We came, we saw, we artjammed! For four sold out nights, ArtJammers took over Gallery 31 in the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Design and injected some fun and a lot of colorful art onto the walls (and floor sometimes) of this Washington arts institution.

After all the planning and preparation, the gathering of the materials, the booking of the space (I actually booked Gallery 31 in Summer 2009 … I had to wait a year!) it was time to let the ArtJammers loose and see if this crazy idea for an innovative, create and social night out, would pass. Happy to say it passed … with flying colors!

Walking into Gallery 31 on the first night, ArtJammers seemed a big overwhelmed. There, in front of them, was a lot of empty space – the blank white gallery walls and 25 blank canvases. It was a scene that played out each of the four nights – ArtJammers, many who had never painted, or who last painted in middle or elementary school, walked into the high-ceiling Gallery 31 and wondered, “what the heck am I going to paint?” Of course, some Artjammers did come prepared. Some had sketches or pictures on their phones, or simply a concept or idea. Some just free-styled. At the end of the first night, we had 25 great pieces of art, each unique, and each, truly, a piece of art!

I learned a lot these first for nights as your ArtJamz host. First, everyone comes to ArtJamz a bit apprehensive. Creating can be intimidating – especially after I would put the paintings from the night before on the walls to dry, the new participants would see them and think, How am I going to do something as good as that? I would just say, Don’t worry there was someone standing in that exact same spot you are last night who was saying the exact same thing! It will come. And it did every night. That was such a cool thing to see happen each session.

My motto is eat, drink, create. So, I would always have Artjammers spend a bit of time at the beginning of the night just unwinding, finding a canvas they like, going over a quick orientation, meeting people, and then getting set up. Once people started painting, you could just feel the walls breaking down, and the vibe becoming, just kind of organic and free. I think the best part of ArtJamz is that people can be themselves –you’re not dressed up, you’re not making idle talk over cocktails, and I rarely if ever saw people texting, tweeting, or checking emails on their phones! These days, we don’t get many chances to give ourselves 4 hours to get lost in something. That’s the great thing about painting at ArtJamz, it’s a bit self indulgent, but fun. It’s also a great way to meet people. A big thanks to everyone who came out, I really enjoyed meeting all of you … and even seeing the people I knew in a different, more relaxed and creative light. And I really loved what you created! So cool. Everyone had such a different creation. Many had a lot of meaning. Some were just beautiful colors.

My fiance Anchyi, who helped each night and took all of these amazing photographs, and I thought that each of the four nights were unique and fun. It was such a great launch and we’re looking forward to hosting 3 to 4 ArtJamz a month, so stay posted here, or on our Facebook page for more details!

Lastly, a big shout out and thanks to the team at The Corcoran Gallery of Art and Design and Gallery 31; I can’t thank you enough for proving all of us ArtJammers an incredible space in which to unleash our inner artists. Also, thanks to Plaza Art Supplies for helping get all the paints, brushes and canvas there on time, to Lima Lounge for providing delicious hors devours each night, including ceviche and empanadas, and to Genki Media for sponsoring the four-night launch sessions.

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