Authors at Artomatic

The popular creativity-fest celebrates all things literary, too!

Authors at Artomatic

“Creativity in Crystal City: Literature Events at Artomatic.”

No, dear readers, that’s not a typo. Those of you who know Artomatic will be asking yourselves, “But isn’t Artomatic all about showcasing local visual artists?” And you would be 100-percent correct.

“Oh, and they have music there,” you will then remember. “And film, and dance, and theater, and they’ve even had fashion shows — but books? Literature?”

To which I reply: yes, yes, yes, yes, yes — and yes and yes!

Artomatic started as a pop-up art exhibit in 1999 featuring local artists taking over the former Wonder Bread factory in Shaw. Since that time, there have been 10 large-scale, multimedia events in the DC area, growing to the current size of over 600 visual artists, plus local bands, theater companies, fire dancers, and every kind of artistic mayhem you could imagine.

And now literature.

From now through May 6th, Artomatic 2017 will feature free, open-to-the-public readings and workshops, including:

Every Wednesday (3/29-5/3)
6:30-7:30 p.m.
Prose/Poetry Open-Mic
Writers, this is your chance to shine. Bring your best stories, poems, essays, etc., and hear what your fellow scribes are working on. Each writer will sign up onsite for a five-minute slot to share their words with the world.

7-8:30 p.m.
Reading by Andrew Gifford
Gifford reads from his new memoir, We All Scream: The Fall of the Gifford's Ice Cream Empire. For more than 70 years, Gifford’s Ice Cream and Candy Company was associated with nothing but pleasure for native Washingtonians and visitors to the nation’s capital, but few know the dark truth that destroyed the company and the family that founded it. For more information, click here.  

Every Wednesday in April (4/5, 4/12, 4/19, and 4/26)
7-9:30 p.m.
Monkeys with Typewriters Write-in
Monkeys with Typewriters is a Meetup group based in Arlington, VA. We're an extreme writing group bent on hammering out our novels (or whatever projects we're working on) and having fun, too. If infinite monkeys can create a masterpiece, so can we! Join us! Bring whatever project you're working on, and let's create stuff together. At 7:30 p.m., we go around the table, introduce ourselves, and briefly discuss our goals and progress. After that, we independently work on our projects until about 9:30 p.m.

2-3 p.m.
Poetry Reading: Elizabeth Hazen and Rose Solari
Solari’s latest collection, The Last Girl, “sweeps the reader from dark to light, from pain to joy, weaving a particular and penetrating word-magic that lingers after the book is closed.” Hazen’s debut, Chaos Theories, provides “a way of seeing ourselves and others not as guilty or innocent, good or bad, but as complex, sometimes thwarted beings who are always striving for more wisdom, more empathy, more light.” Join these two poets for a reading and discussion.

4/8/2017 and 4/19/17
3-4:30 p.m. and 7:30-9 p.m.
Story District’s Storytelling Flash Class
Look at your past in a new way, find the funny in your life experiences, command an audience, overcome stage fright, and make new friends in this 30-minute “Flash Class” with Story District senior instructor Meredith Maslich. Named the "gold standard" in storytelling by the Washington Post, Story District hosts live storytelling shows the second Tuesday of every month.

7-8:30 p.m.
An Evening of Humorous Readings
Do you love reading the funny things you find in McSweeney's, Shouts and Murmurs, and other places? An Evening of Humorous Readings gathers the funniest DC-area writers to read their original work. It's all the humor you love — live!

6-10 p.m.
District Lit Happy Hour, Reading, and Open-Mic
Bring your poems to help District Lit and Redux celebrate our poetry scene! Featured readers include Arlington Poet Laureate Katherine E. Young, Kim Roberts, J.D. Smith, Marlena Chertock, Meg Eden, and CL Bledsoe. Books will be available for sale, and an open-mic will follow.

6-7:30 p.m.
Publishing with Small Presses
A discussion panel on publishing with small presses with Andrew Gifford (Santa Fe Writers Project), Rose Solari (Alan Squire Publishing), and Richard Peabody (Paycock Press/Gargoyle Magazine).

7:30-8:30 p.m.
Let the Rhythm Change You (Presentation and Performance)
Kim Venetz (DJ Alkimist) will give a presentation about the merging of music and identity, ranging from classical to electronic music. After that, she and E.A. Aymar will give a performance of some of their most recent "short stories + music" tracks.

2-3:30 p.m.
Monkeys with Typewriters Get Writing!
Are you a writer who just needs to sit down and get writing? Join us for a series of short writing exercises, a lot of fun writing prompts, and discussion of strategies for accomplishing creative goals. Let’s get some words on the page together! Monkeys with Typewriters is a Meetup group based in Arlington. We’re an extreme writing group bent on hammering out our novels (or whatever projects we're working on) and having fun, too. If infinite monkeys can create a masterpiece, so can we!

7-8:30 p.m.
Character Building in Fantasy
Worldbuilding is fun, but someone's got to live in that world, and compelling characters will make readers want to stay put. Join Daniel M. Ford, author of The Paladin Trilogy (Santa Fe Writers Project) and Kathy MacMillan, author of Sword and Verse (HarperTeen) for a lively discussion on selecting the right characters to tell your story, and how to make fictional people seem real.

7-8:30 p.m.
Hear Us Roar: Arlington's Young Poets Take the Stage
Arlington Poet Laureate Katherine E. Young introduces and hosts a performance by Arlington's next generation of poets, including students at the Art Institute of Washington (Rosslyn, VA) and the Wakefield High School Poetry Club. Hear the future of Arlington poetry now!

All events take place at Artomatic, 1800 S. Bell St., Crystal City, VA (Metro: Yellow/Blue Line). More information and events can be found at

Tara Campbell is a DC-based writer and MFA student at American University. You may well see her at an open-mic at Artomatic if she doesn’t get too distracted by all the art to find the right room.

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