Blair Murphy_Image for Press_Copyright Karen Ruckman


























April 15 – May 6, 2017
Reception: Friday, April 21 from 6-8pm

WASINGTON, DC – CulturalDC is pleased to present Footprint aka the Lansburgh’s Notebook from April 15 through May 6 at Flashpoint Gallery. The exhibition, curated by Blair Murphy, brings together photographs and other documentation to celebrate past arts spaces in downtown Washington, DC.

“Downtown is home to many artists and small arts groups, which can expect to be displaced if the area succumbs to the soul-less sterility embodied in K Street-style development. Our proposal is an attempt to spark discussion of Metrocenter development by all parties concerned, before the demolition and construction begin.”

– Richard Ridley, John Reyner, and Patrick Carey

“Paper Building,” Art Ink, Spring 1979, Published by the Museum of Temporary Art.

Footprint aka the Lansburgh’s Notebook explores the history of arts spaces in downtown DC, from the underrecognized legacy of the Museum of Temporary Art, led by Janet Schmuckal from 1974 until 1982, to the long legacy of Miya Gallery, an arts space dedicated to black art and culture run by Vernard Gray in several locations in downtown DC between 1976 and 2001. Over the last several decades, downtown DC has been home to dozens of galleries, non-profit organizations, dance companies, small theater spaces, and artist studio buildings. Nearly all of these spaces are now gone; many are also nearly forgotten. The exhibition’s title refers to The Lansburgh’s Notebook­­ ­– a trove of meeting notes, letters, contact lists, and other ephemera that document efforts to transform several floors of the Lansburgh Building into a central location for dozens of arts groups from across the city. The notebook was organized by Janet Schmuckal and can be found in the papers of the Museum of Temporary Art, contained in the Archives of American Art.

The history of arts spaces downtown is intertwined with the history of DC’s development, especially efforts by the DC Redevelopment Land Agency and the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation to redevelop large swaths of downtown DC. Smaller arts organizations benefited temporarily, gaining access to empty space at a low cost. However, as development efforts moved forward throughout the 1980s and 1990s, these small groups lost their spaces and relocated to other parts of the city, or shut down entirely. Footprint aka the Lansburgh’s Notebook begins to archive and document this history, with a focus on the physical locations occupied by artists and arts organizations in the downtown core from the early 1970s to the present day.

Image: Organizers and potential tenants of the Washington Humanities and Arts Center outside the Lansburgh Building at 7th and E streets NW, 1979. Photograph copyright Karen Ruckman.


Blair Murphy is an independent curator and cultural worker based in Washington, DC and the Managing Director of DC Arts Center. She was a Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellow of the Whitney Independent Study Program from 2014 to 2015. Her past curatorial projects include exhibitions at The Kitchen (New York, NY), Field Projects (New York, NY), Arlington Arts Center (Arlington, VA), Washington Project for the Arts (Washington, DC), VisArts Rockville (Rockville, MD), DC Arts Center (Washington, DC), and SPRING/BREAK Art Show (New York, NY). She has written for Hyperallergic, BmoreArt, and Daily Serving, among other outlets. She holds a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art and an MA from Georgetown University.


CulturalDC operates Flashpoint Gallery and produces public art interventions throughout DC. We nurture talented emerging and mid-career artists by providing opportunities for peer learning and mentorship. At Flashpoint, we showcase bold, new work from artists working in a variety of media including site-specific installations, performance pieces, new media, and other experimental forms. As a nonprofit gallery free from the constraints of commercial expectations, Flashpoint provides artists and curators a unique opportunity to take creative risks. An advisory panel of noted artists and arts professionals makes programming recommendations for the gallery and provides mentorship and support to exhibiting artists.

CulturalDC is generously supported by DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, DC Office of Planning, The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, Daimler, Washington Gas, AT&T, Busboys and Poets/Mulebone, Lockheed Martin, Menkiti Group, VOA & Associates, Bozzuto, Torti Gallas and Partners.



Exhibition Dates:
April 15, 2017 –  May 6, 2017

Friday, April 21, 2017 from 6-8pm (free and open to the public)

Luce Foundation Center Artist Talk:
Sunday, April 30, 1:30pm (free and open to the public)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Third Floor

Flashpoint Gallery Hours:
Wednesday – Saturday, 12-6pm or by appointment

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