Arts Showcase Returns to DC Area

Artomatic Kicks Off May 18 in Crystal City


The Artomatic event showcase is returning to Crystal City this May. It is a multimedia arts event that will be held May 18 through June 24 at the TransWestern Presidential Towers in Crystal City, Va., the largest venue to date.

Artomatic was founded in 1999 and the last show was in 2009. It is an organization headed by a volunteer board of directors and is funded in part by the D.C. Commission of the Arts and Humanities.  According to the Artomatic website, the event was conceived as an idea to break down the geographical and social segmentation of the Washington arts scene, to bring cohesion among artists and art to the public eye.  Artists of all types appear at the event, including poets, dancers, musical groups, visual artists, film crews and fashion designers. The level of expertise ranges from novice to professional.

The artists collaborate to present a complete art spectacular by transforming their building space into a “playground for expression.” It is hoped that the event will provide change for the community and stimulate a creative economy.

Eric Shutt is marketing coordinator for the event, and he thinks this year will be the best one yet, with more artists, more bands and more performances.

“Since the last Artomatic in 2009, we’ve been busy with strategic planning and capacity building to be able to create even better events,” he said. “Additionally, the permit and licensing process can make it very difficult to find a space that will accommodate our needs for such a large-scale event.”

Shutt says the event came back this year because of partnerships. “This year, we are fortunate to partner with Crystal City, which has been a great partner in supporting Artomatic,” he said. “Crystal City and our real-estate agent partner Vornado have been instrumental in securing access to a space that will be able to accommodate Artomatic.”

The Artomatic team is expecting a major turnout this year. The last event in 2009, in which the showcase celebrated its 10-year anniversary, featured over 1,000 performing artists. It was held at the Monument Realty and the Capitol Riverfront BID and featured nine floors of visual and installation art, dance, comedy, street and theater performances, three music stages and a film screening theater. There were also workshops and seminars held throughout the entire month.

Shemika Berry, a D.C. resident, was a participant in the 2009 Artomatic showcase.

“I originally heard about Artomatic from a friend who is a photographer. I was one of her models for the showcase in 2009 as well,” she said. “For my submission, I presented performance art in the form of interpretive dance.  I was disappointed last year to know it wasn’t going on, so to learn that it is returning is fantastic news.”

Berry believes that the Artomatic showcase is a beneficial and wonderful project for the D.C. area. “I think Artomatic has a beautiful impact in the District. Artists come from different walks of life to share their passion with their neighbors and fellow artists. People can come together and share common love,” she said. “Art bridges us together. Art transcends race, gender and fears. It is an expression and a tool to teach others about the works they may not be familiar with. It is another way of beautifying and uniting the city, the people and our nation.”

For updates and more information visit www.artomatic.org.