What do shopping and art have in common? The First Annual Add Arts Invitational Exhibition, which opens Monday at Hecht's F Street store. The exhibition is the kick-off event for the Add Arts Festival on Sept. 1 and features painting, prints, photography, drawing and sculpture by more than 200 artists.
"The interesting thing about this exhibition is that it provides people with a real opportunity to see a large amount of work," says George Koch, president of A. Salon Ltd., a Washington artists' cooperative providing studio, gallery and classroom space to local artists. Salon is the group responsible for putting the program together. "There are over 300 pieces in the exhibit, enough to fill the entire sixth floor of Hecht's," he adds.
Koch and festival director Susan Resnick decided to approach Hecht's about housing the exhibit because they found that the outdoor street displays at last year's festival didn't work well: Artists were uncomfortable exposing their work to the elements.
In addition, Hecht's had displayed some art works from last year's program in its show windows along with its merchandise. The store has been consolidating its inventory in anticipation of a move to another building, which made the space on the sixth floor available.
"It's a very healthy partnership," says Peggy Disney, Hecht's divisional vice president for public affairs. "It gives us an opportunity to bring art to the people."
The Add Arts Festival is sponsored by the Activities for Downtown Development in the Arts, which promotes such partnerships between business and the arts. "We want to ensure continued support to the arts downtown," Resnick says. "We are always looking to establish these relationships with businesses and the city government to work out artists' problems like finding exhibit space, financial support and advertising."
The Add Arts Festival will provide a showcase for music, theater, poetry, film, dance and the visual arts. The public is invited to an opening reception for the exhibition on Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. For more information about the art exhibition and festival, call 783-0360.