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Artmosphere Community Digital Cafe

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The starving artist cliche doesn't hold true at Artmosphere Community Digital Cafe (3311 Rhode Island Ave., Mount Rainier, 301-927-2233, http://www.artmospherecafe.com/ ). The eatery, which expects to open this week, promises pastas, wraps, salads and more (about $6-$8) to tame your growling stomach and an atmosphere to feed your hungry muse.

The cafe is owned by husband-and-wife team Dyrell Madison and Andaiye Scott. When they're not working behind the counter, both are artists: Madison paints and plays drums for the Proverbs reggae band, while Scott is a painter, choreographer and singer who performs traditional African music and jazz. They live in the Mount Rainier Artist Lofts, a 44-unit apartment dwelling with subsidized rent for creative types.

Artmosphere is attached to the lofts, where some residents' works -- from stained glass windows to purses made out of books -- are displayed for sale. In the cafe, digital images of artists' efforts will rotate in a slide-show format on flat-screen TVs.

"The community has been begging for a hub -- a place for the artists to come and mix and mingle," Madison says.

Sure, the "for artists, by artists" concept may feel overwrought -- how many painters, sculptors and musicians do you know who subsist on imported teas and veggie wraps, rather than ramen noodles? But the plans for independent film screenings, live music, poetry and free Wi-Fi more than make up for it.

Krissah Williams

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