Go to Fondo del Sol Visual Arts Center and there's a good chance you'll see Manuel Pereira. At a party, he might be playing his guitar. During the afternoon, if he's not sitting inside, he might be smoking on the front steps.
The 67-year-old Peruvian artist was one of the founders of the Dupont Circle museum, which opened in 1973 and focuses on Latino and Caribbean art.
Pereira is its artist in residence.
Often, he says, that means he helps artists showing at Fondo with hanging or gives advice on matting, framing or materials. But the relationship isn't one-sided.
"I learn from them," he says of his fellow artists. "It's mutual."
This is how Pereira met local printmaker Naul Ojeda in the late '70s. Last year after Ojeda died, Fondo's board of directors decided to host a show dedicated to him.
"Naul was the first great Latino printmaker in Washington," says Fondo's director, Marc Zuver.
Pereira is one of more than 20 artists who contributed works to "An Artists' Tribute to Naul Ojeda." The exhibition, which runs through Feb. 20, also includes 13 pieces by Ojeda, who was from Uruguay.
Ojeda's pieces are mostly woodcuts from Fondo's collection. The rest -- including one recent painting -- were loaned by friends. His work is filled with suns and moons, people and houses, birds and flowers.
Pereira's own media include sculpture, watercolor, drawing and printmaking. Several of his clay and wooden sculptures are a part of the museum's permanent collection.
In the Ojeda show, a print by Pereira hangs on the first floor. Pereira gestures to a sun and moon in the print, pointing out a theme they have in common. Ojeda is still fresh in his mind.
"I think he was unique -- friendly, funny," Pereira says, "a strong character."
In on the Ground Floor When the BAPA's Imagination Stage -- or the Bethesda Academy of Performing Arts as it originally was known -- started building a new home in downtown Bethesda, it decided to include local artists.
Stephen Weitzman's bronze statue of Nick Bottom from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" will be in its retail store. An outside terrace will feature a whimsical landscape sculpture by Mary Ann Mears. Even the floor is a piece of art.
Artist Heidi M. Lippman has been working on it for four years. With the folks at Imagination Stage (BAPA's new and supposedly final name), Lippman designed a vibrant blue terrazzo with chips of blue glass, black stone and mother-of-pearl. Zinc strips outline shapes in the floor.
"It'll be really bright with flecks of light," says Lippman, who incorporated images based on a sunflower and a magnetic field into 4,000 square feet of lobby and public space.
She wanted the floor to mirror the creative nature of Imagination Stage, which includes a children's arts education program as well as a professional theater.
Lippman came up with her design by using a Fibonacci series -- a sequence of numbers in which each integer is the sum of the two preceding integers -- which often appears in math and science.
"It's an analysis of how things grow, which is a perfect metaphor," Lippman says.
"It's not just random prettiness or random art," says Bonnie Fogel, executive director and founder of the 24-year-old nonprofit. "The Fibonacci series informs all kinds of patterns and life."
The new $12 million, 40,000-square-foot space at 4908 Auburn Ave. is scheduled to open in mid-April.
"We're going from a grass-roots, community-based program in very compromised, but wonderful, spaces, into a world-class building," says Fogel, who estimates annual attendance will go from 45,000 to 90,000.
The floor is currently being installed, which includes grinding down the terrazzo to bring out the colors and patterns in the design.
Lippman saw some of the freshly ground floor for the first time on Saturday.
"It will be a high-energy community cultural center," says Fogel. "This whole building is a piece of art."
Fondo del Sol Visual Arts Center, 2112 R St. NW, is open Wednesday-Saturday 12:30-6 p.m., Tuesday by appointment. "An Artists' Tribute to Naul Ojeda" runs through Feb. 20. For information, call 202-483-2777.
being installed at Bethesda's Imagination Stage.