Category: Guest Post

“Hidden Images” open this Saturday, April 30th from 1pm-5pm

“Hidden Images” open this Saturday, April 30th from 1pm-5pm

We’re open this Saturday, April 30th from 1pm-5pm – This could be your LAST CHANCE to see “Hidden Images” before it closes on the 7th!

Please come out and say hi to Justin, he can tell you about the exhibit, our plans, and some of the cool things going on in the Gateway Arts District!

–And again, a big THANK YOU to everyone who came to our opening reception last Saturday!

We hope you join us THIS SATURDAY anytime from 1pm to 5pm!

Photos from “Hidden Images” Opening Reception

Photos from “Hidden Images” Opening Reception

Just posted images from the opening reception of Hidden Images!!!

Hidden Images

Please check them out and comment on Facebook or check them out on Justin’s flickr.

ARTIST CALL – HIDDEN IMAGES – Drop off next Sunday, April 3rd!

ARTIST CALL – HIDDEN IMAGES – Drop off next Sunday, April 3rd!

New Call for Artist now online! For artwork to be considered, the drop-off/submission date is April 3rd from 12pm-2pm. This show is juried. For more information, please visit “Hidden Images” will run April 4th thru May 7th. The opening reception will be Sat, April 23 from 5pm-8pm. Visit the Call for Artist event on Facebook: – Let us know if you have any questions!


For our new exhibit, Hidden Images, we are looking for abstract artwork that contains “illusions” and motivates the viewer(s) to take a more concentrated and in-depth look at each work. The abstract artwork should communicate to viewer(s) a deeper meaning than what is interpreted at first glance. Artists are encouraged to create works that seek dual-meanings through optical illusion, satire, layering, etc.


Art Drop-Off Date: Sun, April 3 from 12pm-2pm

Pick-Up Date: Sat, May 7 from 12pm-2pm

Opening Reception: Sat, April 23 from 5pm-8pm

Exhibit Runs: April 4, 2011 thru May 7, 2011

Commission: 40%

Curators: Justin Fair and Abby Hunt

A jury of 3 individuals will select art from submissions.


Works should be abstract in style. All mediums and sizes will be considered for acceptance. Multiple entries welcome.

Submit digital image(s) in this format: width: 480 pixels, height: 378 pixels. If the work does not confirm to those sizes, please adjust size closest to that measurement. Specific ideas regarding a special, planned installation must be explained in a minimum of 2 paragraphs with images of work.  A jury of 3 individuals will select entries for all submissions.

We request that artists submit images of 2D or 3D works to


For the past two years, we have proudly curated over 24 exhibits as Design Studio Art Gallery. We are pleased to announce that now we are curating exhibits under the following name: Riggio Design: Interiors | Gallery | Showroom.

In January 2011, in a collaborative effort, 5710Creative: a Creative Design Studio and Gallery, was born.  Riggio Design is now located within The Lustine Center at 5710 Baltimore Ave., Hyattsville. Within this unique, exciting space, Riggio Design will host exhibits alongside artdc Gallery while providing full Interior Design services from the studio. We strive to continue to enhance collaboration and promote the arts in Hyattsville by connecting regularly with other galleries, firms, and community resources.

The 5710Creative space is home to various artists working in several mediums ranging from photography to Interior Design to fine art! Monthly exhibits by artdc Gallery bring variety to the patrons and great exposure for artists. Together, our effort in this collaborative space combines to create a unique art venue where we will host and co-host new exhibits.

Riggio Design @ 5710Creative

5710 Baltimore Avenue

Hyattsville, MD 20781

202.446.7373 o/m

301.887.1238 o/f

art gallery . interior design

LIKE us on Facebook at

FOLLOW us on Twitter at

Visit our blog at

An Interview with Justin Fair on

An Interview with Justin Fair on

Our own Justin Fair has been featured with an interview as the February Artist of the Week with Art 4 the Masses! Art 4 the Masses is a great space to buy students’ artwork online. Affordable AND local!!!

Congratulations Justin! We’re so proud of you! Keep up the FANTASTIC work! Check out Justin’s arts blog at

Check out the interview below from Youtube:


Grow: New York New York!

Grow: New York New York!

Coming across photos from a visit to New York I am once again amazed. Erica and I went to New York City to visit Demont ‘Peekaso’ Pinder’s artwork at the Soho Apple Store early in January, and on our way leaving the city, we stopped by a little store called ‘Grow’ at 214 W 30th St. Immediately captured by its display of interesting pots, decorative items, and of course plants outside the shop, as well as a nifty font face above the storefront, we wandered inside. And what did we find? An amazing oasis/escape into a design studio and store for Rebecca Cole Design. What do I remember the most from the visit? A wonderful fusion of natural and man-made materials, allowing visitors to recognize how they too can merge nature and city life into their homes: Tall branches, warm accent lighting, the use of brick, and the smell of water (and wonder!). I wish we hadn’t been in such a rush, if you look at Rebecca Cole Design’s website like we did, you’ll see some great examples of green design!

Wish I had taken better photos but we barely made it the bus on time!

This blog has been turned into a review on Yelp

This blog post is also on at

This blog post is also on Soulstrong Arts Blog at

Twitter’s Usefulness

Twitter’s Usefulness

For a while now, there’s been a growing question on my mind as I work on my new arts blog, Soulstrong Arts @soulstrongarts as to the usefulness of Twitter. Maintaining not only my personal account, but also the Riggio Design account @riggiodc, and now my new Soulstrong Arts account, means a lot of people finding one another and exploring new ideas. How can I effectively contact people and help people find what I’m writing about?

If you’re wondering what Twitter’s purpose is, it’s a quick way for anyone to share a sentence or two about something they’re thinking about or caring about. In 140 characters, it’s a mini-blog = known as ‘microblogging’.

I recently came along a great article on that helps businesses recognize how to use Twitter efficiently to better reach their customers/friends. This article will help me designate how to utilize Twitter without wasting time so that I can improve outreach to art-lovers across and outside of the District. Rather than tell you about the article in depth, visit and feel free to learn: 8 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Get More Out of Twitter.


My favorite points here are:

1. It’s A Social Tool – Remember, Twitter isn’t just about promoting the business, it’s about talking with people and actively following up. That means finding conversation points and using Twitter to share event info and nifty ideas for self-development and community growth.

3. Engage With Your Followers – That said, recognize that if you’re using Twitter for a business, like I am with @thesoulstrong, find conversation points that relate to your business’s field and as it says in the article, become “followers” of peoples’ lives. There’s nothing better than sharing a story or an idea and having it influence someone’s life miles upon miles away!

4. Autoresponder – It’s easy and commonsense that if people follow you, let them know how to better find your product and thank them for doing so!

8. Twitter Etiquette – It’s quality over quantity. Something I see regularly on Twitter are people with a bagillion followers but if I look, there seems to be no connection or even relevance in their posts. The keywords from this part of the article are: “Listen, be relevant, mind your brand, engage, and give more than you get.” What great advice!

Discuss! And if you care to learn more about how social media can equal social good, $$$, and the growth of ideas and communication, regularly check out (amongst other mashable categories)! 🙂

This blog is also online at and online at Soulstrong Arts Blog.

Article by Justin Fair. Justin is Gallery Business Manager at Riggio Design in Hyattsville, MD and an Administrative Assistant at the Gateway Arts Center in Brentwood, MD. He is a graphic designer and painter at Soulstrong Designs and owner and editor of Soulstrong Arts Blog at Justin can be reached at

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Home Is Where The Heart Is

By Justin


I discovered a wonderful book by Isle Crawford a number of weeks ago at the University View’s lobby, called “The Sensual Home: Liberate Your Senses and Change Your Life (

Since I’ve picked it up, it’s been a guilty pleasure of mine and I haven’t wanted to put it down! The book features helpful advice, tips, and direction for allowing your lifestyle, body, mind, heart, and home to become healthier and better suited for today’s busy world. Not only is there wonderful photography, but the formatting of the book keeps each page unique and interesting, and thrills me to keep reading so I can see what else I’ll find.

A nifty feature is that the book is sorted into categories, and in the back there’s a database for easy reference that includes tips, where-to for each topic, and even a directory of stores that Crawford recommends. She writes for a hopeful, healthy, hearty audience that wants to blend both natural elements into the home as well as contemporary elements. My only bugger about the book is that while she recommends less technology so that the reader can rediscover natural elements and blend the two together, the book is obviously dated as 1998,  as technology has jumped in form and popularity. I would enjoy seeing a new version of this book, very much so. If you’re looking for a great read, great imagery, and great ideas that you may not have thought up before, Crawford writes to excite your mental, physical, and spiritual self by accenting just how primal, carnal, sensual, and beautiful our senses really are. Never give up the search for comfort and happiness!

Article by Justin Fair. Justin is Business Manager and Head Intern at Design Studio Art Gallery in Hyattsville, MD. He is a painter, graphic designer, actor, and writer with Soulstrong Designs, and a graduating senior at the University of Maryland College Park. Justin can be reached at

View Justin’s original version of this blog post at and leave him a comment on his blog!

A version of this review was posted by Justin on‘s page for The Sensual Home at

A Spotlight on a little great Café in Mt. Rainier

A Spotlight on a little great Café in Mt. Rainier

By Justin:

I sat in the Spotlight Café, located at the Mt. Rainier circle on Route One, marveling at the great bamboo works of Alonzo Davis, and sat wondering, what’s to become of this charming venue? Mt. Rainier has the buildings and the people to look like a great arts area–but it seems a bit too shaggy as a town center to excel at this stage in the game. Maybe a few years with more funding…well I see the potential.

George invited me to the reading and exhibit for Alonzo Davis’s booksigning, and I had the wonderful experience of not only seeing George perform, but I also got to meet great artisans and artwork. The Spotlight Café is a new little space, filled with art, sofas, and comfy chairs and tables for studying and chillaxin. I see great potential with the space, especially for readings, exhibits, and great get-together. They’ve got good lighting, can afford to fix up some decor (hey, they are new…), and they are a subsidary of a desserts bakery next-door, Delectable Cakery.

The staff is very friendly and charming, and while at the event their machine has some issues, they were more than willing to indulge me in a delicious hot chocolate-expresso creation plus a delicious cappuccino when the machine finally worked. I spent a good portion of my time eying their cakes, but for $6 though they look like great huge slices, I’m too college student-Plato’s diner-oriented. I need to come on back and grab a slice!

Long story short, I think they’re a place to check out and look forward to their growth.

Oh! And before I forget, Alonzo Davis is such a talented artist–His works will be exhibiting across the country. I’m currently hanging out with Valerie Watson and George Pelham, and not only is her house beautiful (see next blog post), but she also owns a Davis sculpture.

Happy Thanksgiving by the way!

Article by Justin Fair. Justin is Business Manager and Head Intern at Design Studio Art Gallery in Hyattsville, MD. He is a painter, graphic designer, actor, and writer with Soulstrong Designs, and a graduating senior at the University of Maryland College Park. Justin can be reached at

A version of this review is available on for Spotlight Café at

Check-Ins, Geo-tagging, Business Reviews, and Social Networks…

Check-Ins, Geo-tagging, Business Reviews, and Social Networks…

By Justin:

So for about a month now I’ve been more focused on understanding the benefits of both business review websites,check-in/geo-tagging social networks and other directory websites. Review websites like like and Google Places versus Check-In/Geo-tagging social networks like Foursquare or Gowalla alongside the new growth of Facebook Places and other directory websites like YellowPages, that is. During my research for my work with my internship where I work as Business Manager, Design Studio Art Gallery (and do research for its sister business, the interior design firm Riggio Design Consultants, I decided to put all of my wonderings into words. Let me preface this blog by saying, this is the condensed version of the blog entry I put on my blog, This is a condensed version:

Now, I am more familiar and frequenting Yelp, Google Places, and Foursquare–as I investigate more of these I begin to get a bit more confused of benefits, differences, and what’s good for tieing all of these services together? I haven’t really used some of these services, that’s the next step after I comprehend this all. Keep in mind Google just released their Google Hotspot, Facebook released their Facebook Places, and Twitter as well as blog services are working on Geo-tagging posts. So…they matter too, right?

And so the Investigation Begins…

I want to share something with you: A great example for the ‘Which should I use?’ question is this video : The Check-in War: Gowalla vs. Foursquare – AppJudgment

Now, keep in mind, when I investigate these services not only am I looking up what’s the most profitable and useful for both Design Studio Art Gallery but also for Soulstrong Designs, and my own means of staying in touch with friends, fans of my work, and gaining rewards from going out in general. I want a quick answer, a pros-and-cons list, and I want it fast.

What, when, where, and why? None of these thoughts have standardized answers, and the strange thing is that in many cases, none of this matters. Five to ten years from now these technologies like ‘Where did I send that post from?’ or ‘What can this business offer me by checking-in?’ may or may not still be around.

So, what is checking in?

The concept with checking in, is that you visit a place, they advertise on their window and online that they use that service, you check-in and leave a comment; then, your friends see the review, the business sees your thoughts about their business; then, the business gets feedback and sees people using its service, it creates a reward for you (like a discount every so check-ins); and thus the internet is tied to real life rewards. Services like Foursquare and Gowalla are the hip leaders right now, Foursquare way above Gowalla it seems. And while Yelp and Google Places don’t have ‘check-in’ rewards, you can leave reviews on those websites, just like the new Facebook Places and staples like YellowPages and other websites. Though watch out, Google Places and Facebook Places are blurring the lines and of course rising. Find out more about check-ins via Foursquare with NYDailyNews’s article The next Twitter? Foursquare app for Apple’s iPhone mixes social networking and gaming.

How does a company use all of these social…things?

Eek! I find myself recognizing that if these companies are smart, like I am with Design Studio Art Gallery, we have accounts on multiple services, and in theory, if people begin talking about the business, then more and more people will spread word about DSAG and as I weekly check these services we can cater our business based on some user feedback. Annoyingly, with all of these companies growing and fighting for attention, I know that in the long end, I’m hoping some mergers will make my life easier–but until then, it’s a lot of checking and staying up to date. Strangely, I look into all of this because a lot of people do this regularly! They probably just use one service though, so we need to be on the major ones then as well as some of the little ones too!

A Conclusion?

In the end, I really don’t use any of these services other than Google, Facebook and Twitter, when I want to look up a business or write my thoughts about a place. Haha. For now, I’m a bit too hesitant. After all, Google Latitude is creepy (see PC World’s article, Three Reasons Why I Won’t Be Using Google Latitude). And even then, when I use all of this, it’s normally writing a note on my Facebook wall. At the end of the day, for now, few of my friends actually use these services and so until they do, I’ve got homework to do. Besides, this blog became too long anyway.

Check out Design Studio Art Gallery on:

Article by Justin Fair. Justin is Business Manager and Head Intern at Design Studio Art Gallery in Hyattsville, MD. He is a painter, graphic designer, actor, and writer with Soulstrong Designs, and a graduating senior at the University of Maryland College Park. Justin can be reached at

View Justin’s original version of this blog post at leave him a comment on his blog!

“Something Old, Something New, Something Blue” at Zimstone Gallery

“Something Old, Something New, Something Blue” at Zimstone Gallery


As I sit at an intriguing lecture at Zimstone Gallery for their newest exhibit, “Something Old, Something New, Something Blue,” the space is buzzing with interesting people, interesting ideas, and interesting art. The show features the inspiring work of sculptors from Zimbabye such as Sylvester Mubayi and Edward Chiwawa; gorgeous photography by Henry J. Ferrand; and mesmerizing paintings by Cheryl Edwards. The exhibit is a one of a kind, as it gives visitors a unique opportunity to see three forms of artwork: sculpture, photography, and paintings all in one gallery.


Another unique and rare opportunity Zimstone Gallery provides, are these weekend talks. Today features a discussion on Ferrand’s photography, next week a fantastic discussion on Edwards’s paintings. Listening to Ferrand is a comforting and engaging experience: he speaks about how his photography has grown, how the field has grown from film to digital production, and how from where he finds his shots. Right now, he’s giving some fun background on street markets around the world; earlier he explained the inspiration for another photograph, off a highway somewhere in Maryland; and sprinkled throughout, he features shots from citylife in Lower Manhattan, New York City and even in our neck of the woods, from Connecticut & R and the National Cathedral in DC. Ferrand speaks with such warmth, his only desire to share his experiences, his artwork, and to invite thoughts and discussion during his life’s studies.


Sitting here, amongst a packed room of art enthusiasts all of whom are munching on fantastic wine, fruit, and munchies, I am very aware of how active and inviting the Gateway Arts District is, especially in Brentwood; just down the street from Hyattsville. I’m here with friend and artist, George Pelham, an event planner from Tanta Productions East in College Park; and thankful to be invited to come on down by Miss Cheryl Edwards.

Zimstone Gallery is exhibiting “Something Old, Something New, Something Blue” up to October 31st, where they will be having a closing reception. For more information, call 301.699.1499. Zimstone Gallery is located at 4814 Rhode Island Ave, Hyattsville, MD 20781.

Please note that our upcoming exhibit, “Night of the Living Art,” at Design Studio Art Gallery, opens then too! Sunday, October 31st from 5pm to 10pm!


Article by Justin Fair. Justin is Head Intern and Business Manager at Design Studio Art Gallery in Hyattsville, MD. He is a graphic designer and painter at Soulstrong Designs, and a senior at the University of Maryland College Park. Justin can be reached at

This blog is also online at Soulstrong Arts Blog and