D.C.’s guerrilla artist community is setting up yet another outpost: kultur kompassa free, online artists’ registry launching in early October. The registry is an offshoot of vox pop kultur, a culture-promotion machine started by George Orozco-Cordero in 1995 that runs a Web site, a monthly art show, and an arts propaganda ‘zine called blurt.
Every third Thursday for the past two years, vox pop kultur has been holding its monthly soiree, called Studio Hoi Polloia one-night gallery show of local artists in solo or group shows. If you go, you can’t miss Karen Crain, a blond-streaked brunette wearing Catwoman eyeglasses and a thrift-store frock, who moonlights as the kultur kompass navigatrix and Studio Hoi Polloi’s hostess. Crain, who works as a paralegal by day, tries to bring her native New Orleans taste for melodrama to the District: “Art openings in New Orleans are an occasion,” she insists. “They run ’til midnight, and people get dressed up. We need that in D.C.”
Crain and Orozco-Cordero, a 30-year-old psychologist and self-described “art junkie,” consider vox pop kultur an alternative to the perceived elitism in the D.C. arts community. For kultur kompass, the group hopes to squeeze creative juices from Baltimore to Richmond by assembling artists’ Web pages that can be sorted by region or media, giving gallery owners, curators, and the public online access to local art. Since July, Crain and Orozco-Cordero have shipped thousands of call-for-submissions fliers to record stores and coffee shops throughout the mid-Atlantic.
They envision their new Web site as a populist alternative to the high-minded WPA/Corcoran slide registry. “You physically have to go downtown to the Corcoran to check out [their registry],” explains Orozco-Cordero. “You have to find parking, go inside, sit down. It takes a whole day to do.” Not good for armchair arts lovers. With kultur kompass, they’ll be able to get their art without ever doffing their bathrobes. Now that’s cultural progress.Jessica Dawson
vox pop kultur’s Web site is www.voxpopkultur.com. Submission forms, due Aug. 21, are available from Karen Crain at (202) 362-7749 or email@example.com.