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The Washington Post is at it again. Last year, the paper inaugurated an initiative called Real Art D.C., something that City Paper contributor Jeffry Cudlin referred to (on his own blog, Hatchets and Skewers) as “some sort of forum/database/debasing-reality-show-type-contest for the arts community.” The contest’s terms and conditions earned criticism from both Cudlin and art blogger Lenny Campello—-because unlike a $100 WaPo photography contest for high-schoolers, Real Art D.C. offered no prizes; and because of its problematic wording regarding artists’ rights to their submitted work. Last November, after the winners were announced, I offered some more criticisms: that the contest selected too many known quantities as finalists; that too many known quantities entered the contest in the first place; that it contained too much awful micro-floral photography. But amid all the chaff—-there were about 4,000 submissions total —-I found about 50 artists whose work was interesting.
You can now submit your art to the second iteration of Real Art D.C., but this time around, things are a little different. Jennifer Lee, WaPo’s communications manager, writes that the initiative is no longer a contest, so the rules from 2010 no longer apply. So what do artists gain? Like last time, an artist might get a write-up in WaPo’s Style section. If you’re up for it, submissions go here.
And, please—-no micro-florals this year.