Thursday, December 29, 2011

Revisiting My Pipe Dreams

5 years ago I expressed 9 Pipe Dreams for the artworld in DC  and I wanted to revisit them and see whats' what for 2011. I also wanted to take the time to think of new dreams.

Here are the dreams I expressed in 2006 and my sense of where things are now.

1. MLK- the national center for the creative arts.
My Dream Then:
To turn MLK library into a National Center for the Creative Arts.
What's What 2011:
The fate of MLK library is still undecided. It seems likely that it will be altered in some way, and no chance in hell it will become an arts center. In fact, I've heard no talk of any interest in a DC arts center at all, national or citywide. I still like the idea. I'd still love to see something of this nature move forward. So, still a dream. still a pipe dream.

2. DC Arts on Foot

My Dream Then:
To expand Arts on Foot
What's What 2011:

Arts on Foot did expand! One year, it lasted a handful of days and expanded a few blocks. There was art, foor
d, drink, aerialists even! I had a great time. This year it was 2 days, so a bit smaller than its peak. One issue for me was that Arts on Foot once paid artists to participate. Now it costs quite a bit of money to participate. The last time I participated, Food was given center court in the middle of the street, and artists were put into an art tent alley on the sidewalk. People still bought art, but it did bother me a bit that we were shoved to the side. i wasn't able to make it this year, but i think they fixed that aspect. I hope it can continue to grow and maintain the visual arts as a focus. 


My Dream Then:
To have a large scale serious art fair in DC
What's What 2011:
Well, first we got artDC. a large scale international arts extravaganza at the Walter Washington Convention Center. I liked it. But it didn't come back for a repeat performance.  Then, this year, we got (e)merge. I loved it. It was a pipe dream come true! Cool galleries from around the world, cool art, great performances, lots of dc artists were included. AND it's going to happen again next year. Definitely the most significant Arts event in DC in the past 5 years. yay!! Maybe someday a gallery would want to include my work. Anyone? Class? Anyone? Bueller? 
My new pipe dream is that i get to actually participate in something like this.

4. A Grand Arts District Along North Capitol

My Dream Then:
Swamppoodle Arts Center on North Capitol, and a flood of galleries to the North Capitol Corridor.
What's What 2011:
North Capitol @Quincy Street, facing South

Nothing. well, nothing much. I live in this corridor of the city, and i've worked to chronicle things in my hood, so this one is more personal than the others on my list. so what IS going on? NPR is building its headquarters along North Capitol in an old Smithsonian space. A Fab Lab is coming. I've read that Artomatic may come back to NoMa, but we'll see.  Not much else going on. That old firehouse pictured in my original post from 5 years ago? still empty.
But i mentioned FabLab. I'm actually totally stoked about that. and we did have the Bloomingdale Arts Walk
I still hold on to a dream that North Capitol will be a home to more arts usage.

north capitol street dc.
North Capitol Street, facing north
Still a pipe dream.

5. DC will become a destination to buy and support arts. 

My Dream Then:
Fewer Washingtonians would think they have to go to NYC to buy art. and some may visit DC because of the arts here.
What's What 2011:
I think that this is changing. it's a good direction, and things like (e)merge, and the reactionary show that it spurred, are helping. Another great force since 2006 has been Philippa Hughes and her Pinkline Project. She wrote an article on Huffington Post concerning this topic. The population in DC  is still growing and there is now a lot of self respect and a growing desire to support DC artists.   
It's very promising. Pipe Dream halfway there!


6. More galleries will open in centralized locations.

My Dream Then:
To have a more centralized gallery scene.
What's What 2011:
Not so much. Virtually no galleries in "Gallery Place". The 14th street galleries are closing or moving. Trinidad has become host to a few galleries, but for the most part, our art scene is very spread out. I guess that's like most places anyway. Still a pipedream.

7. An ArtBoat Regatta on the Anacostia

My Dream Then:
Art Barges on the Anacostia!!!!!
What's What 2011:
DC is still seriously lacking in martime artistic endeavors.

down by the river

Maybe the Georgetown Canal.
walked along the canal today.

This maintains a water pipedream.

8. The Great Great American Beer and Art Fest.

My Dream Then:
Beer + Art. and lots of both. 
What's What 2011
One thing that I could not possibly foresee is that DC has Three breweries now in our fair city!!!!!! DC Brau,  Chocolate City Brewery and 3 Stars Brewing ! Amazing! Both have artwork decorating their walls. Maybe this could still happen!!!!! Maybe now just a dream, not a pipe dream.


9.  More galleries will start a blog.

My Dream Then:
I wanted to see more dynamic sites from galleries. I wanted more interaction between galleries and collectors and artists. I wanted to grow our social and cultural networks.

What's What 2011:
Do people still blog? well... i guess they do. But interactive content has made a huge jump to facebook and twitter. Nowadays pretty much everyone has made the leap to at least one of the 3 things. the ones that haven't have become invisible. maybe that works for them. But, things are way more accesible and interactive than they were 5 years ago. the shift in this is obvious to everyone but the olde thyme institutions that don't wish to have an audience under 50. I think this pipe dream has become irrelevant.

All in all DC seems to have come a long way in the past five years. I look forward to the next five with the hopes of even greater improvements. If anyone reads this, i'd love to hear your thoughts on what you would love to see for the arts in dc ( or your own town). 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

the future of lighting

I'm blown away by the coolness and the possibilities of OLED's. The old Edison bulbs that i love to use in my art work are already being phased out and will be looked back on the way we look back on ENIAC. I'd love to utilize this light source into work that i'm currently creating.

I recently received a grant to create a series of mixed and multimedia sculptures using glass, concrete, steel, sound and video based on the Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. I would love to be able to incorporate this type of lighting source. I've been considering LED's. If i can catch up to speed quickly on OLED's i may use them instead. anyone know where to get some affordably? or know how to use them?

I mean look, how insane are these images:

oh, did i mention that they can be flexible and transparent?
everything that uses a light will change very soon. your lights, your tv, your computer monitor, you phone. even your windows and windshields and eyeglasses.

Monday, December 12, 2011

This Sunday: Bloomingdale Holiday Art Market

It's happening again! The Bloomingdale Holiday Art Market at Big Bear Cafe in Washington, DC, will take place on Sunday, December 18, 5–9pm.

Shop local and support your favorite artisans and designers at DC's best coffee shop. Vendors include Sean HennesseyDe*Nada DesignTigerflightVan Wagoner Studios, andGoshdarnknit.

We'll help you finish your holiday gift shopping list as you pick up some treats for yourself, sing along with the carolers, and enjoy everyone's favorite winter treat, spiked cider!

What: Bloomingdale Holiday Art Market
Where: Big Bear Cafe (First and R St NW, DC)
When: Sunday, December 18
Time: 5-9pm

Friday, December 09, 2011

Black Cat Rock and Shop

Black Cat's Annual Rock n Shop is this Sunday night.

I'll be set up with some small pieces that will make great gifts!
come out, have a beer, listen to music, and buy some gifts.

Sunday, December 11, doors open 8pm
Black Cat | 1811 14th St NW | Washington, DC

More Progress on Trumpet

I'm still working away on creating the Trumpet for the Howard Theater.
I last left off as I was finishing up the model.

Here are some more images of the mold making process.

half mold

mold release

pouring mold

mold curing

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Winter Open Studio:: This Saturday!!!

Come on out to Mount Rainier and see some art! Both the Washington Glass School and Flux Studios will be hosting our winter open studios and you are invited.


The Washington Glass School presents its 10th annual Winter Sculpture Show and Holiday Open Housefeaturing works by artists and instructors of the Washington Glass School.
Some of the region’s leading mixed media sculptors and artists work from the studios on the edge of DC, and artwork both large and small will be on sale.

I've been creating new Glass and Concrete Panels and I'd love for you to come check them out. 
waiting for the invention of power

I also created something that is a unique approach. I created a series of  small glass panels for an installation in the Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. In doing so I made a few molds of some of the pieces to create a small run in concrete. Playing around in the studio, I make a few wax castings from the mold. Working with our former Studio Manager Rob Kincheloe, I made a glass casting of one of the folded waxes. Robs expertise in casting and kiln schedules enabled us to create a fantastic free standing cast. The iterations of ideas as they transform from initial concept through a metamorphosis of techniques and process and materials is deeply fascinating to me. So, come check out this piece.

new casting
This is a perfect opportunity to pick up one of my pieces if you've been thinking about it.

There are also many other artists work to check out too! Here is a piece by Michael Janis fresh from his exhibition at the Fuller Museum of Craft.

Fused Glass Panel Sculpture by Michael Janis

This event is more than an art open house – its an experience!
Next-door’s Flux Studios and Ellyn Weiss Studio will also be open on the day. Check out what’s happening in THE Creative Arts Center of the DC area!
Mixed media sculpture by Tim Tate

Cast Glass by Debra Ruzinsky

 Glass School Winter Sculpture Show
1pm – 5 pm
Saturday, Dec 10, 2011
Washington Glass School, 3700 Otis Street, Mount Rainier, MD 20712

The Washington Glass School is located 2 blocks outside of Washington, DC in Mount Rainier, Maryland.

From DC:
Follow Rhode Island Avenue East.
Take the first turn off of the Mount Rainier traffic circle.
Make a left onto Otis Street.
You'll see us straight ahead!

By Metro:
Take the 83 or 84 Bus from the Rhode Island Avenue Station.

From Maryland:

Follow Rhode Island Avenue/ Route 1 West.
Take the 3rd turn off of the Mount Rainier traffic circle onto 34th Street, heading south.
Make a left onto Otis Street.
You'll see us straight ahead!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Howard Theater Trumpet

trumpetmodelpainted by Scenic Artisan
trumpetmodelpainted, a photo by Scenic Artisan on Flickr.

This is my model for the Howard Theatre restoration project that I am working on. This is the finished model. I painted it white to give it a consistant surface over the various materials its made from. it also gives me a better look at the curves and any imperfections that i might want to fix. next, i'll make a rubber mold of this. Once the mold is cured, i will remove the model, set a stainless steel armature in place, close up the mold and pour concrete into an opening. Once the concrete is cured i will remove it from the mold, clean up the edges, and add the glass bell.

Thursday, December 01, 2011


Hey! Come buy your holiday art gifts at these 3 events I'm participating in this December

1. Washington Glass School Winter Sculpture Show
Our semiannual open studio is a great way to check out the school and studios, see lots of art work, see works in progress, and score a great gift or piece for your personal collection.

Saturday, December 10, 2011, 1–5pm

Washington Glass School
3700 Otis Street | Mount Rainier, MD 20712
Click here for directions

2. Black Cat's Rock n Shop
This fun yearly event has all kinds of stuff. art, posters, vintage clothes, junk, records. all fun stuff. I'll be selling my door sculptures.

Sunday, December 11, doors open 8pm
Black Cat | 1811 14th St NW | Washington, DC

3. Bloomingdale Holiday Arts Market
Our neighborhood holiday show at the Big Bear Cafe. small venue with a few select artists. christmas trees and cider. caroling. always funs and a good time to get together with neighbors, or check out this fantastic neighborhood.

Holiday Art Market at Big Bear Cafe. 
Sunday, December 18, 5–9pm
Big Bear Cafe | First and R St NW | Washington, DC

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Recent Signage

I created these paintings recently to help add interest and signage to Field to City, a specialty organic and local market in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, DC.
Field to City Signage



You can see more of my paint work here
The layout and images of this mural was designed by Merry Alderman

Friday, November 18, 2011

trumpet progress

I've been working on creating the model for the trumpet project I mentioned before. I've also been doing a few tests on materials. I wanted to find a concrete casting product that was fiber reinforced,  as strong as possible, and as resistant to freezing and thawing as possible. I wound up choosing NeoMix D, a two part polymerized cement system. I was able to create a very strong casting at less than one quarter of an inch thick. That's pretty sufficient for what I need.
concrete mixture test
Then I needed to see how the cement accepted colorants. I'm going with a sienna color for the trumpet. I think it will compliment the blue of the figure very well. I will still do a few more tests on this. 
Concrete Color Test
So I began building my model. My first step was to create the center portion since that holds everything together. I first tried creating it in foam, but i need it to be much stronger so I went with wood.
drilling middle section

Holes need to be drilled for the pipes to fit through. I used PVC pipe for the pipes of the trumpet. I figured it would be strong and that it would be easy to assemble. The curves in PVC and the connection points weren't exactly what i needed so I improvised.

I epoxied all the joints so that it would be a very solid model. The model needs to survive a two part mold making process, but I wanted it to be able to remain intact just in case I would need to make another mold of it. you never know, and it's sometimes best to make it much stronger than you need.

Here is the whole structure coming together. 

I then added 1/2 round fluting to create the valves of the trumpet.
adding 1/2 round elements

Once that all came together I added the prototype bell created in glass. Still a little tweaking will need to be done.

 I roughed in the glass inserts that will act somewhat as a sun catcher, and add a bit of a glimmer to the piece.

I still have a lot of fine tuning and cleaning up of the model and adding a bit of detail here and there before prepping the model for moldmaking. 

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Howard Theatre Restoration Project

I've been sitting on this news for a while now and it's burning a hole in my harddrive. I'm very excited to announce that I will be working on a project for the the restoration of the Howard Theater in Washington, DC. 

The Howard Theatre was a Beaux Arts Style theater built in 1910.  During its peak it catered to an African American clientele and was an extension of U streets "Black Broadway".  Many famous acts came through the Howard including Duke Ellington, Danny KayeAbbott and CostelloCesar Romero, Pearl Bailey, Buddy Holly, Sarah Vaughn, Dinah Washington, Sammy Davis, Jr., James Brown and the Flames, Otis Redding, Lena Horne, Lionel Hampton, Redd Fox and Chuck Brown. Just so many  amazing shows!

The Theatre closed in 1980 and has sat empty for the past 30 years. Plans for renovations were long and extensive but have been underway and the reopening is scheduled for April 2012. The artist Brower Hatcher and his team at Mid-Ocean Studios won the commission to create a public art installation at the Howard Theatre.

This is the design that he created

Jazz Man

The design is a free standing trumpet player to sit atop the theatre. His sculpture is constructed of powder coated stainless steel rods. It is the practice of Mid-Ocean Studios to often work with artists in the cities that they have received commissions. After a series of portfolios reviews and questions, I was asked to participate. 

This is a dream project for me in many ways. The Howard Theatre is a building I walk by often. It is only 6 blocks from my house and with both my history in working in theatre and my fascination of urban american ruins, I have been very drawn to the space. I have also been looking for ways to get into public art and haven't yet had the opportunity. This is a great thrill and honor for me. And I've been so excited I can hardly stand it!

So what am I doing? I'll be creating the trumpet that Jazz Man is playing! 
Here is my design:
Trumpet Design by Sean Hennessey
The overall trumpet will be in cast concrete. the bell of the trumpet will be in cast glass. I have also added cast glass pieces in the negative space of the trumpet.  To create the final piece I will construct a mock up in clay, wood, metal pipe, cut glass, and found pieces, then make a 2 part rubber mold of the maquette. I will cast the bell section in wax, make a plaster /silica mold of the wax, melt the wax out, and fill the void with glass which I then fire in my kiln. I will fit the glass sections into the rubber mold, add a stainless steel armature, and pour tinted concrete into the void. After the concrete sets up I will demold the piece, clean it up, and seal it. 

In addition to the trumpet sitting on top of the theatre, I will be making an additional one for a display in the lobby.

I will post pictures of my progress.


Howard Theater Restoration

Mid Ocean Studio

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


This month I will be growing a moustache for charity. The event is called Movember  and we will be raising funds and awareness for men's health issues including prostate cancer.

You may donate to this cause here

Where does the money go?
From the website

The Movember Effect: Awareness & Education, Survivorship, Research
The funds raised in the US support prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men. The funds raised are directed to programs run directly by Movember and our men’s health partners, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG, the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Together, the three channels work together to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programs in line with our strategic goals in the areas of awareness and education, survivorship and research. 

For more information on the programs we are funding please visit the following:
Prostate Cancer Foundation
LIVESTRONG, The Lance Armstrong Foundation
Awareness & Education
Global Action Plan

Watch my moustache grow!
Day 1: Clean Shaven
I just signed up yesterday, the official first day of Movember, so I will start today clean shaven.

I'll post my progress through the month.
Thanks to those that have already supported the cause!

Incidentally, one of my supporters was also someone I participated in the 1997 Washington AIDS ride with. That was the first, and last time I attempted to raise funds since it wound up costing me a lot of money. I had moved to Washington, DC in 1997, with a job, a bike, and about 50 dollars. I signed up for the Shakespeare Theatre AIDS ride team. There was a commitment to raise a certain amount of money  and I was unable to raise the appropriate funds and wound up having to pay a lot of money out of pocket. Money that i didn't have. I did not know many people in DC yet, had no social networking sites to utilize, and had never tried raising money before.  It was a very bad year for someone that was working in the arts, in a new city, and very very cash strapped. Plus the AIDS ride was very strenuous and since i was riding on a cheap mountain bike, and had never done a long distance ride, it really kicked my ass. This completely put me off of all fund raising endeavors and made it really hard for me to ever want to ask people for money again. So it is with great reservations and humility that I accepted the request to join TEAM BOUNDARY STONE in their goal to raise money.  

So thank you Lynn Coughlin for helping out!

If you are so inclined, you may contribute to our cause here:

thank you.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Closing reception for @bloomingdaledc art show this thursday.


By popular demand this years Bloomingdale Art Show has been extended to Thursday Oct. 27th.  Due to the fantastic response and feedback we have received on the 2011 Art Show, the Bloomingdale House Tour Committee has decided to extend the show at 410 GoodBuddY to Thursday Oct. 27th and to host a closing party that evening from 6 - 9pm.  Please join us to enjoy some of Washington`s best and brightest talents in a multitude of mediums - from photography to sculpture and paintings to mixed media pieces - come celebrate Bloomingdale's artists!  Also featured are collaborative pieces by young artists from the ``Life Works To Masterpieces`` program.  So don`t miss the opportunity to see some of your neighbor`s amazing work - featured artists include Sean Hennessey, Michael Little, Suzanne DesMarais, Rania Hassan, Charles Donalies, Andrew Cressman, Rob Chester, Gracy Obuchowicz, Michael Torra, Katherine Nehring, Evan Howell and more...

By private appointment through next Thursday - please contact Zach Sherif at zpnyc09 @ or call 917  334  1488 to set up a viewing.

Bloomingdale Art Show Closing Party - Thursday Oct. 27th from 6 - 9pm  
410 Florida Ave. NW

Very special thanks to Wiebenson & Dorman Architects for the usage of the gallery space 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Crafty Bastards 2011! This Saturday October 1st.

 Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair is an exhibition and sale of handmade alternative arts and crafts from independent artists presented by the Washington City Paper. The fair is all-day, outdoors, free to attend, and will offer goods for sale, food, entertainment, prizes, and more!  If you've been to Crafty Bastards you know what a fun show it is. If you haven't, try to check it out.

Detail of Looking for a Hero
Glass, Steel
by Sean Hennessey

I'm excited to be an exhibitor again this year for this fantastic event. It's my 6th time showing at this event! This year I'll have a lot of new painted doors, and a news series of glass relief pieces light enough for you to carry home on the metro. 
Painted Cast Plaster Door
by Sean Hennessey

As usual, my wife, Rania Hassan, will be set up next to me. She's been printing notebooks and making new artworks will a determined fervor.
Bridges and Balloons
by Rania Hassan

You can find our booths, #34 and #35 using this handy map:

As you can see there's a lot going on this year. Come early and see everything!

Crafty Bastards
Saturday October 1st
2151 18th Street NW, DC in the heart of Adams Morgan.
10AM- 5PM

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Art This Week in DC

This is a pretty hot week for viewing Art in DC.

Check out these 3 cool events

(E)merge Art Fair

The (e)merge art fair celebrates galleries, artists, and the creative process with an an energetic environment of collaboration and discovery. The fair takes place September 22 - 25, 2011, in Washington, DC, within blocks of the U.S. Capitol Building, at the Capitol Skyline Hotel.

(e)merge features over 80 international exhibitors in two platforms: GALLERY PLATFORM - for galleries and nonprofit art spaces to show in the Hotel rooms on designated floors and ARTIST PLATFORM - for artists who are not represented, (e)merge will provide exhibition space, free of charge, for vetted works in various media (throughout the Hotel's public areas and grounds).

> Thursday, September 22: 7pm - 11pm
Preview the exhibition and enjoy a concert by the pool with:LouLou and the Dispappointer Sisters (featuring members of Thievery Corporation, Fugazi, French Toast and The Deadmen)
$25 advance purchase / $30 at the door.

> Friday, September 23: 12pm – 7pm
> Saturday, September 24: 12pm – 7pm
> Sunday, September 25: 12pm – 5pm

Capitol Skyline Hotel
10 “I” Street, SW
Washington D.C., DC 20024
(Cross Street is S Capitol Street SE)


No Kings Collective is proud to announce Submerge, a four day flash ‘art happening’. Submerge, though fine art centric, is really just about talent, period. The goal of this space is to display through visual art, music, comedy, culinary, home grown talent, both emerging and established.
NKC will craft a temporary space on the Shaw Main Street Corridor in an unparalleled merger of art and culture. Submerge comes to life in a dormant and underused retail property located at 1005 7th st NW Washington, DC at the base of this historic neighborhood. This space is rustic and industrial but warm, whose interior harkens to an earlier time in DC history with exposed rafters, original wall covering and aged brick interior. Submerge is a transformative environment, one that will cater to the expectations and curiosities’ of the novice and the experienced onlooker.
The space is free and open to the Public (few exceptions) and will be open daily from the 22nd through 25th of September with daytime and evening programming.

 7th and New York Avenue NW

But Is It Art

a DIY contemporary art show, will take place September 22-25, 2011, in Washington, DC. The Fair will feature dozens of local emerging artists in an exhibition of contemporary art.
The show will feature work from emerging artists in all media and disciplines. We are building walls for the exhibition space in the Wonderbox, an artist-run warehouse and studio space. We are also working with the local community at Hanover Place NW and So Others Might Eat, as well several of the artists at 52 O St. Studios to make this happen.
There will be a stage for performance pieces, places for sculpture, and spaces for site-specific installations. We are also painting a mural.

7:00 pm Thursday, Sept. 22
12:00-7:00 pm Friday-Saturday, Sept. 23-24
12:00-5:00 pm Sunday, Sept. 25

79 Hanover Place NW

The Fridge will be offering a free shuttle bus from their gallery to But Is It Art and (E)merge.
Shuttle schedule is here