We asked established DC creators to wax artistic about up-and-coming stars around town.
Laila Abdul-Hadi Jadallah, photographer, art producer and founder, OuiCurate “Self-taught and shooting in film, Ryan Florig’s photographs highlighting DC’s underground are an important documentation of a rapidly transitioning city. Nate Lewis creates sculptural works from a single sheet of paper—they’re painstakingly beautiful. Abi Kallushi’s digital collages speak to the millennial generation she is a part of.”
Rozeal, painter “Bill Warrell and I met as studio neighbors in Blagden Alley several years ago. I recently helped him with a mural there—at the DC Alley Museum—that incorporated community outreach. He has a great way of emphasizing movement in his portraits. In September, I collaborated with Edgar Reyes on a mural for the exhibition Race Recounted at Baltimore’s Creative Alliance. He’s a great painter with innovative ideas and committed to community engagement.”
Maggie Michael, painter “Interdisciplinary artists Rachel Farbiarz and Tsedaye Makonnen address communal and global issues—with works that are universal—in their practices. Makonnen’s performances, and Farbiarz’s drawings and sculptures are cultural records that bring poetic, visceral pause, sparking critical conversations.”
Fostering success is a tricky proposition. The S&R Foundation believes that when people are supported—intellectually, financially and emotionally—great things happen. The organization launched Halcyon Incubator, a residency for social entrepreneurs, two years ago and is now developing Halcyon Arts Lab, a comparable program for socially engaged artists. S&R found the perfect home for its forthcoming arts incubator in Georgetown’s storied Fillmore School. It purchased the building in 2015 and opened it to local artists with the pilot S&R Foundation Studios Program. This spring, it will close for renovations—and begin the first phase of renovating the Fillmore space—and reopen in fall 2017 as Halcyon Arts Lab. The nine-month residency will bring together international artists committed to social practice, which is an investment benefiting not just the artists, but also the community. Participants will emerge from this nest stronger and better able to pursue their vital work. As Kate Goodall, the S&R Foundation’s COO, describes, “Art is one of the few things that transcends human differences; it gives people the freedom to express themselves and epitomizes culture’s richness and potential.”
Halcyon Incubator photo by Ben Droz
Artistic Growth vs. Stagnation
Is the artistic scene only hot for the big galleries and artists?
We asked two people at the forefront of arts in their communities what’s next for growth engagement.
What’s happening in the local art scene that you’re excited about?
Duane Gautier, CEO & president of ARCH Development Corporation, a nonprofit that uses arts and culture for economic regeneration of Anacostia: Art venues can now be found in all quadrants of DC, whereas in the past, most were in the Northwest.
Holly Koons McCullough, executive director of Arlington Arts Center: In addition to the proliferation of collectives and fairs, DC’s burgeoning population of young professionals has the potential to become serious arts patrons.
What distinct advantages and challenges does DC present to artists?
DG: An advantage is the diversity of artists—especially women artists—living and working here. But rising real-estate costs have led to a dramatic decline in artist housing and studio space.
HKM: DC boasts a flourishing creative community and world-class arts institutions. Nevertheless, affordable studio space is limited, and DC’s proximity to New York is both a blessing and a curse.
How do you perceive art’s role in engaging the public?
DG: Arts can serve as the catalyst for neighborhood economic development by attracting businesses, inspiring individuals and bridging differences between people.
HKM: Art is a universal language and a time-honored instigator of public discourse. It can offer us profound insight into our past, present and future.
Holly Koons McCulLough photo by Turner Photography Studio