So you want to be a famous artist? You could have beenfor just $100. Some folks paid that much for tickets to the District of Columbia Arts Center’s recent annual fundraising raffle. The winner, Lee Butler, will get the chance to curate a six-week exhibit at the center, filling its Adams Morgan space with anything he wants as his prize for aiding the arts. “The one thing that doesn’t cost us anything is the space,” explains DCAC Executive Director B. Stanley. “Why not raffle it off?” Unfortunately, competition wasn’t exactly fierce: This year’s winning ticket was pulled from a jar holding the names of exactly six other hopefuls. “It hasn’t really caught on like we wanted it to,” admits Stanley. “We say we won’t sell more than 100 tickets, but we’ve never sold more than seven.”
In the raffle’s previous three years, only full-time artists have won the privilege of mounting a showlast year’s five-person winning team featured local painters Manon Cleary and Jo Rango. Butler, however, only does watercolor, chalk, and charcoal on the side. “I’d been making some efforts toward showing some work in one or another venue over the past year,” he says. “If this had not come up, it might have been a friend’s bookstore….I still haven’t made a decision as to whether I’m ready for a solo show. I have some friends who are doing some interesting work, and if I don’t feel ready for a solo show I can put something exciting together and give some others some visibility.” Butler’s got some time to decide: Raffle winners’ shows typically go up a year after their ticket is drawn.Michael Schaffer
DCAC’s exhibit by last year’s winners opens Friday, Dec. 11.