2019 was a year of connections and collaborations. Thanks to the fantastic DC artists who organized our programs, we met designers, filmmakers, musicians, scientists, visual artists, and writers from around the United States. They gathered at WPA for concerts, workshops, screenings, lectures, dinners, and exhibitions. They kayaked with us down the Potomac River, slurped beer in the dark at Suns Cinema, wheat-pasted anti-gentrification posters around DC, and created a weather-dance in the National Academy of Sciences' Great Hall. 

Here is a glimpse back on the year and a celebration of the many people and organizations who collaborated with us.

January 25-March 23, 2019
VAULTE X-XII: A conceptual project examining design's relationship to capitalism
Organized by Christian Dutilh and Jacob Weinzettel/Composite Co.

Including contributions by photographer Alex Blouin, musician Cautious Clay, photographers Ryan Duffin and Daniel Everett, creative director Joel Evey, fashion curator Joelle Firzli, MoMA Design Director Rob Giampietro, designer Francois Girard-Meunier, designer Silvio Lorusso, designer Maria Muuk, architect and writer Jack Self, graphic designer Sally Thurer, phantom curatorial agency Triple Candie, and designers Rachael Yaeger & Hugh Francis

VAULTE X-XII was a conceptual project that took the form of a hype fashion brand, website, store, publication, and discussion series. It examined branding's role in glamorizing the consumption of otherwise uninteresting products. The flagship store hosted performances, lectures, and discussions surrounding commerce, consumerism, labor, design, and fashion. VAULTE Magazine was launched in February 2019 at an in-store event and served as the project's research arm. The project was conceived by the directors of Composite Co., a creative agency.

March 7-9, 2019
Every Hole, a Portal: Films by Madsen Minax
Organized by Eames Armstrong

Including contributions by independent curator and documentary filmmaker Dawn Langford, photographer Farrah Skeiky, and Suns Cinema

Over three nights, artist Eames Armstrong introduced DC to the work of Brooklyn-based experimental filmmaker Madsen Minax. Using nonlinear narratives, his films explore hidden networks of interconnectedness that are subtly informed by the artist's activism work. The project kicked off with a feature-length film at the Mount Pleasant indie theater, Suns Cinema, followed the next night by a dinner at WPA with special guests from the DC film community. The third evening presented Minax's short films and a panel discussion with the artist. 

April 13-June 22, 2019
Hedonist Buddhist
Organized by Joseph Orzal/NomuNomu

Including contributions by artists Amna Asgar, Eliseo Angel Casiano, Demian DineYazhi, PLAKOOKEE, PJ Gubatina Policarpio, Sheida Soleimani, April Steele, Renee Stout, and Monsieur Zohore, as well as musician and organizer Jamal Gray, music collective P0STB1NARY, hip-hop/electronic duo Tech Yes, collaborative duo Thraxx King, and civil rights attorney Ari Theresa

Hedonist Buddhist transformed a fashion boutique (located on the ground floor of the building that launched the #DontmuteDC protests) into a solution-oriented community space to provide sanctuary for people feeling the consumptive pressures of gentrification, the loss of cultural connection, and the inevitability of displacement. On the walls, artists presented works related to their respective histories and the imposition of this class-based racialized hierarchy. Shelves running the perimeter housed a collection of books elaborating these fraught histories. Throughout the run of the project, the space was activated through screenprinting and wheat-pasting workshops, talks on decolonizing strategies in curating, BlackLivesMatter meetings, and legal discussions on the relationship of zoning and gentrification. The project concluded with a three-day Go-Go music marathon.

July 18-August 17, 2019
There Are No Shadows Here: The Perfect Moment at 30
Organized by Tiona Nekkia McClodden

Including contributions by photographer George Dureau, curator and art historian Alex Fialho, art historian Mia Kang, curator and photography scholar Oluremi C. Onabanjo, and photographer D'Angelo Lovell Wiliams

This project, conceived on the 30th anniversary of the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition The Perfect Moment, considered the impact Robert Mapplethorpe's work and legacy had on the work of other queer artists during the height of the AIDS epidemic. It consisted of an exhibition and a multi-day symposium. While the project was on view, Tiona Nekkia McClodden won the Whitney Museum of American Art's Bucksbaum Award. The jury statement read: "As a writer, curator, event organiser, and speaker, she has generously shone a light on under-recognized histories and championed members of her community in a way that expands how we think about the work of an artist today."

September 13-November 23, 2019
NATURA NATURANS: Six Weekends of Talks and Workshops on the Anthropocene
Organized by Anne-Sophie Coiffet/Tropism

Including contributions by Anacostia Riverkeeper, Atlantic Kayak Company, environmental attorney Alicia Cate, poet CA Conrad, Dance Exchange, meteorologist/comedian Tom Di Liberto, choreographer Margot Greenlee, acoustic anthropologist Gordon Hempton, artist Raina Martens, biologist Arnaud Martin, astronomer Kevin Marvel, attorney Steven Mirmina, National Academy of Sciences, activist Ben Price, microbial biologist Ana Sosa, ecological anthropologist Glenn Davis Stone, environmental scientist Kimberly Warner

NATURA NATURANS was an artist-driven educational experiment that consisted of lectures, workshops, field trips, and an exhibition exploring our changing understanding of nature in the Anthropocene. Curated by the artist Anne-Sophie Coiffet, who divides her time between DC and Paris, where she runs an art-science collaborative called Tropism, this project examined topics as varied and interrelated as the co-mingling of natural and human objects and systems, securing legal status for ecosystems, silent places and acoustical trash, genetically modified crops and butterflies, space junk and oceanic micro-plastic, and more. 

To the Other Artists We Worked With in 2019...

We worked with an additional 170 artists in one way or another in 2019—many exhibited in our benefit events. Thank you to Ebtisam Abdulaziz, Kristin Adair, Farnoosh Ahmadi Shirazi, John James Anderson, John Aquilino, Alexandra Arata, Stephanie Archie, Sandra N. Arkin, Eames Armstrong, Mary Anne Arnitzen, Selin Balci, David Barr, Kyle J. Bauer, Mary Baum, Joan Belmer, Stephen Benedicto, Erick Antonio Benitez, Wesley Berg, Julia Bloom, Tommy Bobo, Chris Bohner, Madison E. Bolls, Lori Anne Boocks, Michael A. Booker, Anthony J. Bowers, Nakeya Brown, Gerardo Camargo, Florencio Lennox Campello, Sally Canzoneri, David Carlson, Héctor Cataño, Hsin-Hsin Chen, Natalie Cheung, Bevil Conway, Larry Cook, Kyrae Dawaun Cowan, Jacqui Crocetta, Michael Crossett, Emily Cucalon, Markele Donial Cullins, Andrea Cybyk, Frank Hallam Day, John Deardourff, Kim DiDonato, Lisa Dillin, Monique “Muse” Dodd, Sean Donlon, Katherine Doyle, Joshua Dunn, Alexis Duque, Mary Early, Dave Eassa, Alex Ebstein, Pam Eichner, Edgar Endress, CinCin Fang, Nico Fertakis, Amy Elayne Finkelstein, Lloyd Foster, Katie Garth, Roxana Alger Geffen, Alexis Gomez, Janis Goodman, Deborah R. Grayson, Julie Gross, Rachel Guardiola, Christopher Hanessian, Michael Hansmann, Stephen Hendee, David Hess, Mark Hill, Andrew Hladky, Jessica Maria Hopkins, Timothy J. Horjus, Michael Horsely, Linda Hosek, Susan Hostetler, Erik Hougen, James Huckenpahler, Sarah J. Hull, Michael Dax Iacovone, Andrew Ilachinski, Sarah Jamison, Barbara Januszkiewicz, Molly Johnson, Wayson R. Jones, Greg Kahn, Henrik Kam, Zofie King, Sam Kittner, Joan Bright Konkel, Craig Kraft, Gary A. Kret, Chee Keong Kung, Nate Larson, Magnolia W. Laurie, Khanh H. Le, Andrea Limauro, Kim Llerena, Johanna Lofstrom, Timothy Makepeace, Tsedaye Makonnen, John Malis, Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann, Todd D. Martin, Dwayne Eugene Martin, Jeannette May, Antonio McAfee, Lindsay McCulloch, Donna M. McCullough, Nat Meade, Veronica Melendez, Linn Meyers, Maggie Michael, Greg Minah, Tyra Mitchell, Goitseone Botlhale Moerane, Jonathan Monaghan, Michele Montalbano, Paolo Morales, Rashad Ali Muhammad, Ali Newhard, Lisa Armstrong Noble, Lee Nowell-Wilson, Janet Olney, Joel Onorato, Christos J. Palios, Kristina Penhoet, Devon Perkins, Matt Pinney, Rodrigo Pradel, Caitlin Teal Price, Nick Conrad Primo, Susana Raab, Atousa Raissyan, Amber Robles-Gordon, Matthew Rohr, Kate Sable, Nicole Salimbene, Kim Khouan Khong Sandara, Josh Sender, Bushra Shamma, Leslie Shellow, Joseph Shetler, Alexandra Silverthorne, Marc Sirinsky, Alan Sislen, Anne Smith, Lancia Soans, Molly Springfield, Susan Stacks, Dafna Steinberg, Dan Steinhilber, Lexey Swall, Mark Thomas Stockton, Cindy Stockton Moore, Monica B. Stroik, Martin Swift, Rob Tarbell, Trish L. Tillman, Richard Tuttle, Steve Wanna, Julie Wills, Dawn Whitmore, Rives Wiley, Stpehanie Williams, Jordann Whitney Wine, Colin Winterbottom, Andrew Wohl, Sue Wrbican, Ellen (Jing) Xu, Fabiola Alvarez Yurcisin, and Helen Zughaib

In Appreciation of our Major Funders

To the government agencies, private foundations, and corporations that financially supported our programs in 2019, thank you. In a city with limited arts funding, you are providing an essential service and we wouldn’t exist without you. Our major supporters include DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Bloomberg Philanthropies; The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; Hickok Cole Architects; MRP Realty; and White & Case; among others.

About WPA's New Artist-Driven Model

WPA recognizes that artists are increasingly collaborating across boundaries and borders to build community and shape discourse. We are interested in facilitating these collaborations through our artist-driven program model. 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.

Make a Donation to the Annual Fund

Want to make a last-minute donation to WPA's annual fund? You can donate here. Donations are fully tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law. Funds will be used for artist stipends and artist travel.

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December 20, 2019