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Best of the City

From culture to design, food to fashion, an upcoming year has never looked so positively appealing.


Gabriel Mellan in front of his work “(_)(2)(2)(16+32),” named for a math equation.


Magic Man
If an artist can define a city in transition, Gabriel Mellan is it. His current work includes massive sculpture, photography and video. “I make big, loud and often heavy sculptures that sometimes move, illuminate and make noise,” says the artist, who experienced childhood in DC and Maui before spending his teen years in Japanese public schools. His most recognizable work, an interactive sound column dubbed “Heptachord,” challenges our capacity to appreciate our senses. The year ahead for the Corcoran College of Art + Design grad promises more pop-up exhibits at places like Union Market; a photography project in Finland; and filmmaking in China, Bangladesh and Nepal. “I’m really humbled to have a life that allows me to pursue my passion of art and teaching,” Mellan says.

Bodies, Rest and Motion
Susan Shields can hardly believe her good fortune—or the fortunes of those who appreciate dance in the Washington region. As the director of the School of Dance at George Mason University, Shields will host 500 dancers and the public March 8-11 at the Center for the Arts as part of the American College Dance Festival, which lands in Fairfax this year. While four days of performances (including the Joffrey Ballet, March 7-8) are on tap, one of the biggest coups is the program on March 9 in the Concert Hall called A Life of Dance. Panelists for the forum include Robert Battle, artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; Ashley Wheater, artistic director of the Joffrey Ballet; and Elizabeth Streb, artistic director of Streb and a MacArthur fellow. “We’ll have some of America’s biggest players in dance on hand to talk about the beautiful art form, how it has influenced their lives and where it’s headed in 2014 and beyond,” Shields says. 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, Va., 703.993.8883

Light Fantastic
The year ahead will see Maurine Littleton, owner of Georgetown’s Maurine Littleton Gallery looking back—and forward. “This is our 30-year anniversary, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with where glass, metal and ceramics are as an art form,” says Littleton, whose father, Harvey, is recognized as the pioneer in the studio-glass movement. Littleton Gallery, which exhibits and reps artistic luminaries like Dale Chihuly and Ginny Ruffner, will launch an anniversary show in March, along with an Albert Paley display, to coincide with the artist’s June exhibit at the Corcoran.

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