In an alley just past the cafe chic of Belga Cafe and the brash yellow glow of Banana Cafe lays the Fridge, a gallery that could seem an anomaly in buttoned-up Capitol Hill. Launched by graphic designer Alex Goldstein in 2009, the Fridge has carved out a niche specializing in street art and public art, two mediums more likely to be painted over than to hang on gallery walls. Yet, the Fridge has, in its short tenure, brought a gust of cool to the neighborhood. In an economy that hasn't been especially kind to galleries, the Fridge has bet on a diversified portfolio: Besides mounting exhibitions by artists such as painter Laura Elkins, muralist Decoy and public artists Mark Jenkins and Tim Conlon, the Fridge plays host to performances and poetry slams. Or you might find yourself there for an electronic music festival (Goldstein, a DJ, built the space with its own DJ booth). Most compelling, however, is that the Fridge has evolved into an arts classroom for the community, teaming up with gallery artists and artist collective Albus Cavus to offer weekly art workshops for $20 a pop. Students - who range from school kids, to youths from the Boys & Girls Club to adult hobbyists from the neighborhood - might learn magic tricks from David London or muraling from major urban artist Gaia or tape sculpture from Jenkins. All of which has helped turn an alley in Capitol Hill into its own eclectic little arts community.
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