Mason Community Members Show Their Stuff at Artomatic

Posted: June 4, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

A number of Mason faculty, staff and students are participating in this year’s Artomatic, “a month-long multimedia arts event that draws together visual artists, musicians and performers and brings their work to the community without charge,” according to its web site.

This year’s program, which opened May 9 and runs until June 15, comprises 1,000 artists occupying 10 floors of the Capital Plaza I building, 1200 First Street, NE, in Washington, D.C. According to the Artomatic web site, the event began in 1999 with about 350 artists.

Physics professors Ernest Barreto and Paul So are back at Artomatic after participating for the first time last year. Barreto is showing four photographs of buildings on the 12th floor, while So is displaying a series of acrylic paintings on the sixth floor.

Karl Zhang, assistant professor of Chinese in the department of Modern and Classical Languages, read aloud a selection of Chinese poems in his native language and English translations at Artomatic on May 29.

The poems were part of a translation project called Time Shadows cosponsored by the Goethe Institute and the Chinatown Chinese Culture Center in Washington, D.C. Time Shadows celebrates German, Chinese and American cultures, each of which has contributed to the rich cultural history in Chinatown. The poems, which were written over a period of 1,200 years, reflect the experiences of Chinese and German immigrants downtown during the 19th and 20th centuries. Since February, sets of poems from these three cultures have appeared in storefront windows and on Chinatown buses.

artomatic space
Amanda Martin’s photographs are displayed on the left side of a space she shares at Artomatic with her friend, Tina Duryea.
Photo courtesy of Amanda Martin

Amanda Martin, assistant to Sara Cobb, director of the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR), is a nature and landscape photographer whose photos were used in a brochure about Point of View, the ICAR research and conference center under development.

Martin says, “I have always enjoyed taking pictures. My boss’ encouragement and that of my friends and family motivated me to display my work at Artomatic this year.” Martin’s photographs are displayed on the 11th floor at Artomatic near the West Elm lounge.

Creative Services photographer Evan Cantwell is exhibiting his photographs for the first time at Artomatic. His display is on the fourth floor. Cantwell said he joined this year to “show some work and be part of the experience.”

As part of their participation, artists are required to donate some time to helping run the program. Cantwell was assigned to help artists set up their spaces and was impressed to “see it come alive” as the empty floors were partitioned and filled with art.

Jim Greif, a public relations manager in University Relations by day, plays drums with several bands in his free time. He played with a rock group, My Friend Autumn, and an Irish band, O’Tasty, during Artomatic’s opening weekend.

Greif has participated in Artomatic several times before with different bands. For his volunteer duty, Greif was assigned to the bar area, and said the experience “was great for networking. It’s neat that that many local artists of all kinds get together.”

Amanda Novcic, who graduated in May with a BA in Art History and a minor in arts administration, has been working with Artomatic on the programming side, booking the musical acts and organizing a fashion show.

Novcic was familiar with Artomatic from being a volunteer in previous years, but she joined the nonprofit group in February as part of an internship for her arts administration program. She was able to co-manage a smaller event sponsored by Artomatic, a glass exhibit, earlier this year.

Like Greif, she found the networking aspect of Artomatic valuable.

“I expect to use my contacts after the event closes,” she says. “I’d like to be an artist representative, and lots of contacts [from Artomatic] are interested in my services.”

Artomatic is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5 to 10 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 2 a.m.; and Sundays from noon to 10 p.m.

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