Andy Warhol celebrated at Artisphere's anniversary

AP Photo

ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) - Artisphere is marking its third birthday with a wild weekend of Andy Warhol inspired celebrations. The Rosslyn arts center is currently displaying Warhol’s Silver Clouds, an interactive exhibit making its first-ever appearance in the D.C. area. With the arrival of Silver Clouds coinciding with Artisphere’s anniversary, organizers thought the combo would make for a fantastic weekend of artsy events.

If you’re not familiar with Silver Clouds, you can expect to find a room filled with 150 floating pillows, fueled by electric fans and energetic visitors bumping and tapping them into motion. Unlike more traditional art, people are actually encouraged to jump in and take part in the exhibit.

“As people interact with the Silver Clouds, they are, in fact, not only changing the installation but becoming part of it,” said José A. Ortiz, Artisphere’s Executive Director. “This installation allows visitors to experience art in a whole new way, demystifying art and making it totally accessible, regardless of your level of art knowledge.”

Artisphere is a progressive cultural hot spot tucked into Rosslyn’s old Newseum building. (Just look for the silver dome on Wilson Boulevard.) It’s a monster sized facility with lots to offer.

Besides paintings, photographs and mixed media art at every turn, Artisphere houses a ballroom for events, dancing and music. It also has multiple theaters and a two-story video wall. Plus, there are spaces with comfy seating for lively discussions about art and culture. It’s all the arts under one gigantic roof.

{ }“Many museums have trained staff, volunteers and docents to help their visitors understand what the artist was thinking, feeling and why they created a work of art,” said Ortiz. “We cut out the middle man and encourage our visitors to interact with the artists and get all of this information directly from the source.”

Artisphere’s third birthday party will include a full weekend of events. On Friday October 11th, the center has expanded its hours and will be open at noon so more people have a chance to explore the center. Plus, there will be performances by Dance Exchange, an interactive dance group that will actually be leaping among the Silver Clouds. Everything is free!

Saturday night is when POP really comes to life with Night of 1,000 Andys. Guests are encouraged to throw on their best Andy-inspired costumes and groove the night away. It’s a total throwback to the hip get-togethers Warhol hosted in the 60s, minus the illegal stuff.

And talk about a party! Night of 1,000 Andys will showcase two DJs spinning vinyls. Yes, real vinyl records. (Remember those?) And three bands will keep the entire facility buzzing with music. One of them is called the MarchFourth Marching Band and they’re nothing like the one you remember from high school. Twenty extremely unique members make up this eccentric bunch that plays everything from jazz to funk. Mix in a little burlesque and acrobatics, and you’ve got quite a show.

A live game show, a comedian and all sorts of other surprises round out the night. Ticket prices range from $15 - $25.

On Sunday, things simmer down just a bit with a free family day of musicians, story-tellers, art and more crazy music.

“We are so excited to have in our studio, Baby Loves Disco putting on a Studio 54 inspired disco party for children of all ages,” said Annalisa Meyer, Artisphere’s Communications and Marketing Director. “Parents can come with their kids and dance to disco and tunes you find on the radio now. It’s going to be fantastic.”

At just three years old, Artisphere has become a hub for local and nationally-known artists to strut their stuff. And they’re hoping this Warhol-weekend will inspire people in the D.C. area to become part of the Artisphere family.

“We are doing incredible work here. We’re pushing artistic boundaries,” said Meyer. “There are some really incredible opportunities to interact with art here, talk to artists and be part of the art.”