Since opening in March, the swanky Ninth Street space — decorated with a chandelier and other vintage touches, including a DJ booth crafted from an old fireplace mantle — has been the spot for an eclectic mix of events such as a pop-up boutique with Readyset DC and a painting event with ArtJamz and, in the spring, will host a Polaroid retrospective exhibition.
“It’s not all about art sales,” says John. “We display a lot of emerging artists. It’s about exposing the artists.”
What to see: “Flyy on the Wall,” an exhibition and pop-up fashion shop with streetwear from the label Original David, opening Dec. 10 from 7 to 10 p.m.
The pop factory
Pleasant Plains Workshop
2608 Georgia Ave. NW.
Printmaker Kristina Bilonick was looking for a new apartment and studio last year, not necessarily a quirky business venture, when she stumbled upon the perfect space near Howard University. It had just one interesting, um, architectural feature: a glass storefront.
The “apartment” was actually a store.
A true creative, Bilonick — who was among the finalists for The Post’s Real Art D.C. competition last fall — embraced the challenge, devising a way to live, work and even use that storefront to her advantage.
The narrow 450-square-foot nook known as Pleasant Plains Workshop opened in November 2010 and hosts a mix of exhibitions and events as cheerfully eclectic as Bilonick herself: The last exhibition featured neon, studded fabric-based pieces by artist Steven Frost, a friend; her studio mate, Anthony Dihle, another well-known local artist, helped organize a show of artists who hailed from the esteemed Rhode Island School of Design. Bilonick’s only rule: The artist won’t show her own work at Pleasant Plains. (“The place,” she explains, “would seem like a vanity hour.”) There are also artist critiques, for which she teams up with the Web journal the Studio Visit; a rack of vintage clothing that she’ll regularly restock; a handful of her hand-printed neckties; and open shelving displaying books and several indie zines, handmade notecards by a neighborhood artist and other crafty bijoux for sale. In this economy, Bilonick says, “I didn’t want to commit to it being a gallery or a store.” And, she points out, the clothes and books “give people an entry point to come in. There’s not so much pressure to look at the art and understand it, if that’s not your bag.”
“It’s not an anti-gallery model,” Bilonick says. “It’s a gallery model with an insurance policy.”
What to see: “Present Day,” an artistic holiday gift shop featuring locally made works priced between $5 and $100; the show runs Friday-Dec.21, with an opening reception and shopping event Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m.