Have Your Art, Gelato and Cappuccino…

Posted by on Nov 1, 2016 in Art Shows, Behind the Artwork | No Comments
Robb Duncan and his wife Violeta Edelman visit their stall at the Dupont Circle farmers market Sunday morning as Violeta's mother Isabel Castillo holds their 1-year-old daughter Pema. Robb Duncan is the creative drive behind Dolcezza, a local chain of artisan gelato cafes in Washington, DC. Duncan and his wife, Violeta Edelman, opened their first shop in Georgetown seven years ago and now operate three shops around the city. They have a repertoire of over 350 flavors which they rotate regularly based upon seasonally available ingredients, the vast majority of which they source from local farmers and farmers markets. CREDIT: Melissa Golden for The Wall Street Journal "Creating--Robb Duncan"

Robb Duncan and his wife Violeta Edelman
CREDIT: Melissa Golden for The Wall Street Journal
“Creating–Robb Duncan”

Some may argue that ice cream and coffee are not necessities. These people are not likely to think that painting is necessary either. I’m happy to report that both are not only essential, but possible to enjoy at the same time. My first show in Washington, DC will be modest: a two month run in a sunny little spot on a busy street, where you can sip the finest cappuccino or eat gelato as you ponder Bunny. The place is called Dolcezza’s, one of 7 coffee/gelato shops owned by Robb and Violeta. I first met these artisans in the same place I meet most people who inspire me, farmers market. I was buying peaches and Robb was buying a lot more peaches. At Dolcezza’s, just as at Smith Meadows Kitchen, the best local ingredients available go into everything that is made. This is what Italians call artigianato, or what makes life much sweeter.

dolcezzas-at-dupontEvery Sunday I attend Dupont Circle farmers market, the best part of my day is cappuccino. I walk two blocks up Connecticut Avenue. I pass a Street Sense vendor to say hello or buy a paper. In the next block, I look at shoes in the windows. After I cross the street again and pass Starbucks, I walk into Dolcezza’s. There a lot of places to get coffee in DC, but nothing beats this. Every time there’s a new artist on the wall, I linger a little longer.

When I was small, I watched Mister Rogers. Lot’s of people my age did. Every week Fred would visit his Neighborhood of Make Believe where he would encounter a unique cast of characters. The difference between real and fantasy was clear– something that I long for today, where Reality TV pervades arenas it was never meant to inhabit. The power of fiction is to inspire the way we live. It’s meant to give us courage to shape our actual world to the needs of all who inhabit the planet. “You always make each day a special day. You know how: By just your being you/yourself. There’s only one person in the (whole) world that’s like you, and that’s you. And people can like you just/exactly the way you are.” A fantasy that is inclusive and adaptive to whoever passes in the neighborhood is a pretty good story from which to draw inspiration.

My paintings not only reflect the world I live and work in, but they also allow me to process what happens in that very REAL place. I’ve shaped a world where I can explore large problems among other artists, farmers, writers, teachers, engineers, scientists, chefs and people who like to eat well. If you’re in my neighborhood between November 22, 2016 through January 6, 2017, stop by Dolcezza’s at Dupont Circle. I recommend the pistachio ice cream and the cappuccino. Tell Mikaela and her staff I sent you. If you’re not in town on these dates, visit Dolcezza’s or the market at Dupont Circle on another day. It’s a nice way to spend a Sunday.



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