Washington Project for the Arts (WPA) is pleased to announce SHELDON FOR DC, a public art performance directed by the artist Sheldon Scott. The citywide performance revolves around the campaign of a candidate -- referred to simply as "Sheldon" and played by a half-dozen actors -- who is running to become DC's first Minister of Culture. It will unfold over the next two months in the form of rallies, door-to-door campaigning, meet-the-candidate social events, and an 8-Ward whistle-stop tour.

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“This is a campaign with a real agenda, which is, simply put, about putting artists first in the policies that impact our city’s culture,” says Peter Nesbett, WPA’s executive director and Sheldon’s Campaign Manager. “That is why it is so well aligned with WPA’s interests. It doesn’t much matter that the office of Minister of Culture doesn’t yet exist.” 

SHELDON FOR DC promises a brighter, more creative future for DC. The campaign seeks to unite and rally hundreds of actors, artists, dancers, designers, musicians, and writers into a potent, vocal, political force. If it achieves this, SHELDON FOR DC could become a movement, with a life that extends well beyond this election cycle. If it doesn't, it will be understood, retrospectively, as an episodic piece of performance art.

The campaign kicks off with a rally at The Big Chair in Anacostia on Saturday, September 17, from12:00 to 1:00 p.m. Additional events can be found on the campaign website at www.sheldon4dc.org.

Situating a project like SHELDON FOR DC within the history of art is not a particularly easy task. Few visual artists have held political office in the U.S. since the painter George Caleb Bingham was elected to the Missouri legislature in 1848. Ad Reinhardt famously ran and lost in the race for New York City mayor in the 1930s, as did Patrick Brill (aka Bob & Roberta Smith), who ran for Parliament in London in 2014. But this project, with its fictitious basis, obviously isn't about winning or losing an election. Instead, it is about mobilizing a constituency. It is about listening and giving voice to DC's artist community, imagining a city where artists have a seat at the table in local government and cultural planning, and forging a vision for DC culture in the future.

For that reason, WPA is complementing the campaign-performance with events that reflect on the relationship of art and politics.

About the Artist

Sheldon Scott, a native of Pawley’s Island, SC, received his B.S. in Psychology from Francis Marion University in Florence, SC. He began his career in Social Work as a Unit Director for the Boys & Girls Club of Horry County, SC. Upon moving to the Washington DC area, he joined a private practice, specializing in Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Sex-Offender treatment at Northern Virginia Counseling Group.

After years as a practicing Psychotherapist, he began a creative life as a Storyteller, Artist, Actor, and Writer in 2005. He has since performed four sold-out solo storytelling shows in the Capital Fringe Theatre Festival and various venues including Busboys & Poets, and the Hirshhorn Museum. He has exhibited his Fine-Arts and Performance Art works at (e)merge art fair, WPA Select Auction, Arlington Arts Center, Delaware State University and Art Miami. He is represented by ConnerSmith Contemporary Gallery for his Fine-Art work. His upcoming book project, a memoir, “Shrimp & Griots”, is based on his storytelling narratives of the same name. Howard Yoon of Ross & Yoon Literary Agency represents Scott’s written works.

Sheldon recently worked as the Chief Marketing Officer and Director Of Operations of ESL Management Group, which includes such restaurants and bars as Marvin, The Gibson, Patty Boom Boom, Den of Thieves, Chez Billy and The Brixton et. al. He also served as the District of Columbia’s Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner of Single-Member District 1A03 (2010-2012) in Columbia Heights, and sits on the boards of transformer, the Youth Pride Alliance, Teaching For Change and StepAfrika.

Supporters

Funded in part by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Major support for WPA comes from its members, Board of Directors, invaluable volunteers, and by generous contributions from numerous individuals, The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Artery Capital, Susan and Dixon Butler, DAVIS Construction, Delucchi Plus, Ditto Residential, Forest City, Nadine Gabai-Botero & Luis Botero, Raymond Garcia, Sam Gilliam, Hickok Cole Architects, Eric Hilton, The JBG Companies, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Yvette Kraft, Marshfield Associates, Sophia McCrocklin & Bill Isaacson, MRP Realty, Georgia and John Nassikas, NoMa Business Improvement District, Frederick P. Ognibene, M.D., Alison and William C. Paley, ripe, Judy & Andrew J. Sherman, Shinola, Shelley Singer & Michael Gross, Amanda & Earl W. Stafford, Kim & Timothy Ward, William S. Paley Foundation, and Winmar Construction.

Dates

September 17 - November 15, 2016

Location

Washington Project for the Arts
2124 8th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001