Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The Fourth of July and Durham Art Council

(Above:  Steve ... on the way to the security check tents that form the entrance to the performance area in front of the Capitol building.)

Last Thursday was the opening reception of my solo show, Last Words.  During the afternoon, Steve said, "Why not celebrate your show's opening by getting up at the crack of dawn and driving to Washington DC for Fourth of July fireworks?" 

(Above:  Our view from the northern lawn to the stage.)

I said, "What a good idea!"  Around 5 PM we packed a bag and some picnic gear ... then went to the Tapps Art Center for the 6 - 10 PM exhibit reception.

(Above:  Our view from the northern lawn to the stairs leading to the Capitol Building.)

I love going to Washington, DC.  I also love the fact that I get to sit in the car and stitch while Steve does all the driving!  We checked into an affordable hotel in Falls Church, VA and took the metro into the city ... arriving at the Capitol before 5 PM.  There were actually seats on the stairs ... but we didn't want to sit in the sun for three hours.  Steve already gets "zapped" by his skin doctor once a year!  We found a place on the north side lawn.  

(Above:  The north side lawn ... in the shade!  This is a view to the people directly to the north of us.)

Because Hurricane Arthur went up the Atlantic Ocean a day earlier, rain came to Washington, DC.  Thus, the temperatures were comfortable and the air was crystal clear.  We've been to DC for the Fourth of July went the high hit 103 degrees.  It wasn't nearly as much fun as picnicking with a slice of America!

(Above:  The north side lawn ... the people directly behind us.)

In the ten-yard square space around us were a couple originally from Korea, a Hispanic family, two Germans, and briefly two Dutch tourists (who found closer seats and left before the performance).  The ages ranged from newborn to people using walkers.  Everyone was friendly!  It was wonderful!

(Above:  Our view to the stage ... while Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons performed.)

The performance was great.  Large screens projected the entertainment on the stage.  For the most part, people in our area stood for the show.  By this time, we knew we didn't actually have a view to the fireworks.  Locals let us know that there would be a mass exodus during the National Symphony Orchestra's rendering of the 1812 Overture.  Sure enough!  When the real cannons started blasting, our area started walking.  Steve and I were ready and at the head of the pack.  The excitement in the air was tremendous.  Cops stood at barricaded streets to make sure everyone crossed easily.  We were on the way to the National Mall a few blocks away.  Sparkles of the fireworks were visible through the trees.  It was GREAT!

(Above:  FIREWORKS!)

There were thousands of people on the National Mall.  I attempted a few photos.  Most didn't turn out but I like the one above regardless!

(Above:  The best photo I managed ... which I took on Steve's cell phone and posted to Facebook!)

As soon as the firework finale ended, Steve and I headed for the nearest metro station.  Although we aren't locals, we KNOW Washington, DC ... where to go, when to move, and to have our metro pass in hand.  We managed to find SEATS on the first metro train leaving the area.  On the ride back to Falls Church, we saw other firework displays in the area.  It was a night to remember!

(Above:  The entrance to the Durham Arts Council, Durham, North Carolina.)

Steve and I stayed in DC.  We spent Saturday at the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival which featured Kenya and China.  (I'll be blogging about this later today!)  We headed back to Columbia on Sunday ... via the Durham Arts Council.

(Above:  The doorway leading into the exhibition space.)

This side trip figured prominently in the decision to travel north.  Why?  Well, I have a solo show in the Allenton Gallery here in Durham this coming September.  The organization's website has an excellent floor plan of the space ... without a scale!  The floor plan also lists a certain number of running feet on the wall (42') ... which didn't seem right at all (using the doors for a sense of size, the space appeared much bigger).  Okay ... I knew I could call and ask questions, but both Steve and I preferred to visit, see the space for ourselves, and make part of our trip to DC a legitimate tax deduction! LOL!

 (Above:  Steve looking at the current exhibition in the Allenton Gallery at the Durham Arts Council.)

The Durham Arts Council is open seven days a week, hosts many events, and is part of an enormous and very impressive arts complex.  The Allenton Gallery is the space between the two-story, glass enclosed entrance and the very large exhibition space in which group shows are curated.

(Above:  The Allenton Gallery ... one side.)

It is a fabulous, high traffic area.  The reason the floor plan was confusing is the fact that the rear wall is GLASS!  The view above shows the large, interior exhibition space ... directly through the glass wall dividing the area!  Now ... it all makes sense!

(Above:  The opposite side of the Allenton Gallery ... with a view through the glass wall into the larger exhibition area.)

The glass wall allows the exhibition area to have a great, wide open, and expansive feeling to both areas.  We also liked the work on display!  I've very excited to know my "In Box" and "Stained Glass" pieces will soon be gracing these walls!

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