Over the past 17 years, the Gateway Arts District — a 2-mile corridor along Route 1 in Prince George’s County — has evolved into a sprawling creative enclave comprising several small galleries and outdoor public art displays. The newest addition to the area is Portico Gallery & Studios, a space where local artists can thrive, according to head curator John Paradiso.
“Artists need to be valued,” says Paradiso, who is also one of five artists-in-residence at Portico. “They need the support of another space to get their work out there.”
The facility in Brentwood, Md., features five studios reserved for local artists and an exhibition space where more creatives can showcase their work. With Portico’s inaugural exhibition, “Meet Your Neighbors,” Paradiso hopes to expose residents to some of the top-notch D.C.-area talent that they might have overlooked. The show’s opening reception on Saturday (6-8 p.m., free) will also be an opportunity for the public to meet the artists.
“This show will feature 22 artists from 16 area arts studios,” Paradiso says. “This is just a very small sample of the visual art that’s being created in this neighborhood.”
All of the work in the exhibit — including ceramic, acrylic and mixed-media pieces — will be for sale, with all proceeds going to the artists, Paradiso says. As for the future of Portico, Paradiso aims to have at least five exhibitions a year and host talks with local artists at Studio 3807, the mixed-use apartment complex that houses Portico. He also has an ongoing open call for D.C.-area artists who would like to display their work.
“With Portico, I hope to engage visitors and let the artwork leave the studio and do its job in the world,” he says.
Portico Gallery & Studios, 3807 Rhode Island Ave., Brentwood, Md.; Sat. through Dec. 22, free.