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State of the Union already has an ironclad rep for showcasing the city’s best musicians. Lately it has been expanding this philosophy to include the visual arts with a series of exhibits called “State of the Art.” So now you can do the art-opening thing right on U Street without ever leaving the bar. Let that cultured feeling suffuse your being as you peruse work by locals such as sculptor/designer Scott Tucker, painter Matthew Willey, and photographer Alexandra Epps. Put your liberal arts degree to use by making comments like “reminds me of early Kandinsky.” Acid jazz tunes will be playing in the background, followed by the real thing when the Peter Fraize Trio plays at 10 p.m. But if you really want to be part of the exhibit-hopping jet set, you’ll show up early for the free appetizers. From 5-10 p.m. at State of the Union, 1357 U St. NW. FREE. (202) 588-8810. (Holly Bass)