Speakers Table

Foggy Bottom Raises the Bar on Outdoor Sculpture

April 23, 2012

The award-winning Arts in Foggy Bottom Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit opened for its third season in the Foggy Bottom Historic District on Saturday afternoon. Sculpting Outside the Lines, this year’s theme, is the inspiration of curator, Laura Roulet, who worked with founders and co-directors of the exhibit, Jackie Lemire, Jill Nevius and Mary Kay Shaw to create another distinctive display of public art for the neighborhood.

Founders Mary Kay Shaw, Jill Nevius and Jackie Lemire (Photo by: Robin Jones) Founders Mary Kay Shaw, Jill Nevius and Jackie Lemire

What began in 2008 as an effort to introduce sculpture into the community and bring neighbors together has evolved into a professional production with self-guided cell phone tours, artist-guided tours, maps, and more. Now in its third cycle with eight sculptures designed exclusively for the event, the show has the ability to match each sculpture with an appropriate outdoor space.

Sculpting Outside the Lines showcases 13 sculptures by 15 artists, most of whom are nationally recognized. The exhibit is the showcase for cast concrete angels by Dan Steinhilber who has had solo exhibitions at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Baltimore Museum of Art. Barbara Liotta, who recently showed at the Phillips Gallery as part of Intersections, will create a large-scale site-specific work. For the first time, new media is included such as a projection by Jefferson Pinder, whose exhibits include the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery and the Studio Museum of Harlem. Joseph and John Dumbacher, locally renowned for their solo exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, will install a 13’ aluminum abstract sculpture. Dalya Luttwak’s recent solo exhibitions include the Kreeger Museum, Washington DC. She will create a site-specific suspended “root work.” The other artists featured are Linda Hesh, EH-CO, Yukiko Nakashima, Foon Sham, Lina Vargas de la Hoz, and local graduate students Patrick McGowan, Adam Nelson, Blake Turner, and Peter Lee who will present three new media works.

Curator, Laura Roulet, with Joseph and John Dumbacher in front of their sculpture, #286. (Photo by: Robin Jones) Curator, Laura Roulet, with Joseph and John Dumbacher in front of their sculpture, #286.

Sculpting Outside the Lines engages the community by expanding the boundaries of traditional outdoor sculpture, exploring the discourse between public and private in an active social space.

The exhibit can be seen in the yards of homes and businesses between 24th and 26th streets NW and H and K Streets. Self-guided tours are available on the web site or by picking up brochures that will be available at each of the sculpture sites. Artist-guided tours will be held on the third Saturday of each month at 11:00 am originating at the corner New Hampshire Avenue and Eye Street NW.

Arts in Foggy Bottom with its inaugural outdoor sculpture exhibit won the Mayor’s Arts Awards for “Innovation in the Arts” in 2009. It is funded by The Foggy Bottom Association Defense and Improvement Corporation. For more information, visit Foggy Bottom Association

By Robin Jones, a marketing and style consultant.


Click here to share your thoughts.

Blossoming Bonus: Cherry Cupcakes Come to Town

April 9, 2012

The cheery spirit of cherry blossoms has inspired bakers across town to create special offerings during the National Cherry Blossom Festival

(Photo by: Andrea Adleman)

Though the blossoms peaked a few weeks ago, the annual parade is April 14th and the festival continues until April 27th.

So do most of these sweet treats at area bakeries.

Georgetown Cupcake is serving a Madagascar bourbon vanilla cupcake baked with fresh cherries and topped with vanilla cream cheese frosting. The masterful creation holds true to the cupcakery’s signature traits: premium-quality ingredients, skillful baking and the sister-owners’ heartfelt passion for their craft.

Mother Nature has a hand in the arrival of cherry cupcakes at Baked & Wired. They appear in the bakery case as soon as co-owner Teresa Velazquez sees flowers on the cherry tree in her back yard.  Velazquez’s cupcake is a vanilla cake with chopped maraschino cherries. Cherry juice tints the cake pink and so vividly colors the frosting that it’s hard to believe the electric pink is natural.

(Photo by: Andrea Adleman)

The unmistakable taste of real fruit dominates Sprinkles’ cherry blossom cupcake. Cherry flavor shines through in the pink frosting, which tops a vanilla cake accented with moist diced cherries. The cupcake is adorned with an official National Cherry Blossom Festival decoration.

(Photo by: Sprinkles)

If the cherry cupcakes in the window of Georgetown Scoops catch your eye, don’t be deterred by the fact that it’s an ice cream shop. These first-rate artisan cupcakes are made with European butter and other imported ingredients. The cherry blossom cupcake is vanilla cake with dried cherries. Its value comes not from its bottom but from its top: a graceful swirl of light, airy and luscious frosting. Containing markedly less sugar than conventional American recipes, the frosting is hands-down the best kept secret in Georgetown bakery news.

(Photo by: Paul bakery)

Georgetown Scoops has also crafted a cherry blossom ice cream with cherry chunks and notes of rose and Amaretto.

PAUL Bakery is showcasing a capsule collection of cherry pastries. The ensemble includes torsade cerises (cherry twisted bread), croissant aux cerises filled with pastry cream and cherries, cherry cramique brioche with sugar pearls and sour cherries, flan aux cerises (cherry flan tart), millefeuille aux cerises (Cherry Napoleon) and eclair aux cerises.

(Photo by: Häagen-Dazs)

The millefeuille, for one, makes a statement even before the first bite is sampled. From the way the knife hits the crust, it’s obvious the pastry is optimally crispy and fresh. The flaky crust perfectly complements the exquisite, creamy filling.

If you like your desserts frozen, you can get your fill at Häagen-Dazs and Johnny Rockets. Haagen-Dazs is featuring a cherry sorbet smoothie and Johnny Rockets will make an off-menu cherry milkshake upon request.

Even after the Cherry Blossom Festival concludes, cherry desserts can be found year around at several sweet shops.

(Photo by: Andrea Adleman)

Pies are a best-seller at Baked & Wired, which offers traditional cherry pies and single-serving cherry hand pies.

Newcomer Pie Sisters is making a cherry pie with a dash of almond extract, gaining recognition for the flaky, hand-rolled crusts that encase their sweet and savory pies and individual “cuppies.”

(Photo by: Andrea Adleman)

Whole Foods is promoting a line of retro soda-pop cupcakes, including a vanilla cherry flavor with a subtly effervescent frosting.

With so many choices, cherry fans have plenty to cheer this season and all year.

By Andrea Adleman, a communications consultant

Click here to share your thoughts.

Raise the Bar and Vote Peter Shapiro

April 2, 2012

On Tuesday, raise the bar for D.C. Council candidates by voting for Peter Shapiro, the best qualified candidate for at-large councilmember.  No other candidate combines clear, specific policy positions with a track record of legislative leadership.  Those are simple, uncontestable facts.

After two years on the Town Council in Brentwood, Maryland, Shapiro was elected to the Prince George's County Council from 1998 to 2004 and served as council chair for two years.  Unlike in D.C., the Council Chair position in Prince George’s County is elected within the Council, attesting to Shapiro’s ability to work collegially with a diverse Council to get things done.  That’s a skill that has been sorely missing on the current DC Council.

Shapiro’s platform includes specific proposals to address unemployment, affordable housing and homelessness and economic development that have worked elsewhere, but require the legislative leadership that Shapiro has demonstrated.

Those are the reasons why Shapiro’s enthusiastic supporters are so committed to his candidacy.  The reality is that other candidates – Councilmember Vincent Orange and Sekou Biddle – lack either clear, specific policy positions or a track record of legislative leadership.

Councilmember Orange has served two full terms and a partial term on the D.C. Council, and has no significant legislative achievements to show.  He routinely introduces legislation, such as a recent Jobs Czar bill, on his own with no consultation with his colleagues.  His proposals go nowhere as a result, and he is viewed as a grand-stander by his colleagues.

Sekou Biddle would be an attractive candidate if he would tell voters specifically what he would do if elected.  The lack of specific policy positions from Biddle has frustrated me and others who have met with him with an open mind to his candidacy, and raised concerns about how he would legislate if elected.  I sincerely hope that, should Biddle lose, he writes and advocates for educational policy issues and develops specific proposals in advance of a future Council run.

Biddle’s lack of detailed legislative proposals is concerning given his erratic handling of important legislation during his brief tenure on the Council.  Then Interim Councilmember Biddle voted against a tax increase that was supported by most DC residents and ultimately passed the Council, and that Biddle had previously supported.  He explained his vote to me and others by saying that he believed equivalent cuts could be made in certain agencies, but that he didn’t have the time to research and propose those cuts in lieu of the tax increase. 

It is probably due to Peter Shapiro’s deep legislative experience that he has specific policy proposals.  For some unknown reason, many have dismissed Shapiro’s legislative leadership in Prince George’s County – often known as Ward 9 – as evidence of a lack of knowledge of DC issues.  Shapiro speaks about many issues – such that the workforce intermediary – with more knowledge than half the current Councilmembers.  And he also brings extensive experience, such as chair of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board, to the many metropolitan-wide issues that several current Councilmembers have not mastered.

When Shapiro and his supporters are asked why we should vote for him, they point to his policy proposals. 

When Orange and his supporters are asked why we should vote for him, they point to legislative proposals that went nowhere and they falsely take credit for anything that happened in Ward 5 during his two terms. 

When Biddle and his supporters are asked why we should vote for him, they say that Biddle was in the race before Shapiro, and that progressives need to take turns.  That’s simply not good enough. 

Progressives aren’t losing elections in D.C. because we aren’t good at convincing good candidates to sit down and wait their turn for office.  Progressives are losing elections in DC because we aren’t good at building campaign organizations and enthusiastic, active constituencies. 

When the latter happens, then progressives will break out of the pack of contenders and win elections.  That’s Shapiro’s plan, and he has earned my vote as a result.

By Ken Archer

Click here to share your thoughts.