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Behind the Scenes: Preparators and their Art

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Preparators are the unsung heroes of art exhibits, transporting and unpacking art, designing exhibition spaces, installing artworks, lighting the rooms, and posting interpretive labels. In early April, the preparators who work with the American University Museum were on the verge of opening a show spotlighting their own works, sponsored by the Alper Initiative for Washington Art. Then COVID-19 happened. While the in-person exhibition Behind the Scenes: Preparators and their Art has been scuttled, the museum is promoting it with a special collection of artist profiles and works on Instagram, as well as a Spotify playlist of music that the preparators like to play while they work. The preparator-artists in the exhibit include painter Erick Antonio Benitez, painter and mixed-media artist Jack Coyle, mixed-media artist Terence Nicholson, painter Corynne Ostermann, marker-drawing artist Sam Rietenbach, digital collagist Hillary Rochon, photographer MichaelAngelo Rodriguez, painter Kevin Michael Runyon, gouache artist Bonner Sale, and painter Juansebastián Serrano. Of special note are works by Paul Blakeslee, a video artist whose pieces focus on music; Sara Dittrich, who creates pale sculptural works with polymer clay and fabric; Caroline Hatfield, who produces finely textured, deeply black pieces made of layered tar paper and charcoal; Nieko McDaniel, who produces works from repurposed cardboard; and Chris Zickefoose, whose works come from reclaimed laminate flooring. In addition to the Instagram collection, the participating artists’ works and bios can be found in an extensive online catalog. The profiles and works are available on Instagram at @aumuseum_katzen and the playlist is available on Spotify. Free. —Louis Jacobson

Make any week “Bike Anywhere Week” with a biking bingo card

If you (used to) rely on the Metro for transportation, now is an ideal time to buy a bike—or rent one, if you can’t find a suitable one in stock. The Washington Area Bicyclist Association, which promotes biking as an affordable, environmentally friendly transport option, went forward with its “Bike Anywhere Week” this year in spite of the pandemic. Even though the week is officially over, you can still use their bingo card to play “Bike Anywhere Bingo” all year long! Fill in squares by finishing chores, performing bike maintenance, or checking out one of the D.C -area’s many trails. For instance, you can hit the Capital Crescent Trail, which was built over a railbed originally used by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company’s Georgetown Branch. The trail stretches from Georgetown to Silver Spring and passes through some of the District’s most picturesque (and wealthy) neighborhoods in Northwest. In Southeast, try the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, which tracks the river for around 20 miles and passes right by Navy Yard-area takeout options. (Reward yourself with a taco from Él Bebe or a pizza from All Purpose.) You can also ride the Mount Vernon Trail along the Potomac to George Washington’s historic estate, which will also take you by the monuments and through the picturesque Old Town neighborhood of Alexandria. Or, if it’s a Netflix and newspaper kind of day, stay home and follow @WABADC on Twitter—you get a square for that too. The bingo card is available at waba.org. Free. —Will Lennon