Enter the ARTiculate Gallery and the space seems much like any ordinary gallery; but the buzz of students in nearby classroom activities and the biographies displayed under works of art reveal the unique nature of this arts environment.
Situated just four blocks from the White House, the ARTiculate Gallery serves as the commercial space of Washington Very Special Arts (WVSA), an organization dedicated to using the arts to serve children and youth with special needs throughout the Washington area. WVSA is the local branch of Very Special Arts, an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center of Performing Arts.
Participants at ARTiculate, ages 14 to 25, are encouraged to express themselves through multiple forms of art, from fine arts to crafts. Shows change bimonthly and often focus on a seasonal or cultural theme. Works on view can include paintings, sculpture, hand-painted boxes and masks.
All of the artwork is created on site under the guidance of program faculty or artists in residence, and artists receive a portion of the proceeds from any of their pieces sold through the gallery.
Works from the gallery are also available for lease to corporate offices. Through the leasing program, more than 180 works are currently on display in 15 offices across the city.
Other WVSA activities and outreach programs at the site include the School of Arts and Learning, a public charter school designed to teach children through arts-based education; Arts Reach, a series of outreach programs organized to connect local residents to the arts; and Arts Around the Block, an annual festival of arts and physical activities.