Happy 45th Anniversary to WPA!

Dear Friends,

This year marks WPA’s 45th anniversary, and this is the celebration we need right now: an imaginary parade uniting WPA’s past and present contributors with today’s artists.

We’re on a journey to an exciting future, and I hope you will join us!

WPA was founded in 1975. A lot has happened since then, and our unique artist-driven program model is proving its value. Today, artists curate all of our exhibitions, performances, and screenings. They organize panel discussions, lectures, workshops, and field trips. They edit publications. They participate in our Wherewithal Grant panels. In the near future, they will create an annual symposium, curate the WPA library, and lead an artist-patron group.

Artists have never been more central to WPA’s work than they are now.

This summer, 45 artists from WPA’s past joined our imaginary parade, selling works in our High Frequency auction to raise money for artist honorariums and project expenses. We’re honored to list these artists below, and look forward to spotlighting many of them on @wpadc Instagram over the next few weeks.

Artists cannot exist without dedicated patrons.

Today I’m inviting you to join these artists in support of WPA’s 45th anniversary with a special year-end gift (donate here). Your annual contribution enables WPA to present the meaningful projects that we are so proud of, and to continue the important work of advocating for and supporting DC’s artist community.

We would be honored to add your name to the list of 45th anniversary supporters that we will publish at the end of the year. In gratitude, we will also reserve for you an exclusive 45th anniversary commemorative poster, which we can send to your home, or hold at our gallery space for you to pick up along with a special floral surprise.

Thank you again. Your support means so much to us, and we are glad to have you as part of the WPA family.


Peter Nesbett
Executive Director

Driven by Artists

WPA recognizes that artists are increasingly collaborating across boundaries and borders to build community and shape discourse. We define artist-driven as an institutional practice of making space for artists to pitch and organize collaborative experiments; providing artists with the opportunity to expand their practices without absorbing financial burdens or capacity barriers. 

 “I’ve worked with so many institutions here in the U.S. and abroad, and you remember your experiences, and this experience not only has been super-positive, it has been mind-blowing to interact with an organization that took the weight of this project, knowing it would take a lot of work, and they were able to run with it, with me." —Tsedaye Makonnen, artist

“WPA truly invests in the artists and their projects, especially in comparison to other organizations. It is rare to work with an art institution that walks with you every step of the project. The critiques and check-ins truly stood out to both of us, something that is rare outside of academia. Also, most organizations unfortunately don’t pay as well as WPA. We are grateful that WPA understands artists must be compensated fairly for their time, labor, ideas, and execution.” —Antonius Bui, artist

“With its long history, WPA has been able to bring DC back into the larger national dialogue of contemporary art and is quickly becoming the most influential art space in our city.” —Joseph Orzal, artist

45 Artists for 45 Years

Washington Project for the Arts has had the privilege of working with some extraordinary artists over the years. We celebrate the occasion of our 45th anniversary with the support of a select 45 of these artists — one for each year. We are grateful for the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and while making new ones.  

1975 Maida Withers | 1976 Bettie Ringma and Marc H. Miller | 1977 Vitaly Komar | 1978 Liz Lerman | 1979 Simone Forti | 1980 Joyce Scott | 1981 Nic Nicosia | 1982 Muntadas | 1983 Martha Jackson Jarvis | 1984 Jeff Spaulding | 1985 Julie Ault | 1986 Haim Steinbach | 1987 Ida Applebroog | 1988 Jim Goldberg | 1990 Pat Ward Williams | 1991 Fred Wilson | 1992 Sherman Fleming | 1993 John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres | 1994 Joseph Grigely | 1995 Mark Bennett | 1996 Alberto Gaitan | 1997 Lely Constantinople | 1998 Robin Rose | 1999 Ken Ashton | 2000 Stephen Vitiello | 2001 James Huckenpahler | 2002 Maggie Michael |2003 Sheila Crider | 2004 Tim Tate | 2005 Frank Warren |2006 Kelly Towles | 2007 Kathryn Cornelius | 2008 Martin Creed | 2009 Jonathan Monaghan | 2010 Natalie Cheung |2011 Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann | 2012 Ghana ThinkTank | 2013 Magnolia Laurie | 2014 Kate Gilmore | 2015 Dan Steinhilber | 2016 Sheldon Scott | 2017 Sara Dittrich | 2018 Linn Meyers | 2019 Joseph Orzal 

Contributions by these artists were made possible in part by a long list of dedicated patrons over WPA’s 45-year history. Join them by donating today!

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November 19, 2020