Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Athenaeum Centerpiece

I've been looking over Old Town Alexandria with my drawing eye for some months now and finally have landed on my pick. As it goes so often, your first impulse is usually right. My first taste of Alexandria in 2008 was bustling King Street in the height of summer. Ducking away from the crowds, just one block south, I found respite and intrigue on Prince Street. The block between Union and Lee Street, closest to the Potomac River is known as Captain's Row. The next block is Gentry Row. Between the two rows is the Athenaeum. It is home to Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association and it's vaulted space swathed with light from huge windows is used as a gallery and educational venue. Originally, it was built as the Bank of the Old Dominion, served as Chief Commissary's Office during the Civil War, reverted to a bank, then an apothecary factory, then a church. That is the beauty of a "dumb" - and beautiful - building: to live multiple lives and thus retain, even increase, in value in the community. It the is Centerpiece of the new Alexandria Streetscape Drawing...to be continued...

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