Thursday, September 10, 2009

Splash of Color: Blues + Neon to hit Honfleur Gallery

Piedmont Blues Concert and Neon Public Art Lighting this Friday
Friday September 11th, 7pm

This weekend is set to start off right, with a vibrant intro to the fall arts season. A night of stellar blues music and concurrent art lighting and dedication bring a splash of color to Honfleur Gallery. Tickets for the Wiggins and Friends concert are $10 and available through the gallery. The new neon public art piece by DC light sculptor Craig Kraft is entitled Anacoeti, and was created as a site-specific installation acting as a beacon of light and color for Honfleur. This artwork and the concert are both funded by a grant from the DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities, and will be lit and dedicated during the concert intermission.

Phil Wiggins, a leading exponent of the Piedmont Blues, will kick of the evening with live blues starting at 7pm. Joined by blues musician and activist Rick Franklin, under the name of “Wiggins and Friends”, the duo exemplifies this local blues style-– specifically the Piedmont-style guitar. Piedmont blues features alternating thumb and finger, with the thumb creating a steady, loping bass as the melody is simultaneously picked out on the treble strings. This is a musical event not to be missed- Wiggins is one half of the former group “Cephas and Wiggins,” renowned for their contributions to the Piedmont style. Almost immediately after the two musicians joined forces (in the late 70's), the blues community proclaimed them as the new champions of the East Coast Piedmont style of blues." Phil Wiggins continues performing and spreading his knowledge and love for the blues, despite the passing of his longtime musical partner John Cephas earlier this year.

"When you get down, the Blues will pick you up again. Blues is nourishment for the human spirit,” according to Phil Wiggins. Don't miss the touching, melodic and uplifting performance of some extremely talented musicians performing the blues at Anacostia’s contemporary fine art space.

About the Artists:
Born in Washington, D.C. in 1954, Phil Wiggins began his musical career with some of Washington's leading blues artists, including the locally noted slide guitarist and gospel singer Flora Molton. He also apprenticed with Mother Scott (a contemporary of Bessie Smith). He met John Cephas in 1976 and, along with pianist Wilbert "Big Chief" Ellis and bassist James Bellamy, they formed the Barrelhouse Rockers. After Ellis' death in 1977, the duo of Cephas &
Wiggins was born. Besides being a renowned harmonica player, Wiggins is also a gifted songwriter whose material helped define the duo's sound. Often called the Ambassadors of The Blues, Cephas & Wiggins continue to bring Piedmont blues to audiences all over the world. In 2009, John Cephas passed away. Since then Phil has joined up with various blues legends bringing Rick Franklin to play alongside him. Phil is a true master of the acoustic blues harp!

Rick's musical style of blues, known as the "Piedmont" style, is identified with such legendary players as Blind Blake, Blind Boy Fuller and William More along with contemporary players like the late Virginians John Cephas and John Jackson and the late Maryland resident, Archie Edwards. Rick has taught guitar to youths and adults both national and international. He is personally committed to the preservation and diffusion of the Blues, especially
amongst the young. Rick has been on the European Blues Association Blues Week faculty, the Port Townsend Blues Week faculty, has been an Executive Board member of the DC Blues Society and helped organize and performed in the first annual DC Blues Festival. Rick also contributed to the DC Blues Society as a music critic for their monthly and quarterly publication.

CRAIG KRAFT Over the past 30 years Craig Kraft has gained national recognition in creating original works of art that advance the techniques he has developed working with neon and the figure and, more recently, rolled aluminum. He is one of only a handful of light artists in the world who bends his own glass and is respected for his ability to precisely manipulate the figure and light to capture his own artistic vision. He achieved his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is presently a faculty member of the Smithsonian Institution Studio Arts Program. His sculptures have been featured in over 110 exhibits throughout the U.S.A. (11 solo) and he has been a leader of the International Sculpture Conference twice. Recently, Kraft has been commissioned to create monumental rolled aluminum light sculptures for both Montgomery County Maryland and P.F.A. for the Downtown Silver Spring Development as well as for The Arlington Arts Center in Arlington, Virginia. He was invited to exhibit at both The Busan Biennale Art Festival 2004 and Hermandades Escultoricas 2005 in Merida Yucatan Mexico. Kraft Resides at 931 R Street NW, Washington, D.C. U.S.A. His work can be seen at his home gallery and studio, a historic firehouse. His pieces are for sale and he is available for commissioned artwork.

Tickets ($10) are available at the gallery; 1241 Good Hope Road SE, by telephone at 202-580-5972, or on the web at The current exhibit is East of the River, the third annual exhibition hightlighting artists from wards 7 and 8 and will be on view from August 1st to October 15th. For further inquiries, please contact Briony Evans Hynson, Creative Director at 202-536-8994 or Be sure to visit the Honfleur website
for details:

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