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Washington Project for the Arts serves as a catalyst for contemporary art. We support artists at all stages of their careers and promote contemporary art by presenting exhibitions, issues, and ideas that stimulate public dialogue on art and culture.
One of the country’s first alternative contemporary art organizations, WPA continues to be a constant force focused on presenting and celebrating the arts in Washington. Below are highlights of the organization’s 37 year history:
WPA has featured tens of thousands of artists in its exhibitions, performances, and interdisciplinary programs since 1975.
A 1989 exhibition, Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment , propelled the organization into a national debate on censorship and federal arts funding.
For over 30 years, WPA has produced an annual benefit Art Auction featuring work by prominent and emerging artists. The event features more than 100 artists in a month-long exhibition and brings together over 500 patrons with artists for a vibrant gala evening and auction.
WPA’s programs and exhibitions have served as the inspiration for a legion of other arts organizations and events such as the (e)merge art fair, Art-o-matic, Transformer, and DC Arts Center.
In 1996, WPA merged with the Corcoran Gallery of Art and promoted contemporary art in the region via the " WPA\Corcoran ." In January 2008, the two organizations formally separated and WPA now once again operates as an independent nonprofit organization.
WPA is the largest artist service and presenting organization in the region. Below is a summary of current programs and services:
Exhibitions & Programs
WPA’s small but dedicated staff produces a robust schedule of high-quality public programs and
exhibitions including highly-regarded group exhibitions and individual artist projects through the Coup d’Espace series, a visiting international curator program, and a Public Art Residency Program in partnership with the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities.
In FY2012, more than 10,000 artists and art lovers benefited from WPA shows and programs . WPA produced over 60 events and programs, including 10 exhibitions featuring works by over 250 artists .
In FY2013, we will present exhibitions and public projects in The Washington Post Company windows, the Art Museum of the Americas, Arlington Art Center, (e)merge art fair, UBS Financial Services, Hickok Cole Architects, Marvin Gaye Park, and many other venues.
Professional Development for Artists
With a growing artist membership, WPA provides much needed services for artists to expand and
professionalize their practice including free workshops on topics such as public art site planning,
conducting effective press outreach, contracts and copyrights, and 3D printing.
Services provided to WPA’s 800 artist members include a biweekly email newsletter of opportunities
and information, the bi-annual Artist Directory , expanded visibility via the ArtFile Online , valuable networking opportunities and meetings with curators and art professionals, artist talks, and so much more.
- Maureen Clyne
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