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Local artists pop up in AdMo
In fiction, the vanishing shop is a pretty common convention—an exploring protagonist is surprised to find a store sitting where there might have been an abandoned building or vacant lot the day before, only for it to disappear soon after. Much like this proverbial protagonist, folks traversing through Adams Morgan over the next three weeks are likely to see a shop on the corner of 18th and Mintwood that isn’t normally there. However, there’s a more natural force at work here: a collection of Adams Morgan artists have turned the vacant space into a “pop-up shop” until April 16th, as a neighborhood component of the citywide Cherry Blossom Festival.
“Part of the concept is to promote local art and business,” said Janet Lugo-Tafur, the executive director of Adams Morgan Mainstreet, which runs the shop. Lugo-Tafur explained that the shop was inspired by the Temporiums that the D.C. Office of Planning is currently promoting, which take vacant spaces and transform them into temporary retail venues. Local artists and entrepreneurs are thus able to establish connections with customers while simultaneously utilizing otherwise empty space. Unlike the city’s Temporiums, the AdMo Pop-Up Shop runs independently on donated space, and promotes itself through partnership with the Cherry Blossom Festival.
Thanks to a wide variety of contributing artists, the shop’s offerings are fairly diverse, featuring pottery, clothing, artwork, jewelry, and creations in virtually every medium. Many of the contributors volunteer in the shop itself. One such artist is sculptor Mickey Cuzzocoli, who makes original clay-fired pieces. Among her collection for sale are a raku-fired relief of an Italian nobleman blended with a canvas painting, and copper- and gold- toned sculptures of a reclining male form.
The shop’s most eclectic offerings come from its selection of photography and paintings, which include contributions from various local artists showcasing all kinds of styles and subjects—black and white and polaroid transfers, and scenes of D.C. life and world travel. Some of the store’s other offerings are a little more oddball, including a set of found-object jewelry including scrabble tile- and lego block-cufflinks. Another artist had prepared a series of pins and wallets based around a zombie motif, including a memorable scene of President Barack Obama decking one of the undead.
Perhaps the best aspect of the store is the opportunity to bring away the names of local artists to look at in the future, and possibly to meet them in person. Even if you only wind up purchasing one or two pieces, the experience of organic D.C.-bred art is a free token that every visitor to the pop-up shop gets to bring home.