A New Year of Arts at the Congress Heights Arts and Culture Center

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By: C.N. Staff Writer

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With new art exhibitions every month, yoga every Saturday and various arts and crafts classes, the Congress Heights Arts and Culture Center (CHACC) is staying busy in the new year.

We finished the year strong with Shawn ‘Painta’ Lindsay’s exhibit, “Vibrating Spaces”, whose exhibit challenged the eyes to examine the space around you. Lindsay’s exhibit dared your eyes to imagine a completely new surface area while he simultaneously attempted to make sense of it all on canvas. From Forestville, Maryland, Lindsay’s energetic and enigmatic spirit has been interested in art and drawing since he was a child. Lindsay attended the Visual & Performing Arts program at Suitland High School as a young prospect and went on to study fine arts at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. Along with oil and acrylic painting, he is also well-versed in digital art and illustration. Today, when he is not creatively enabling fellow art prospects at Dupont Circle’s ArtJamz, he paints away at his home studio and remains open to new opportunities to share his work.

Kicking off the new year strong, Detroit native Malia Kai opened her exhibit “This Pulse of Life: In Four Movements”. On display the entire month of January, the exhibit delves into different periods of the artist’s life providing relatable experiences of fight and victory. On opening night along with her transparent and intimate exhibit there were poetry recitations from the artist’s mother including one that inspired the exhibition’s name, as well as live music selections from entertainer Afi SoulSinger.

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Malia Kai called the Washington Metropolitan area “home” for over two decades before recently relocating to her hometown of Detroit. Her acrylic and mixed media works celebrate the miracle of life, femininity, family, and faith. Her experience as an artist and educator have afforded her the opportunities to present professional development workshops for adults and hands-on workshops for youth across the DMV region. She received the Washington Post Grants in Arts Award for “Nature as Artistic Medium” in collaboration with eco-artist Elizabeth Wyrsch.

Kai has been a participating artist on local DC public art projects such as the Healing the Walls Mural Project of Children’s National Medical Center, Eric B. Ricks’ mural on the exterior of Ben’s Next Door and Al Smith’s Community Rhythms Mural inside of the U Street-Cardozo Metro Station on the green line (13th Street entrance).

This month Deborah A. Browder is joining us with her solo exhibit, “Squaring the Circle: An Artful Meditation on the Alchemy of Love,” opening, with a reception, February 5th from 6pm to 9pm.

As explained by the artist, the title of this show is a play on impossibility and an attempt at personal and planetary change. Through the sacred application of the ancient principles of alchemy derived from ancient Kemet, Browder endeavors to inspire you in your own alchemical processes of meaningful transformation. Opening Night will include a free workshop, “Personal Medicine Wheel,” conducted by the artist. In addition to the workshop there will be poetry recitation and live performances by a dancer and drama therapist. Workshop participants will be invited to share their work as part of the exhibition. Once open, the exhibit will be on display for the entire month.

In March, we’re diving into one of our African cultures and presenting, “A Taste of Ethiopia”. Through a full Ethiopian art exhibition, music, and food from the country, the center will recognize, and take pride in, the different aspects of our African heritage. Artwork has traveled directly from Ethiopia and will land on our walls for a dynamic month of education and celebration.

Beyond our vibrant exhibits, we have various classes planned to keep the community creatively active. Due to popular demand, the center will begin hosting “Sip-N-Paints” again. If you haven’t heard about the fairly new phenomenon, “Sip-N-Paint,” it allows any level painter, whether you’re a seasoned artist or a first timer, to create beautiful art in an atmosphere with other artists and an instructor to guide you, all the while sipping on a beverage. On February 15, President’s Day, CHACC is bending the rules a bit and hosting a “Sip-N-Paint” exclusively for kids, ages 4 and up. For $15, we will provide the canvas, the paint and the juice, as well as a dynamic 2-hour art experience. Landing on a day where school is out, this is an opportunity for our youth to creatively challenge their minds outside of the classroom and enjoy the company of other mini artists. In the mist of Deborah Browder’s February exhibit, we also have an Adult “Sip-N-Paint” hosted by the artist, scheduled for February 20th from 12pm to 2pm.

Last year, in conjunction with “Stitched with Style”, CHACC hosted a Sewing 101 class, teaching the ins and outs of the sewing machine with all materials included. We’ve brought “Stitched with Style” back this year for a sewing series! Saturday, February 13th another Sewing 101 class from 12p-2pm will start the series. The following Saturday, February 20th, there will be more of an intermediate class lasting from 12pm to 4pm, where participants will learn to construct and complete an African Wax printed wrap skirt. The final class of the series will be on Saturday, February 27th and dedicated to our mini sewers ages 5 and up.

This year, the center is excited about all the partnerships and collaborations to bring creative, fun and necessary programming to the community. CHACC has teamed up with a health and wellness guru, Serenity Reign, to host “Soulful Sistar” Saturdays. These monthly sisterhood support groups will provide an unbiased space of transparency, vulnerability and most importantly encouragement. The meeting will provide sisters from all walks of life, a space to meet monthly in a nonjudgmental and comfortable environment to delve into all the things that interest women. Each month will have a fresh focus.

As we’re in the winter months, be sure to keep up with us on our various social pages and sites, as dates may change due to inclement weather.

We are happy to announce that we’re in our final stages of our website, www.chacc.org. Beyond being able to keep up with our calendar, you will be able to virtually view some of our exhibits, as well as purchase art and other vending items that we have available.

As before, you can always keep up with us via Facebook (www.facebook.com/chaccdc), Twitter (www.twitter.com/chacc_dc), and Instagram (www.instagram.com/chacc_dc).

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