images: Kimberly Cadena and Anchyi Wei
Okay, so we weren’t exactly making masterpieces. Most of us had no idea how to arrange a canvas along the guidelines of elegant composition or interesting color juxtaposition.
The thing about Art Jamz, though, is that making good art is not the point. It’s about turning the fun of expressing yourself and creating something with your hands, something physical that you can keep (that same kind of fun that made high school art classes so damn fun), into a social event with drinks, food, music, and lots and lots of acrylics.
Art Jamz, which launched on Wednesday, June 23 and continues its inaugural run each night through Saturday, June 26 at the Corcoran’s Gallery 31, offers 25 people access to a canvas, easel, paint, materials, and four hours to create a unique work of art while socializing and enjoying a stimulating selection of midtempo tracks spun by DJ Cassidy and DJ Fabiana. Founder Michael Clements was specific about keeping the event at 25 people – just enough to make the evening an event, but not enough to prevent meeting and chatting with everyone.
With the idea for the DC event arising from similar creative evenings he experienced while living in Hong Kong, Clements is seeking to create a new monthly social environment to overcome the notorious cliquey-ness of the typical bar-club-restaurant scenes.
All of the participants I talked to on Wednesday expressed utter satisfaction with the evening. They came in couples or small groups and commented on how the atmosphere was perfect for relaxing and spending time together while also making new friends.
Tara Palmeri, who was wrestling with her canvas to undo an accidental gray patch in her fuchsia, black, and white abstraction, told me, “This is better than going to a bar because it’s something new, something relaxing, and you get to be physical and creative.” Ernesto, who was hard at work with an impasto impressionist sunset, echoed others on the soothing, stress-free atmosphere. “There’s no pressure. You take it as seriously as you want to. We place too much value on going out to bars and clubs. Here is something actually refreshing and rewarding.”
Clements will return with Art Jamz monthly, at least “for as long as DC will have me,” and I, as a terrible painter but lover of art, music, and great social settings, highly recommend it as a light, fulfilling, and just plain fun evening. (And if you’re looking for something to do with someone special, this would make a perfect date night).
You can find out more and keep track of future events at www.artjamzdc.com