Art a la Carte Gallery: Occoquan’s Haven for Unique Artwork
by Robert Currer
The true value of art is the emotion it stirs in you. It's a kind of magic how a few smears of paint or curves of clay can be transformed into something that tugs at your heart. That emotional resonance is made all the more powerful when you learn the story behind the piece.
That's nearly impossible with many galleries where the broker separates artist and patron. But that isn't the case at Art a la Carte. At this gallery, there are no barriers between creator and collector. And there is no impediment to creativity. Instead, Art a la Carte Gallery is a community of artists where originality reigns.
The Conception of a Community
The sodden heat thickened the summer air on the day Art a la Carte Gallery opened its doors. It was the first of August 2010 when Lorie Kagle and Donna Turgeon's vision of a collaborative gallery first welcomed the world. Lorie and Donna were a pair of local artists in a small Occoquan gallery. But they dreamed of a bigger space where they and others could dare to be original.
In those early days, there were only 4 artists who stocked the slat walls of their two-room Gallery on Mill Street. But soon, Art a la Carte blossomed into something unique. The gallery attracted new artists until dozens of fresh voices filled their walls with works that could be found nowhere else.
Only Artists Here
Today, 25 artists show their work at Art a la Carte Gallery. With few exceptions, their creators are also required to assist in the gallery's operation. In fact, everyone who works there is one of the showing artists. So, any day, you can chat with an artist about their work and the work of their peers. This provides an intimacy that is nearly impossible to find at other galleries.
And the artists genuinely love getting to know their fans. Art a la Carte Gallery holds artist receptions where visitors sample wine while discussing art with the creators who made it.
Originality as a Passion
Even with so many creators, Art a la Carte maintains a strong collaboration between the artists while continuing to stock their walls with unique pieces. For this reason, the gallery is so selective about who is allowed to show in their space.
When new artists present themselves for consideration, a jury of 5 resident artists is convened. This jury analyzes the work of the presenting artist with an eye on originality. New artists may work in the same medium as resident artists. But they must present distinct work compared to pieces currently shown in the gallery. This means that the creations of new artists always offer a fresh voice, keeping the gallery the vibrant place it has always been. But it also means that each new artist admitted has the support of the resident artists, ensuring each gallery member can speak to each other’s work.
This passion for originality keeps Art a la Carte stocked with incredible works that can't be found anywhere else. Their offerings span 16 different mediums, from painting to photography to ceramics to jewelry and wood art. Anyone would be hard pressed to find a more varied collection in all of Northern Virginia.
Meet Art a la Carte
Art a la Carte Gallery is an Occoquan gem. Stop by if you are looking for beautiful, original works of art. Take the time to peruse the walls while chatting with one of the resident artists. You’re guaranteed to find something special.
Learn more at artalacartegallery.com.