Old Town’s Athenaeum Aims to Nurture Your Inner Artist


In good taste: Visit the Athenaeum on Feb. 10 for a special red wine and chocolate tasting event conducted by experts from the Washington Wine Academy. (NCinDC via Flickr)

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, the word “Athenaeum” originally meant a school in ancient Rome that was used for the study of arts.

While the Athenaeum in present-day Old Town Alexandria is not a school in the traditional sense, as home to the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association (NVFAA), it can indeed teach us all a thing or two about art, starting with the building itself. The Athenaeum has a colorful history, with the NVFAA site claiming it as “one of only two” examples of classical revival architecture in the City of Alexandria.

According to their mission statement, the NVFAA “is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in all forms of art, and to establishing programs that will enrich the cultural life of Northern Virginia and the surrounding metropolitan area.”

[ Related: Hear the Siren Call of the Arts at Glen Echo Park ]

What does this include? It includes art exhibits, lectures and demonstrations featuring regional and local artists, as well as performing arts events themselves. It also means classes in ballet, yoga and Pilates, computer instruction, and other educational programs.

The Athenaeum wrapped up presentation this month of Into the Light, an exhibition by Esther Yi and Victoria Shaheen.

In fact, the NVFAA is actively looking to showcase local artists. So any budding Picassos or Rembrandts who rent an apartment near Alexandria should have at it.

And those with a jones for art who may or may not be able to draw, paint or sculpt can always volunteer at the Athenaeum. Of course, one can always show their support by purchasing a membership.

[ Related: Renwick: America’s First Gallery Is a Work of Art on Its Own ]

The gallery is open on Thursday, Friday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m., and on Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Like many interesting things in the D.C. metro area, the Athenaeum is accessible, about a mile from the King Street Metro station on the system’s Blue/Yellow Line. Even better, the King Street Trolley will pick you up from the Metro station and drop you off very near the Athenaeum.

There are plenty of apartments listings in the area too, check them out on Apartment Showcase. 

Scott D

Scott D

Scott is a local writer and has been with the Apartment Showcase blog since its inception in 2010.

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