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Maybe you snagged some cotton candy or an iced tea from a tuxedoed vendor outside the Walter E. Washington Convention Center during your lunch break today. The DC Commission on the Arts and the Washington Convention and Sports Authority brought in the free snacks as they announced the launch of the second phase of “Windows into DC,” a pop-up arts project in the vacant retail spaces of the convention center.
This year’s “Windows” project is significantly expanded from last year’s inaugural event. In addition to the art-infused storefronts, the convention center will anchor the Arts on N Street Pop-Up Art Market, to take place the next two weekends, August 7-8, and 14-15. It’s also the site of an “arts incubator,” a work space where artists can come to collaborate with each other which also houses work for sale by local artists.
Artists with works on display include Shanye Huang, who recently exhibited at Brentwood Arts Exchange; and Sondra Arkin, whose pastel series pieces are individually priced at $200—quite the bargain considering her works normally go for thousands. If $200 still sounds steep, Denee Barr’s silver gelatin prints go for $10 a pop.
The arts incubator was established with the intent that it will be a place where artists can start growing their businesses. “We want to help artists understand that they are businesses,” said Gloria Nauden, executive director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.
Of course, the reason why the space for the arts incubator and the pop-up windows is the absence of more traditional businesses. “Certainly at the end of the day, our goal is to see all these retail stores rented out,” said Jack Evans, Ward 2 Councilmember.
It seems unlikely that goal will be accomplished in the near future, allowing for further “Windows” projects. “This is only the second phase, and I promise you we’ll do more,” said Greg O’Dell, president and CEO of Washington Convention and Sports Authority. Nauden agreed. “I definitely see phases three, four, five, and infinitely,” she said.
Photo: Anne Marchand