Art and the City

Work by Heather Duncan on view at Capitol Hill Art Walk. Image courtesy of the artist.

This month step into the world of artistic excellence with a slew of diverse exhibits. Choose from an annual exhibit by self-taught artists, a community art walk on Capitol Hill, gallery exhibits and a virtual conference with global sewing experts. Or better, see them all.

Art Enables: “Outside Forces”
September 9–October 21

Hosted by Art Enables, “Outside Forces” focuses on the remarkable creations of self-taught artists, inviting independent artists and studios from all corners of the nation. This annual exhibition stands as an exclusive tribute to the ingenuity of self-taught artisans. The evolution of the term “outsider art” over time is intriguing; once confined to artists in isolation, it now envelops a broader spectrum, often directed at self-taught visionaries. While the precise parameters of this genre retain a fluid quality, its essence lies in its inventive core, driven by personal ideas and aspirations, steering clear of conformist norms. Through an embrace of this enriched definition of “outsider art,” the exhibition extends its reach to encompass emerging, self-taught artists hailing from marginalized communities and individuals with disabilities. Incepted in 2006 with the purpose of uniting self-taught artisans within the Washington, DC area, the exhibition has expanded to encompass creators from across the nation, harmoniously interwoven with resident artists. Presenting a mosaic of affordably priced artworks spanning various styles, it continues to beckon burgeoning collectors into the captivating realm of outsider art.

Art Enables is located at 2204 Rhode Island Ave NE. Monday through Friday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 202-554-9455

L to R: Jamila Rahimi (Art Enables), Kim Bond (VaultArt Studios), Mike Barnes (Art Explorers). Image courtesy Art Enables

Capitol Hill Art Walk
September 9 & 10; 12-5 p.m.

Set your calendar for September 9 and 10, noon to 5 pm, and embark on an immersive journey through more than forty micro-galleries of local artists. Visit home-studios, porches, and gardens, as Capitol Hill blossoms into a plein-air arts destination. Brought to you by the collaborative efforts of the Capitol Hill Restoration Society (CHRS) and the Capitol Hill Art League (CHAL), this annual event originated amid the backdrop of the COVID pandemic. Initially conceived as the “Artist at Home” initiative, it has since flourished into a showcase of eclectic artistic endeavors spanning diverse mediums such as paintings, ceramics, fiber, and metals. This is a wonderful opportunity to connect with the neighborhood art scene and engage in meaningful interactions within the vibrant community that thrives here.

Joan Hisaoka Gallery
“Beyond the Human Form”
Through September 17

Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts presents group exhibition “Beyond the Human Form.”  This compelling showcase features the creative process of Christopher Corson, Mary Annella Frank, Marcel Deolazo, Rose Jaffe, Candice Tavares, and Nami Oshiro. The exhibition unveils a rich tapestry of artistic expression through painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, and wall installations.

The exhibition “Transcending the Human Form” invites viewers to contemplate the limitations of the physical body, offering an intriguing and unconventional perspective. Collaborative artists challenge the traditional belief that the embodiment of creatures—human or animal—should be “solely seen as corporeal.” They also confront outdated portrayals of physical representation. In a world where some perspectives view humans and animals as stationary entities evolving in a linear trajectory, this exhibition defies such assumptions. By encouraging a broader understanding of life beyond the physical realm, it highlights the intricate and diverse progression of human experience. Autonomous entities exist in a perpetual state of transformation.  1632 U Street NW. Open by appointment only.  Contact gallery manager Sara Khambalia at or 202-483-8600 ext. 212 to schedule a visit.

Sew Much Soul Conference is hosted by co-founders and co-owners of Sew Creative Lounge, fashion designer Cecily Habimana and master sewing instructor Tisha Thorne. Photo: Sew Creative Lounge.

“Sew Much Soul” Conference: September 8 through 10

Sew Creative Lounge presents its fifth installment of its “Sew Much Soul” conference, a virtual assembly scheduled from September 8 – 10. This year’s conference brings together prominent sewing experts, who will generously share their knowledge and enthusiasm for the craft of sewing. The Sew Much Soul conference stands as a vibrant celebration of creativity, culture, and community. With an impressive participation of more than 1,000 sewers last year, this event has firmly established itself as an essential gathering for sewing enthusiasts across the globe.

Joan Hisaoka Gallery-Chris Corson “Chrysalis”
Pit-fired ceramic. Image courtesy of the artist.

The highlight of this year’s Sew Much Soul conference is the eagerly awaited “fireside chat” with distinguished guest speaker, actress Phylicia Rashad. During this conversation, Rashad will delve into the significance of storytelling and its pivotal role in preserving cultural heritage and nurturing connections within communities. Drawing from her profound insights and extensive experiences within the entertainment realm, Rashad seeks to ignite inspiration among attendees. The Sew Much Soul conference extends an open invitation to everyone, and registration is provided completely free of charge.

Pyramid Atlantic Art Center:
Jessica Sabogal and Shanna Strauss “SANA(A)”
Through September 24

Jessica Sabogal and Shanna Strauss have partnered to create a print project for the upcoming SANA(A) opening, marking the debut of Pyramid’s Denbo Publishing Residency, the first in almost twenty years. SANA(A) highlights their six-year collaborative journey, meticulously producing individual and joint paper works using techniques such as photopolymer gravure, screenprint, and relief printmaking. The exhibition delves into diverse perspectives on healing wounds, drawing from personal experiences and relationships with queer and trans women of color to explore the mending of individual, collective, and societal wounds from grief, family dynamics, hidden labor, and migration.

Healing of the Wound by Jessica Sabogal and Shanna Strauss, Photopolymer print with Chine-Collé and Silkscreen Deckled edges, 30.75 x 22.” Photo courtesy of Pyramid Atlantic Art Center.

The exhibition’s title, merging cultural backgrounds, holds deep significance. The Spanish “Sana” commands healing, while the Kiswahili “sanaa” embodies art, intertwining their Colombian and Tanzanian heritages with symbols and patterns from their homelands. SANA(A) emphasizes their commitment to portraying women of color not as subjects but as focal points, celebrating their existence, voices, tenderness, caregiving, and spaces.

Their joint studio, Taller SanaaR, unites Colombian-American muralist Sabogal and Tanzanian-American mixed media artist Strauss. Their collaborative practice, spanning muralism, printmaking, community engagement, and public art, focuses on marginalized groups. Both artists have exhibited extensively, with commissioned collaborative works and individual achievements, including awards, fellowships, and residencies, such as the Denbo Publishing Residency. 4318 Gallatin St Hyattsville, MD. Gallery Hours: Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; Friday–Sunday 10 a.m.–6 p.m.

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