These are the best art exhibits coming to NoVA in 2020

From an orange-inspired exhibit to a 50-foot steel structure created by a George Mason University professor, here’s where to see new art in the new year.

girl walking in art exhibit with two large paintings
Photo by Christian Fregnan

Make it a goal in 2020 to see more art. You don’t even have to create it yourself because Northern Virginia has several locations that make spending a few hours browsing an art gallery worth it. 

Below, find the new exhibits headed to the region in 2020. 

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Torpedo Factory Art Center

Three new exhibits are coming to the Alexandria-based art center from January to March.

The Newly Eligible Artists exhibit will feature rotating work by artists who were recently juried into the art center’s community of artists. A few selected artists include Tara Barr (known for her bold, colorful paintings of typewriters and other classic items), Sonne Hernandez (known for her hyper-realistic paintings and winterscapes) and Michael McSorley (known for his paintings of objects, places and faces). Look out for more rotating artists starting in April 2020 as well. 

My Queer Valentine is a temporary exhibit through Sunday, March 8 showcasing and exploring love through the perspectives of non-herteronormative and non-binary artists. The juror for the exhibit was Andy Johnson, director of Gallery 102. The exhibit’s opening celebration will be held on Friday, Feb. 14 from 7 to 10 p.m., with photo ops at the kissing booth, a raffle to benefit local LGBTQ+ organizations, DIY art activities and a dance party at 9 p.m. Featured artists (along with several others) include Adam David Bencomo from Baltimore, Linda Hesh of Alexandria and Matt Storm of Washington, DC.  

Architecture in Fiber will be a small, curated exhibit where local artists will display their fiber work inspired by the buildings, bridges, parks and monuments of both local and worldwide architecture. The exhibit opens on Thursday, Feb. 13 and closes on Sunday, March 15. // Torpedo Factory Art Center: 105 N. Union St., Alexandria 

Del Ray Artisans

Three new art exhibits are coming to Del Ray Artisans from January to March.

Is your favorite color bright orange? Then this exhibit is for you. Join Del Ray Artisans for an exhibit dedicated to the saturated, bold orange hue that is associated with energy, youth and happiness, according to the website. The exhibit will feature pieces from local artists that hope to bring warmth to the chilly days of winter in Northern Virginia. The exhibit will be open Friday, Jan. 10 through Sunday, Feb. 2. 

Kondo vs. Chaos
Opening on Friday, Feb. 7 (through Sunday, March 1), examines two versions of “stuff.” On one hand, it acknowledges the Marie Kondo minimalist theory where you keep things with meaning that “bring you joy.” On the other hand, it contrasts the organized, minimalist life with chaos, where there is no order and everywhere you look, you see objects that remind you of your life. Attendees are encouraged to wrestle with the styles through carefully chosen pieces and decide why there are benefits and downsides to both. 

Tell Me a Story
In the Del Ray Artisans location, local artists come together to tell a variety of stories. This exhibit is representative of that, where pieces from local artists will inspire you to follow your own imagination and create a story that only you can dream up. The differing narrative art styles are bound to capture your interest and lead you down different avenues worth adventuring. The opening reception for the exhibit will be held on Friday, March 6 from 7 to 9 p.m., and the showing will conclude on Sunday, March 29. // Nicholas A. Colasanto Center: 2704 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria; free

Gallery Clarendon

Two new exhibits are headed to Gallery Clarendon for early 2020, including one national juried show.

To kick off the New Year on Monday, Jan. 6, Gallery Clarendon is welcoming a solo show by Sana Shahid. Catharsis consists of several works in the mediums of acrylic, pencil and watercolor. The exhibit hopes to explore themes of deeper, inexplicable feelings, evoking emotions of comfort, distress and more. Be sure to catch “The Hands Series,” a collection of paintings that, according to the artist, “capture the essence of human nature.”  
Kaleidoscope: National Juried Show
Kaleidoscopes offer a glimpse into a transformed reality, through color, designs and more. For the national juried show, Gallery Clarendon sought art that offered the viewer the challenge of seeing the world through a kaleidoscope-like lense, one that will be adapted and understood in a variety of ways, by dozens of different people. The opening reception will be held on Friday, Jan. 10 from 5 to 7 p.m. // Gallery Clarendon: 2800 Clarendon Blvd., Suite R-800, Arlington; free

Greater Reston Arts Center

Two new exhibits are coming to the Greater Reston Arts Center that are sure to stand out.

Sue Wrbican: Buoyant Force
Buoyant Force is a jaw-dropping 50-foot steel sculpture inspired by the paintings of Kay Sage, an American surrealist in the early and mid 1900s. The artist and sculptor Sue Wrbican is an associate professor and director of photography at George Mason University. The piece will be on display through Nov. 1, 2024. 

Moira Dryer: Yours for the Taking
In conjunction with the major exhibition of Moira Dryer’s work at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, the Greater Reston Arts Center will also display a few of her pieces, providing a look at the artist’s practice through large abstract paintings on wood panel. Many of the pieces, because they were previously only shared with family and friends, have never been shared publicly before. The curator, Lily Seigal, will be on-site to share her take at the opening reception on Saturday, Jan. 18, from 4 to 7 p.m. The exhibit will be on display until Saturday, April 18, 2020. // 12001 Market St., Suite 103, Reston; free

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