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Portrait & Figure Festival


The Art League is proud to announce its first Portrait and Figure Festival, a celebration of the artists, works, and techniques in one of the most compelling genres of visual art! The Portrait and Figure Festival takes place October 23-25, 2014 at The Art League in Old Town Alexandria, VA. The Registration Fee is $335 per person and allows full access to all programs during the festival.

Full scheduleFAQInstructorsClick here to register


Nineteen Art League and visiting instructors will be at the Portrait and Figure Festival, all talented and prolific portrait and figure artists. Hover over an image for a short description of the artist.

  • Bill Adair

    A frame conservator, frame historian, and master gilder, Adair has curated several frame exhibitions, including the first to take place in America.

  • David Carter

    Carter is the Art Dept. chair at Montgomery College’s Germantown Campus. He creates oil, acrylic, watercolor, pencil, and computer-generated art.

  • Danni Dawson

    An artist and teacher for over 25 years and with over 300 portraits to her credit, Dawson has painted heads of state, dignitaries, and university officials.

  • Michael Grimaldi

    Grimaldi is a teacher at the Art Students League, the Janus Collaborative School of Art (which he co-founded in 2007), and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

  • Scott Hutchison

    While paint and animation dominate the technical side of Hutchison's work, conceptually, Hutchison explores identity and introspection.

  • Robert Liberace

    Liberace is accomplished in both sculpture and painting and teaches at The Art League and holds workshops throughout the nation and abroad.

  • Paul Lucchesi

    A well-known sculptor and painter, formerly of New York City, Lucchesi lives and works in West Virginia, offering workshops both here and internationally.

  • Joe Mullins

    Mullins is a Forensic Imaging Specialist with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. His education is in graphic design and fine art.

  • Thanasi Papapostolou

    Papapostolou lives and works in the DC metro area. His work synthesizes classical figurative sculpture with the conceptual experiential movement of the present.

  • Steve Prince

    Steve A. Prince, a New Orleans native, is an artist, educator and art evangelist. His mediums are printmaking, drawing and sculpture.

  • Ted Reed

    Reed has received numerous awards from the Portrait Society of America for his work, which couples classical figure and portrait painting with clear, brilliant colors rarely seen in these fields.

  • Ephraim Rubenstein

    Rubenstein, a former University of Richmond professor, has taught at RISD and MICA. He is currently on the faculty at Columbia University, the National Academy of Design, and the Art Students League.

  • Jacqueline Saunders

    Jacqueline Saunders specializes in watercolor and pen and ink figurative work. She has taught at The Art League for over fifteen years.

  • Kurt Schwarz

    Schwarz is a realist painter specializing in portraiture, still life and landscape, with work held in private collections throughout the United States and the world.

  • Lisa Semerad

    Lisa Semerad apprenticed with Nelson Shanks and Danni Dawson. She has taught drawing and painting at The Art League School since 1983.

  • Sharon Sprung

    Sprung is a contemporary realist figure painter who teaches drawing and painting at the Art Students League of New York and the National Academy School and Museum of Fine Arts.

  • Dan Thompson

    Thompson co-founded the Grand Central Academy of Art in New York and the Janus Collaborative School of Art in New York. He also instructs at The Art Students League and Studio Incamminati.

  • Costa Vavagiakis

    Realist painter Costa Vavagiakis is an instructor at the Art Students League of New York whose work has been featured in many publications and exhibits nationally.

  • Rick Weaver

    Weaver received his formal art training in New York at the National Academy of Design, the New York Academy, and the Art Students League, and is recognized for his sculpture and painting.

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Schedule overview

Below is a general overview of the weekend's events. To view the complete schedule, visit the Eventbrite registration page or download a PDF packet.



Thursday, October 23: Optional Pre-Festival Events

Attendees who register early may join one of the two Early Bird Events at no additional charge.

  • 1:00–4:00 pm: Early Bird Event — A special "behind-the-scenes" tour of the National Portrait Gallery.
  • 2:00 pm: Early Bird Event — A special "behind-the-scenes" artwork viewing in the Graphic Arts Storage at the National Gallery of Art.
  • 7:00–9:00pm: Join a small group of attendees to have a relaxed and social dinner with participating artist instructors. Get to know the artists and meet your Portrait & Figure Festival peers over great drinks and food. Dinners are at restaurants in Old Town Alexandria. (Additional fee & registration required. See the full schedule at the link above for the list of artists and restaurants.)


Friday, October 24: Festival Begins


  • 9:30–11:30 am: Master Demo with Danni Dawson
  • 9:30–11:30 am: Individual "Ask the Experts" sessions with Michael Grimaldi, Ephraim Rubenstein or Costa Vavagiakis.
  • 11:45 am–1:00 pm: Opening Keynote with Panel Discussion.
  • 1:15–3:15 pm: Break out individual sessions including Michael Grimaldi, Sharon Sprung and Rick Weaver. details
  • 3:30–4:00 pm: Innovator Talks with Joe Mullins, Scott Hutchison and Thanasi Papapostolou.
  • 4:15–6:15 pm: Break out sessions including Michael Grimaldi, Robert Liberace, and Paul Lucchesi.
  • 4:30–6:30 pm: Individual "Ask the Experts" sessions with Sharon Sprung, Dan Thompson or Rick Weaver.
  • 7:00–8:30 pm: Presenter Exhibit Reception at The Art League Gallery in the Torpedo Factory Art Center with book signings and featured artists.


Saturday, October 25: Festival Day Two


  • 9:00–11:00 am: Master Demo with Robert Liberace, Ted Reed, Kurt Schwarz and Dan Thompson
  • 10:00–11:00 am: Individual coaching/review sessions with Danni Dawson, Ephraim Rubenstein or Sharon Sprung.
  • 11:15 am–1:15 pm: Break out individual sessions including Jackie Saunders, Costa Vavagiakis and Rick Weaver
  • 1:30–2:00 pm: Innovator Talks with David Carter, Danni Dawson, Paul Lucchesi, and Steve Prince
  • 2:00–4:00 pm: Individual "Ask the Experts" sessions with Robert Liberace, Danni Dawson or Costa Vavagiakis.
  • 2:15–4:15 pm: Break out individual sessions including Ephraim Rubenstein, Lisa Semerad and Paul Lucchesi
  • 3:15–4:15 pm: Innovator Presentation by painter, influential framer, and master gilder Bill Adair: “Reframing the Conversation”
  • 4:30–6:30 pm: Break out individual sessions including Steve Prince, Kurt Schwarz, and Dan Thompson
  • 7:00–9:00 pm: Join a small group of attendees to have a relaxed and social dinner with participating artist instructors. Get to know the instuctors and meet your Portrait & Figure Festival peers over great food and drinks. Dinners are at restaurants in Old Town Alexandria. (Additional fee & registration required. See the full schedule at the link above for the list of artists and restaurants.)

Friday and Saturday


  • All Day Artists' Materials & Tools Market, 11:30 am to 4:30 pm

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Are there ID requirements or an age limit to enter the event?
Individuals must be 16 or older to participate. Those under the age of 18 need parental permission to attend.

Where can I stay during the Portrait & Figure Festival?
A block of 30 rooms has been reserved across the street at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at 901 North Fairfax St, Alexandria, VA 22314. Participants receive a discounted rate of $129 single/double occupancy per night + tax. To receive this discount, please use the code "BCP" when booking your room online. Click here for a link to Crowne Plaza's online reservations.

What are my transport/parking options getting to the Portrait & Figure Festival?
Metro: Take the Yellow or Blue Line to the King Street Station; then take the Alexandria Dash Bus #2 or #5, eastbound to the Madison and North Fairfax Street intersection.

Parking: Metered as well as free street parking is available at the Madison Annex. Paid parking lots are located at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and at the Colonial Parking lot located off of Montgomery Street behind the Sport and Health.

What can/can't I bring to the event?
Participants may watch or work along during the "Break Out" sessions. Work may be done in oil, watercolor, pastel, or other drawing material. Low fire clay is available for purchase onsite. If you choose to work in oil, only bring odorless paint thinners such as Turpenoid, please. We're sorry, but you can not bring unregistered attendees (this includes spouses, friends, children or pets).

I'm just a beginner. May I attend?
Absolutely! Artists at all levels are welcome.

Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?
If you have questions or concerns, please contact The Art League School office at 703-683-2323.

What is the cancellation/refund policy?
Participants must cancel by September 15, 2014. No refunds will be issued after September 15, 2014. There is a non-refundable registration fee of $50. For any questions or to cancel your registration, please email whitneys@theartleague.org or call The Art League School office at 703-683-2323.

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Click here to register


Special thanks to our in-kind sponsor:


Golden Artist Colors



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