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First Friday Art Walks Highlight Authentic Local Art

This past Friday afternoon, I participated in a three-decade free art walk around Dupont circle, peaking into historic homes, modern crisp-galleries and tiny studios. Starting from 6 to 8pm, you can sip on wine, graze on cheese and mingle with established and emerging contemporary artists. There’s something for everyone: installations, video, photography, fine-art and sculpture.

Dupont’s Art Gallery Walk couldn’t be more Washingtonian - surrounded by foreign embassies, international institutions and historic rowhouses. Dupont’s gallery walk brings a neighborhood charm and more intimate vibe than the magnificent and imposing Smithsonian museums located on the mall. As a local born and raised in the District, I often feel like the mall surrounding the Capitol isn’t the real Washington, overrun with tourists and politicians.

Unlike the Smithsonian, Dupont’s Art Gallery Walk is an authentic art & cultural experience unique to Washington, DC, which allows visitors to get to know the District’s own local talent.

My personal favorite galleries include the Studio Gallery, Burton Marinkovich Fine Art and the Hillyer Art Space.

Housed in an beautiful townhouse, the Studio Gallery includes two light-filled rooms and a sculpture-garden in the back. This Friday, I enjoyed a moving exhibition titled Rituals, which captured the religious, personal, and sacred rituals that human beings invest and participate in everyday life.

One artist from Rituals that spoke to me was Sally Kauffman. Her work played with the concept of figures- where concrete forms meet the abstract. I loved her use of vibrant colors and her bold strokes. She depicted different bathing rituals, dinner parties and political protests. I loved her piece titled Nasty Women, which depicts the Women’s March on Washington.

Although Burton Marinkovich Fine Art is a small space, I love the vintage atmosphere, with antiques and stacks of books everywhere. As quoted by Andrea Marinkovich, she describes the space as “kind of messy, with the atmosphere of maybe a professor’s office or research library”.

Alexandra Chiou, Infinite Worlds

Located in a back alley, the Hillyer Art Space is one of the hottest contemporary galleries in Washington, DC. The Hillyer is known for showcasing the work of underexposed emerging artists, which I love to see! This Friday, I particularly enjoyed the Create/Change exhibit which featured work from a variety of artists who examined the role of an artist as a citizen. Many of the artistic pieces on display critiqued American society and politics, making me feel raw afterwards.

Many also found Alexandra Chiou’s solo exhibit at the Hillyer, titled Infinite Worlds, intriguing. Most of her work is inspired by her love for the outdoors, and Infinite Worlds is no exception. She wanted to explore through art the contrasts often exhibited in nature: light & dark, dessert & water, fertility & death.

Every Dupont Gallery walk is on the first Friday of the month, so make sure not to miss the next one!


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