Here we go again—-another new plan to bring exposure to the area’s art scene. But this time it’ll be different. This time it isn’t another gallery combing area colleges looking for top talent, or major art collectors investing capital in area projects. This time we won’t find artrepreneurs hosting art parties or establishing biennial come-one-come-all exhibitions. Nope! Wanna learn about D.C. artists? According to artist Dione Goyette, all it takes is a game of 52-card pickup.

Goyette, of Davidson, N.C., is looking for D.C. artists. She creates Art in Hands card decks, and she wants to create a D.C.-artist-themed set to be sold in area stores. She’s already made decks for Charlotte, N.C., and Portland, Ore., and Goyette says she’s shooting to release D.C. and Chicago decks by late spring next year. The intentions are good: promote area artists via environmentally friendly means (and make a buck).

But some of the featured artists don’t seem to be working with a full deck.

Charlotte and Portland, like D.C., are filled with great artists and buzzing art scenes. However, few of the works in Goyette’s sets look like anything you’d want to hang on your wall; most look like bad Dana Ellyns. So, an artist like Charlotte’s Patrick Glover gets lost in the shuffle of eye-sores. Since those initial decks were created with the aid of Craiglist ads,  larger-name artists like Charlotte’s Jamie Franki (check your nickels) completely missed the call—-or ignored it. Why might that be?

Getting D.C. artists to submit work to a project creating a deck of 52 (plus two jokers) will likely be met with consternation about the damage to professionalism and integrity. We recently saw similar objection to The Washington Post‘s “Real Art D.C.” “contest.” This is an understandable attitude, but it’s also a little disappointing. After all, how better to appreciate a Tim Tate sculpture, or a painting by Erik Thor Sandberg, than by scoring a trick in a game of euchre? OK, there are better ways, but humor me for a minute. Major museums aren’t worried about the integrity of a work of art when it is reduced to fit a mouse pad, T-shirt, post card, or coffee mug, so why should artists working hand-over-fist have that concern? If the public won’t fill a museum—-except to see Norman Rockwell—-then maybe we can fill their eyes with art every time they try for a full house.

If egos can be cast aside, now’s a time for the best of D.C artists to step up. Otherwise, we might be represented by a dreck of cards.

Interested artists can submit work to info@artinhandcards.com, along with a short bio and link to a website of work before Nov. 26. Include “Washington, DC Project Artist” in the subject line of the e-mail.