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Our 60th Anniversary Year in Review

What a great year! Here are our top five moments on Instagram. Thanks for a wonderful 60th Anniversary year!

A video posted by The Art League (@theartleague) on

If you’re a regular at The Art League, we don’t need to tell you it’s been a huge year for all of our artists, students, and supporters! This was our 60th anniversary year, and it went by so quickly, it’s easy to forget how it all started …

Way back in January we jumped into things with the Community Canvas, a collaborative effort that you worked on all year long. At the end of the year, the completed Community Canvas was installed at Artfête and is on view at our Madison Annex!

Also in the Gallery in January, the Space of Her Own class displayed their photographs, and “Abstract Expressionism Revisited” kicked off the year’s series of art history-inspired exhibits. Here are photos of all of those exhibits:

The party really got started in February when the 47th annual Patrons’ Show Fundraiser and the annual Student/Faculty Show decked the walls. As usual, we could count on you all to make each a rousing success!

Speaking of successes …

On a stroke of good fortune, the 60th anniversary year also coincided with the biennial Ikebana Show in March — hopefully, you made it to the Gallery during the precious four days that exhibit was on display, because it won’t return until 2016!

Later that month, we were honored to host Combat Paper, the free workshop for veterans and service members. For a special exhibit in November, we’d say hello again to Combat Paper and other veterans’ art organizations, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s not skip …

April — the month we welcomed 2014’s extended, mild summer by venturing outside for some painting en plein air.

In the “Pop Art” exhibit, a Pharrell-hat themed painting by Diane Blackwell generated a lot of media attention for the fourth Art on the Rocks.

A different kind of celebrity collided with The Art League in May when celebrated performance artist and Franklin Furnace founder Martha Wilson visited. Her talk, which you can watch below, coincided with our exhibit “The Feminist Movement in Art.”

Two Art Leaguers wrote guest posts about feminist art during that exhibit, which you should read here and here if you haven’t already!

The Art League’s June was the start of Art Camp and summer classes at the School — the most exciting time of the year to be at the Madison Annex! In the Gallery, we invited ceramics artists from across North America to enter our “Tabletop” exhibit and tell us what functional pottery means to them.

That brought the blog one step closer to publishing its 1,000th post in July! We had plenty of other things to get excited about, too: the new class catalog, the gallery’s new carpet, and new Torpedo Factory visiting artists.

“Influence & Inspiration”
“Influence & Inspiration”

In August we said hello to new instructors for the school year ahead — and, in a special exhibit at the Athenaeum, celebrated those from the past several decades. Between “Influence & Inspiration” and the globe-trotting ’Scapes exhibit, there was no shortage of incredible artwork this summer.

That includes Art Camp, which we visited in August to make this video of a day at camp. Unfortunately, August marked the end of Art Camp, but the Madison Annex got plenty busy again in October. First, though …

In September we had a blast at the King Street Art Festival with our ice cream bowls and some participatory art contributing to our Community Canvas. But that wasn’t the only festival this Fall …

… because October saw a host of talented artists come into town for our first-ever Portrait & Figure Festival. If you couldn’t attend, you can always see photos from the weekend here and watch the keynote and panel discussion right here:

There was another first in October: Art on Tap! We discovered that art pairs just as well with craft beer as it has with cocktails … and had a lot of good food along the way, including some more amazing ice cream.

We had a third adventure this month, too: Art Safari!

In November The Art League celebrated Veterans’ Day with an exhibit of art by veterans. The artwork came from participants in programs by The Art League’s IMPART (Injured Military Personnel Art), the USO, Fort Belvoir, Combat Paper, and the Smithsonian Arts, Military + Healing program.

For a grand finale to our 60th year, we planned a special Artfête party in December — complete with live music from a new band, demos and artwork from our instructors (lots of fire!), students strutting their stuff in a wearable art runway show, and this sculpture installation/demolition by Michael Verdon:

Oh, and the finished Community Canvas made its debut! How’s that for coming full circle?

You can see the finished installation at the Madison Annex, and lots of photos from Artfête here.

Thank you to all of our Art League friends for making this year such a success! We wish you a happy, healthy, and creative new year in 2015!

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