Meet Jennifer Allevato, Our First Pop-Up Competition Winner

We are thrilled to introduce to you Jennifer Allevato, the artist behind Jennifer Allevato Fine Art who will be popping up at The Studio next week! Jennifer was the second place winner of our first-ever Summer Pop-Up Competition with AEDP and for good reason: her paintings are captivating and colorful and it’s clear that she is a complete professional about her work. We love that she’ll be hosting open studio hours during which she’ll be painting and hosting visitors and we’re just so excited to see her gorgeous collection light up our studio walls.

To prepare for her pop-up, I sat down with Jennifer to talk through her background as an artist, what she loves about Alexandria, and what we can expect from her pop-up gallery next week.

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Tell us a bit about yourself and your work. Are you a full-time professional artist?

Jennifer: I am a fine art painter who works in acrylics and mixed media to create colorful post-impressionist inspired still lifes and landscapes. My husband Jason and I live in the Fairlington neighborhood of Alexandria with our two cats, Red and James. 

I have been a full-time artist for a little over 5 years. Most days you can find me working from my home studio in Alexandria, frequented by our two cats. Jason works a traditional job outside the home, so the cats and I enjoy long days of music, quiet, and birds chirping from our townhome while I cover myself (and my panels) in paint.

That sounds just idyllic. But, we all know it’s so difficult to turn art into a career. How did you come to start doing art professionally?

Jennifer: After getting an MFA in costume design, I moved to the DC-area to work in theatre, and after about a year I was totally burnt out and missed creating my own work. At first I was just creating little pieces here and there as a creative outlet, but I soon opened an Etsy shop to sell my work. I eventually worked my way to larger paintings, dabbling in the gallery scene, and, finally, last year launched my own online shop and juried into the Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association. I feel so lucky to be able to paint as my job, and fully credit the internet with helping to create more independent careers for artists. 

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 Have you ever done a traditional retail concept before? Why did you decide to do apply for a pop-up spot with Seedling?

Jennifer: I mostly sell online or in galleries, as well as a few art markets, and have sold my prints and cards wholesale in a few shops, but I have never had my own dedicated retail shop before. As an artist who works alone from a home studio, it can be hard to get out in front of the public, so when I heard about this short-term opportunity with Seedling, I jumped at the chance. Original art can seem unapproachable to many people, so presenting it in a less formal setting – a shop rather than a traditional gallery – is a great way to reach more people, especially those who are just starting an art collection. 

 I’m so glad you approached it that way. I love the idea of Seedling serving as an outlet to show creative, original fine art to people who may not usually feel compelled to enter a gallery. What type of experience can we expect to find at your pop up? 

Jennifer: The space will be set up as a retail gallery shop and working art studio! (Yes, with easel!) You can browse my original paintings, as well as art prints and stationery, and maybe even catch me working on some new pieces in a makeshift studio space. The great thing about acrylic paints is how mobile they are, so I can pack up my tubes and take them almost anywhere. 

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 Any special promotions or workshops going on while you're here? 

The pop-up shop and studio will be open Monday, July 29 – Sunday, August 4, and on Thursday evening I am hosting an open reception! From 6:30pm – 8:30pm on August 1st, browse the art, say hi to the artist (me!) and see my workspace while enjoying sips and snacks. 

 Jennifer’s Five Favorites:

  1. Favorite neighborhood in Alexandria?

I am not sure I could choose between Old Town and Del Ray! Old Town is just the prettiest with the historical buildings and waterfront, but it can get a little tourist-heavy, especially on the weekends. My favorite time to visit is on weekday mornings, right before the shops open. It’s nice and quiet, and you can take in all the beauty. On the other hand, Del Ray feels more like a small town straight out of Gilmore Girls, complete with a sweet little “main street.” It’s incredibly charming, and I love how involved and supportive the neighborhood is (yay Art on the Avenue!) 

 2. Favorite part about living and working in Old Town? 

Everything… (except the parking, haha). When I first moved to the DC area after grad school, by total chance I landed in North Old Town, and I was hooked. The beautiful buildings, all the trees, the waterfront, the local shops, the great restaurants, and the heavy emphasis on the arts make this my dream home. 

 3. Favorite thing to do in Alexandria on a free day? 

Have brunch (current faves are Vola’s and Del Ray Cafe), hit some shops, and end up at the Waterfront/ Torpedo Factory. 

 4. Favorite spot to grab a drink? 

Does South Block count? (love those acai bowls!) 

 5. Favorite day trip outside of Alexandria? 

Stone Tower Winery! It’s so pretty there, and so fun to just sit, sip wine, and take in the scenery. It’s almost shocking how remote it feels, but it’s just over in Leesburg. 

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Thank you, Jennifer! We can’t wait to visit your pop-up gallery!

All photos by Anna Meyer Photography

Meaghan Foran