Art on the Walls

The New Deal Cafe provides a venue for local artists to exhibit and sell their work. We have a showroom and glass display cases, and every other month new artwork is featured. Join us at a reception to meet the creative talent behind the next exhibit.

If you're an artist, we'd love to talk to you about having a show at the cafe.

The cafe's art exhibits are mounted by the New Deal Cafe Art Committee and sponsored by the Friends of New Deal Cafe Arts with support from Prince George's County. Your tax-deductible donation to FONDCA supports art at the cafe.

September - October 2012

On display August 28th through November 5th, Paul Downs is showing in the back room and Nicole Black is showing in the front. A public reception for this exhibit will be held on Sunday, October 7, from 7pm to 9pm.

Sights from the Studio by Nicole Black

I was inspired by and created these works in Studio Insight: A St. Lukes House Life Skills Program Artist Collective. Working in a group creates certain energy. It is hard to put into words what happens when poets are reading aloud during musical breaks that inspires new directions in a piece of work. Or while making a piece a conversation allows me to see possibilities and push further. I consider myself a colorist. I decided to ask some members their favorite colors, and combined them. Sights from the Studio #2 were a long list of colors that I do not usually work with. The accomplishment in combining them and exploring a new shape to work within was the jumping off point.

The Generations photo collage is a collaborative work with my father Melvin Black. Growing up with a photographer who is also a musician blessed me with a good eye. Music and visual art are inseparable to me. I feel that I compose with color and stroke of brush. Choosing photos that span decades gives an insight to where he has been and how that influences where I am going.

Through Variations of Soft I explored more of my brush technique. The Elder members of Studio Insight have the controlled hands of experience. After conversations with them I could let go and allow the brush to skate across the canvas and lead me to another place with the color.

Color is one of the languages of freedom. To speak in a global dialect is the goal of my painting endeavors. I see rhythms coursing through life. Exploring the tones of these rhythms is the enrichment that becomes a painting.

As a self-taught artist I have explored the United States expanding my knowledge of technique and traditions of the multitude of cultures that create our current society. The landscapes of New Mexico and California have shaped my openness to color dynamics.

I began to hone my talent in my youth after the discovery of the folk art traditions. As I matured I became inspired by the meditative expressions of eastern traditions. Currently I am creating works influenced by the fusion of ancestral spoken disciplines and modern rhythms. In 2008 she found a home at the Studio In Sight outsider art collective.

To view more works please visit my website To contact me please use the email address of $0 or by phone (301) 775-3530.

The Night of the Stick Bubbles

Art from Nature by Paul Downs

Artist Paul Downs has created a style of art using sticks from the forest that is truly one of a kind. Instead of using charcoal or paint he renders his designs of animals, nature scenes and Native Americans using the forest as his medium for his artistic creations. "My palette is the white oak, the wild black cherry, tulip poplar, sassafras, red twig dogwood, and maple sticks." says Paul.

Throughout his career Paul has honed his skill down a trail no one else has ventured to go. His artistic expressions range from an 'other-worldly' party of stick people on a bridge, to scenes from a West Virginia railroad trestle to a sea horse. He brings the viewer into a world of color and design and seemingly gravity defying wall hung sculptures that will delight and amaze while at the same time bring a feeling of peace as one would gain from a stroll in the woods.

A native of Greenbelt Maryland, Paul grew up exploring, playing and falling in love with the woods the Great North Woods, as he calls them of Greenbelt Maryland. This 225 acre belt of green came under the threat of development in the late '80's. Paul was a leader in the successful crusade to save these woods now named the Greenbelt Forest Preserve. His art form developed alongside his conservation career over the past 25 years. The woods and his art now enjoy a certain freedom which expresses itself in the very grain of his work. During those 25 years Paul initiated the now traditional Children's Pumpkin Walk as a way to get folks out to the woods. Paul has a long standing interest in the thrill and scare of Halloween and his most recent show "The Night of the Stick Bubbles" features 18 new bubble shaped pieces. Many of these works engage the themes of peace and nature. However, for the first time, Paul has brought his sense of humor around Halloween themes into his work. These take the form of Comic Sticks with such works as "Waiting for the New Renters", "Goat Man Livz" and "Tombstone Pumpkin". Also highlighted in the show are some of Paul's most intricate and beautiful pieces including "Gladitude", "The Sea Horse" and "The Bridge to Everywhere". To contact him go to Facebook, see Twig Art;$0; 301 474 7465 or 301 281 1106.

Calling all photographers!

We're hosting a group show of photographs with a Greenbelt theme from November 6, 2012 to January 7, 2013. On Sunday, December 2, there will be a public reception at the cafe featuring live music, refreshments, and the announcement of awards. Apply now!

July - August 2012

On display at the New Deal Cafe from July 3rd through August 27th, paintings by Ingrid Cowan Hass in the back room and drawings by Eva Kritt in the front room. Join us on Sunday, August 5th from 7pm to 9pm for a reception and meet the arists!

Summertime Tunes

watercolors and block prints by Ingrid Cowan Hass

Painting by Ingrid Cowan Hass

Ingrid Cowan Hass grew up in the foothills of North Carolina and has lived in Greenbelt since 1998. She majored in Studio Art with a minor in Music from Smith College in Northampton, MA, and holds a Master's degree in Opera Performance from the School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC. Ingrid is a professional musician, a mezzo-soprano, and performs regularly in opera, oratorio and recital in the greater Washington, DC area. She teaches voice, piano and various art classes to adults and children. Ingrid painted the outdoor New Deal Cafe sign for the current space after the move from the Community Center.

Artist's Statement

Music and painting have always been an intricate part of my life. As a professional musician, I am busy with rehearsals, practice, or teaching, but I always have pictures and colors brewing in my head. I believe that color speaks directly to the heart and mind of a person, in a similar way that music does. Color is very often the vehicle I use to express my relationship to the subject. In this show, Summertime Tunes, many of the subjects are people making music. I always create the initial sketches while the music is happening. My mark-making and pallet are influenced by the sounds, the melody, and the beat of a performance and by the concentration and personalities of the performers. But even 'silent' subjects have a song. I might ask myself, "Does this still-life sound like blasting trumpets or a mellow flute?" "Is this landscape in a minor or major key?" I use the juxtaposition of many colors and geometry to show how I feel about what I am painting and to express how the painting sounds.

Eva Kritt

Drawing by Eva Kritt

I always found people to be the most interesting subjects. My goal has been to reveal something about a person's character and to bring out their personality through expression, facial detail and body language, and to faithfully define volume, shape and movement, and in the best case, bring him or her to life.

At The Maryland Institute College of Art, in Baltimore, where I went to school, there was a replica from the tomb of twin babies on the second floor of the Main Building. The curves of their cheeks and mouths wrapped around voluminous faces and their eyelids seemed to flutter even though they were still. It appeared as though they could roll over at any time, pulling the sheets with them, their heads resting on soft stone pillows and their precious hands balled up into tiny fists.

I thought about this sculpture when I was drawing my daughter at 18 months of age. Her cheek rolled forward and flattened out where her face pressed against the couch cushion and her mouth puckered, falling part way open. Every so often, she took a deep breath, picked her head up, turned it to the other side and sighed. Then I drew the rest of her, waiting for her to turn her head back towards me. We won a contest in the National Newsletter for my mother's group.

When I was a child, my grandfather took me to the Rodin exhibit at The National Gallery of Art. And as I overlooked "The Gates of Hell", a massive bronze sculpture, I noticed that some of the figures were trying to escape, and they did so, convincingly. I wondered if, one day, I could do that.

In pursuit of this, I have spent my life drawing, painting and sculpting figures and faces. Whether fantasy or fiction, posed or referenced from photos, people are my favorite subjects.