).

Q: Favorite advice you’ve received from a teacher/mentor/colleague?
A: “Choose your Waterloo.” This actually was something a dear friend said to me the morning of my wedding. It could mean don’t pick a fight unless you are ready for it to be your last. But mostly it is a gentle reminder to take a deep breath and think before you jump in to something really heavy. It is not advice to avoid conflict, just to think before you jump.

Q: Favorite neighborhood in DC?
A: Adams Morgan, with lots of Brookland thrown in.

Q: Favorite food (and best place to get that in DC, if you want to share that, too)?
A: My most recent favorite is the pork buns at Sakuramen (Adams Morgan).

Q: Favorite game (board game, card game, video game, etc.)?
A: Scrabble or Boggle – I am a word nut.

Q: Favorite time of the year?
A: Fall, because you can see things changing before your eyes and it’s not about to get really hot.

Q: What book are you currently reading?
A: The Blazing World – Siri Hustvedt.

Q: What is your motto?
A: I don’t have one, that’s too binding.

Q: What would your superpower be?
A: Peacemaker.

Q: Three artists (living or dead) whom you would want to have dinner with?
A: Alexander Calder, Judith Leyster, Ai Wei Wei (but maybe not all at the same time).

DC’s Hot Hits & Hidden Jewels; Friday, May 29 – Sunday, May 31

Check out this weekend’s Hot Hits & Hidden Jewels from, your link to the Arts in Metro DC.

JarryJarry Inside Out
Spooky Action Theater at Universalist National Memorial Church.
Mixing biography with unbridled inner imagination, Jarry Inside Out tracks the convention shattering journey of Alfred Jarry (1873–1907), whose monstrous anti-hero Père Ubu launched the modern era of Dada, Surrealism and Theater of the Absurd.

DanceAfricaDanceAfrica, DC 2015 Master Class Series
Dance Place. Sat. & Sun.

Explore the richness of African Dance traditions from Guinea, Mali and Senegal.

The TrapThe Trap
Ambassador Theater at GWU Building XX. Sat. & Sun.
Inspired by life and work of Franz Kafka, The Trap is a collage of events, images and sounds that deeply affected the artist, full of surprises; humor and tragedy go pair in pair.

CultureCapital.  Your Metro DC Arts Alliance for over 30 years.

Call For Artists: “A Taste of the Caribbean”

ArtImpactUSAArt Impact USA has several year round exhibition opportunities in the Washington DC area, for visual artists.

They are collaborating with Art Rave DC and the Institute for Caribbean Studies to produce an art exhibition during the Caribbean American Heritage Month – June 2015.  They have space for up to 15 artists to show up to four pieces in the two newly remodeled gallery spaces. Artists will be able to exhibit work for three weeks, Wednesday, June 10 through Wednesday, July 1st.  The reception will be held on Sunday, May 14th, 3-6pm.

Deadline:  Monday, June 8th, 2015, 11:59 PM

Click here for more information.

Dance Exchange 2015 Summer Institute

Register today to join Dance Exchange for this 8-day immersive experience and become part of their multi-year project, New Hampshire Ave: This Is a Place To… . Explore Dance Exchange tools and practices while collaborating with local artists, city planners, community organizers, and residents in Takoma Park, MD, to plan, facilitate, and perform in a large-scale community festival culminating in a fresh take on Liz Lerman’s landmark work, Still Crossing. Participants of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities are welcome.

For more information, and to register, please click here.

FY15 Grantee Linn Meyers at the Phillips Collection


The Phillips Collection celebrates the fifth anniversary of Intersections, which since 2009 has presented the work of 21 artists—10 men and 11 women—from the US and abroad. Each artist engaged the museum’s collection and architecture in different ways, creating diverse projects—both aesthetically and conceptually—and employing various media and approaches from wall-drawing, rubber-painting, bicycle spoke sculpture, and digital photography to video projection and yarn installation.

MAY 28, 2015, 6:30 PM

Celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Phillips’s Intersections contemporary art projects that invites artists to create work inspired by the art and spaces of the museum. Hear from the some of the series artists as they share insight on their projects and works that have entered the Phillips’s permanent collection.


  • Lee Boroson
  • Annabel Daou
  • Tayo Heuser
  • Bernhard Hildebrandt
  • Jae Ko
  • Barbara Liotta
  • Jean Meisel
  • Linn Meyers
  • Alyson Shotz
  • Jeanne Silverthorne

Linn Meyers is an FY15 Artist Fellowship Program grantee. 

Intersections @ 5 is on display until October 25, 2015.

Designed to Recycle: Adapting Error

[A guest post from Artist Yuriko Jackall, as part of a special Designed to Recycle series]

I see recycling as a creative and adaptive process that can generate new content — ideas, forms, images.

In my professional life, I work with Old Master paintings that are approximately three hundred years old. I think a lot about the origin of works of art and the original intent of the artist. I also think about sharing knowledge and appreciation of art, particularly through digital images and scans and technical images of paintings such as x-radiographs. In the process, it’s interesting to think about how artists — but also researchers, scientists, and even advertisers or retailers — rely upon available digital data and images to create new content.

Yuriko Jackall Heat

The idea behind my work for Designed to Recycle literally came from my desire to recycle a digital “mistake” or glitch — the warped scan of a color transparency. I began to play with reusing and manipulating this content, converting analogue scan into a new digital form to create abstract visual images resembling series of banded neon wavelengths. The original starting point, the mistake, reappeared as an explosion of color and light.


When designing for a recycling truck I tried to mix influences, art forms, and images to make a visually pleasing object. The bright colors are intended to stimulate the viewer, the stripes, lines, and blurred areas of color to create a sense of motion based upon repetition and disorder. When the truck is in motion, these colors should appear even more dynamic, actively drawing the eye and animating the urban surroundings.

– Yuriko Jackall, Designed to Recycle Artist

[Designed to Recycle, a public art project collaboration between the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the DC Department of Public Works, was developed to create mobile canvases featuring the work of local artists to highlight the importance of recycling.  Over the course of spring and summer 2015, ten recycling trucks will be wrapped in the work of local artists.]

2015 Kennedy Street Festival Call for Artists

The 2015 Kennedy Street Festival will be held on June 20, 2015 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Kennedy Street Festival

“Last year’s inaugural Kennedy Street Sidewalk Festival was a smashing success. This year we’re building on that success and looking forward to drawing on our even wider group of neighborhood supporters as we celebrate 100 years of Kennedy Street NW.”

If you are a local artist, artisanal product maker, or entertainer interested in participating in the festival, submit an application by June 7th. You can also email them at with any questions.

Click here for the 2015 Call for Vendors – Artists, Artisans, and Entertainers [PDF].

Music on the Mall Spotlight: Freddie Dunn

Freddie Dunn live at Daphne
Freddie Dunn is center stage, on the trumpet

This is a profile of one of our 2015 Music on the Mall artists, Freddie Dunn.

Q: Are you from the Washington, DC area originally?
A: I’m not originally from DC; grew up in East Orange, NJ

Q: If not, when did you move here and where did you live when you first got here?
A: I moved to northeast DC from Maryland four years ago.

Q: Where have you studied/gone to school for your art?
A: I studied classical trumpet at UMBC. I studied privately with Alan Colin, Cecil Bridgewater, and Bill Warfield.

Q: Favorite advice you’ve received from a teacher/mentor/colleague?
A: My favorite advice: trumpet legend, Arturo Sandoval told me KYAT (Keep Your a** Tight, and blow your soul through the horn!)

Q: Favorite neighborhood?
A: Brookland.

Q: Favorite food (and best place to get that in DC, if you want to share that, too)?
A:  Italian (Red Hen) & Sushi (Kotobuki).

Q: What book are you currently reading?
A: The Future of the Music Industry.

Q: What is your motto?
A: Plan for the best. Prep for the worst. And be ready for anything in between

Q: Three artists (living or dead) whom you would want to have dinner with?
The people I’d want to have dinner with:  Miles Davis, Pablo Picaso and Sigmund Freud.  The first two I’d pick their brains; the last I’d have him pick mine

The Sights and Sounds of Willow Run

[A guest post from FY15 Artist Fellowship Program (AFP) Grantee Noah Getz]

Music has great potential to reach beyond the boundaries of the concert hall and impact other art forms in meaningful ways.  As we eat with our eyes and our noses, audiences are listening with other senses engaged more today than in the past.  An opportunity for this kind of collaboration began with a casual conversation after my recent performance with the 21st Century Consort.  Ernestine Ruben, a photographer who is well known for her contemporary techniques in photographic manipulation, was explaining that she had been granted access to photograph the Willow Run bomber factory in Detroit Michigan that was about to be demolished.  Ruben’s grandfather, Albert Kahn, was the architect that designed this factory so the project was a statement about the pros and cons of progress, a family history, and the emotions of loss and rebirth.

Dark Horizontal

Willow Run was constructed near Detroit during World War II to produce the B24, the workhorse of the bomber fleet.  It was at that time the largest factory in the world under one roof: 1 1/2 miles long and 1/2 mile wide.  Its success in the war effort was inestimable and at its peak produced the astounding number of one bomber per hour, each then flown directly to England and France, piloted primarily by women.  The famous WWII symbol of the female factory worker, Rosie the Riveter, originated at Willow Run.  Sixty percent of the workers were women.  This was a major contribution to our winning WWII as well as a major social change regarding the place of women in the workforce.

Ruben and I discussed the idea of incorporating music and movement so that these manipulated images could ‘come alive’ in the minds of the audience.  As we brainstormed about this project, it became clear that we would need to commission a composer that had the creativity and flexibility to fulfill this goal.  Stephen Hartke was at the top of my list – I had heard the premiere of Netsuke at the Library of Congress and I couldn’t stop thinking about the sense of engagement I felt throughout the entire work as he found new and creative ways to expand the vocabulary of the violin and piano.  Once he agreed to participate, our conversations quickly turned to the logistics of creating this collaborative work of art.  Stephen would write the music first by using his own organization of Ernestine’s imagery.  I would perform the saxophone part as the central instrument surrounded by an acoustic orchestra that would stretch the boundaries of sonic possibility through the use of recorded layering techniques, and spatialization.

Number 1

Stephen’s new position as the Chair of the Composition Department at Oberlin Conservatory provides the perfect partner for the recorded sound manipulation required to create the perception of this vast industrial space.  Oberlin’s Technology in Music and Related Arts (TIMARA) has been at the forefront of computer music since the early 1970s.  The recording will take place at Oberlin’s TIMARA lab in the Fall of 2015.  The resulting recording will be used to create a film manipulation of Ruben’s still imagery.


Appropriately, the premiere installation of Willow Run, both as gallery show and video installation, will take place in Spring 2016 at the University of Michigan Art Gallery, just miles away from the site of the now demolished bomber factory.  Shortly thereafter, the show is set to move to the Museum at Oberlin College.

[The production is still accepting support. For more information, please contact Noah Getz directly, at]

DC’s Hot Hits & Hidden Jewels; Friday, May 22 – Sunday, May 24

Check out this weekend’s Hot Hits & Hidden Jewels from, your link to the Arts in Metro DC.

Fire and the RainThe Fire and The Rain
Constellation Theatre Company.

In this mystical exploration of humanity, we encounter a mask that possesses its owner, a tortured demon-soul on a mission, and a supernatural act of compassion. Fascinating surprises abound!

Black Power MixtapeFilm: The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (2011; 96 min)
Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum. Sat.

This award-winning Sundance documentary is a fascinating look at the American Black Power movement between 1967 and 1975 from the perspective of a Swedish film crew.

Memorial DayMemorial Day Weekend in Metro DC May 22-25, 2015
Various locations.

There’s plenty to do in metro DC this Memorial Day Weekend. Check here for over 40 suggestions from Choose from the national parade, museum and gallery exhibits, concerts, shows and family events.

CultureCapital.  Your Metro DC Arts Alliance for over 30 years.