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October Must See Art Exhibitions

“DC Art Now 2022”
DCCAH I Street Galleries|
On view through October
There is no doubt that DC is home to some of America’s greatest artists and that these greats are finally getting the recognition they deserve.  Sam Gilliam and Alma Thomas are among those who come immediately to mind. These two DC-based artists gained national and international recognition in the last years of their lives and posthumously.  Gilliam had a retrospective at the Hirshhorn this summer and last year, Alma Thomas was the first Black woman to have had a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

KOKAYI “Poseidon.”  2019. Photograph Giclee Print. Image courtesy DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities

Currently on view at the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities I Street Galleries is “DC Art Now 2022.” This is the Commission’s annual exhibition of selected works by finalists of its Art Bank Program grant.  It is worth mentioning that both Gilliam and Thomas have works in the Commission’s Art Bank.

Why is this important? This is your chance to not only see some great artwork by regional artists but an opportunity to witness history in the making—who among the artists exhibited this year may eventually rise to national and international prominence in the years to come?

200 I Street SE, Washington DC, 20003. Hours: Monday–Friday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.  https://dcarts.dc.gov/

“Galería del barrio” 
DC Public Library Mount Pleasant Branch
On view through October
Eckington-based artist Carolina Mayorga, who is also one of Capitol Hill Arts Workshop’s most beloved instructors (she redecorated CHAW’s exterior in 2021), formed a partnership with DC Public Library to exhibit work with a public participation component.  The first collaboration of its kind for DC Public Library, Mayorga assembled a group of fellow Latino artists.  Hanging throughout the Mount Pleasant Library, the works consist mostly of representational drawings and prints featuring everyday items like plants, cleaning products and canned goods, all of which will feel both intimate and familiar to the viewer.  This is intentional; artists Carolina Mayorga, Ric Garcia, Carlos Carmonamedina, Veronica Melendez, and Irene Clouthier, seek to connect library patrons and visitors with recognizable objects with the ultimate goal of art appreciation.

Mayorga will go a step further with regards to public participation this month.  She has created a coloring book consisting of the artists’ drawings which the library will distribute free of charge to the public on October 15. Mayorga hopes the public will not only engage in art appreciation but will create artwork of their own by reinterpreting color variations of the artists’ original forms.

3160 16th Street NW, Washington DC, 20010. Hours: Sunday: 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. | Monday and Tuesday 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.| Wednesday: 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. | Thursday: 12:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. | Friday: 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.| Saturday: 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. dclibrary.libnet.info/event/7237512

Hill Center
Hill Center SOLOS

On view through January 6, 2023
Hill Center is hosting its annual solos exhibition consisting of eleven regional artists.  While each solo exhibition is interesting in its own right, recent portraits by Thom Goertel who photographed women in Cuernavaca, Mexico, are especially worth the visit.  The following explanation by Goertel for his process summarizes the description of his subjects perfectly: “I shot environmental portraits of 36 impoverished women in central Mexico, in and around their homes.  The focus was not on poverty, but on their beauty and how time and their lives shapes and changes that beauty.”

921 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE Washington, DC 20003. Hours: Monday–Thursday: 8:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. | Friday: 8:00 a.m.–6 p.m. | Saturday: 9:00 a.m.–5 p.m. | Sunday: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. www.hillcenterdc.org/galleries

Hemphill Fine Arts
Julie Wolfe “Opposing Forces”

On view through October
Wolfe originally worked as a board game designer prior to her career as a fine artist.  The work in “Opposing Forces” can be split into three categories—the first consists of Rorschach patterns painted on felt; the second, large tableaus which exquisitely make use of color theory; and the third are playful paintings clearly inspired by her time as a game board designer.  Wolfe’s maturity as a practicing artist is demonstrated by her confidence and her willingness to use unconventional materials upon which to paint such as felt (in lieu of canvas) and colorizing digital prints by hand using pink enamel.

The curation of the exhibition should be duly noted. One of the great pleasures that one will derive from seeing this exhibition is the way in which it was hung. Hemphill’s staff took extraordinary care in scaling the work in the physical spaces of the gallery rendering smaller works more prominent while allowing larger work to “breathe” by hanging each on its own wall.

434 K Street NW, Washington DC, 20001. Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 12 p.m.- 5 p.m. www.hemphillfinearts.com

Maryland Hall
“Perspectivas Latinas” group exhibition
On view through October
Don’t panic!  The other capital city in our region is not nearly as far as you think.  A quick, easy ride out Route 50 and you can be there in less time than it will take you to drive and attempt to park on 14th Street NW on a Saturday night!

Exhibition still from “Perspectivas Latinas” at Maryland Hall.  Image courtesy Wilfredo Valladares.

Curated by Wilfredo Valladares, “Perspectivas Latinas” is an extraordinary grouping of some of the most influential mid-career regional Latino artists in the DC region. Featuring 20 participants who work in just about every medium imaginable and fill up all of Maryland Hall’s exhibition galleries, the assortment of work, mediums and subject matter reflect not only the artists’ incredibly diverse backgrounds but the complexities of Latin American identity and culture.  In the United States, Latin American culture is too often presented as one which is both homogenous and uniformly connected by a common language—Spanish.

However, the exhibition deftly shatters this perception.  The artists in “Perspectivas Latinas” hail from such divergent countries as Brazil, where Portuguese and not Spanish is spoken, Chile, Columbia , Costa-Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico.  Through their work, the viewer will come to understand the breadth and complexity of Latin American culture, identity and language.

801 Chase St, Annapolis, MD 21401. Hours: Monday-Thursday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. | Saturday 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. www.marylandhall.org/galleries/exhibitions-calendar/latinx-perspective/

Phil Hutinet is the founding publisher of East City Art, DC’s visual art journal of record. For more information visit www.eastcityart.com

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