Creative Life in the Gateway Arts District

Conversations with Past Gateway CDC Artists in Residence, 39th Street Gallery: Jack Warner

Jack Warner on uninterrupted workflow and constantly questioning


Photo courtesy of 39th Street Gallery

What artistic mediums do you work in?

In my paintings I work in acrylic paint and other construction materials such as, cement grout, caulk, fiberglass resin, and pavement sealer. The flexibility and many application methods of acrylic paint allows me to experiment in my work, as do the construction materials, which add a variety of textures and the aesthetic quality I am after. I also work in sculpture using mainly found or reclaimed wood and found objects.

Where were you trained as an artist, art school, mentor, classes, self-taught?

I don’t know that I was trained per say, but I graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park, and did some undergrad work at Salisbury University. I like to think it has been more about my persistence to become an artist than my training.

What does it mean to you to be an “artist”?

To be an artist means viewing the world and then reacting to the world by creating an object to make sense of it. But an artist also realizes that the object created can both help and hinder his understanding. You have learned through the action of creating but the end result may unearth further questions. To be an artist is to constantly question.

Tell us about your time as an Gateway’s artist-in-residence? Did the artist-in-residence program impact your artistic practice?

My time at Gateway [Arts Center] as the A.I.R. (Artist In Residence) was essential to my ability to continue my artistic practice after graduating from the University of Maryland. Not only did it provided the space I needed to create large works, it provided the camaraderie and social support an emerging artist needs. I attended every opening and event during my time as A.I.R. and really got to know the community which supports Gateway, and they accepted me and encouraged me in my work. I even made contacts which lead to a small group show in D.C. The work I was able to create at Gateway also helped me apply to graduate programs and further my thinking on conceptual topics. I think my favorite thing about being the A.I.R. was that I was front and center during the open studios. I met so many supportive people during open studios and had the chance to speak about my work to a diverse population of art enthusiasts.

The creative process is unique to each artist, what is your favorite part of your process?

My favorite part of the creative process is when I am already working and time just seems to disappear. An interrupted work flow is when I believe I make some of my best decisions in a piece because my mind is fully engaged, questioning every movement and mark made. My actions become seamless and almost easy to make. Its exciting because it is free. Although the first mark made on a blank canvas is exciting too, but in more of a high pitched excitement kind of way.

About the Artist In Residence Studio Program (AIR)

The Gateway Community Development Corporation (CDC) offers artists the opportunity to work in the 39th Street A.I.R studio, Gateway Arts Center, while interacting with the culture and the art community in the Gateway Arts District bordering Washington D.C.

The Gateway CDC seeks artists in all visual arts disciplines, and in any media, who desire a chance to create their work in a community art center environment. The A.I.R program is by invitation/and by calls for entry applications. (Due to the community aspect of the AIR studio, chemicals used, and working methods will be considered in choosing the visiting artist participants) For more information email John Paradiso at

The Artist in Residence Studio is located at the Gateway Arts Center, 3901 Rhode Island Ave., Brentwood MD, 20722. Three residencies of 4 months each will be offered annually.

Mailing address is the Gateway CDC Office, 4102 Webster Street, North Brentwood, MD


About neenajoe

Joe’s Movement Emporium is a cultural arts hub that acts as a catalyst for creativity and economic opportunity for all through productions and programs in education, artist services and work readiness. Located in the town center of Mount Rainier, Maryland within the Prince George’s County Gateway Arts District, the organization supports and promotes creative projects of local artists and community groups. For additional information on programs and events, please visit

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