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April 28, 2016

BisNow (Picture)
Source Festival!

Over 30 people enjoyed the wonderful weather Sunday at the 2016 Source Festival Salon, presented by CulturalDC and hosted by Olwen and Don Pongrace (Akin Gump). Here, CulturalDC board chair and Bank of America’s Maurice Perry, Source Festival associate producer Lee Cromwell, and CulturalDC board member and the salon’s host, Olwen Pongrace.




Saturday Volunteer Gallery Assistants

Saturday Volunteer Gallery Assistants

CulturalDC is seeking Volunteer Gallery Assistants to oversee Flashpoint Gallery on Saturdays this summer (May-August).

  • Volunteer Gallery Assistants are tasked with opening/closing the gallery, greeting visitors and providing basic information about exhibitions and artists.
  • Volunteers have access to wireless internet and a desktop computer and are welcome to bring their own laptop, textbooks, etc. for personal work.
  • For those seeking academic credit or work experience, special projects in areas such as Development, Marketing or research may be created with CulturalDC staff.
  • Time commitment: An average availability of two Saturdays/month from 12-6pm over the summer months (May – August) is preferred.

Flashpoint Gallery presents the work of emerging and mid-career artists in a range of disciplines. The exhibition program supports bold ideas and new directions with exhibitions rotating every five weeks.

More information here:

Please send resume and direct questions to If selected for an interview, candidates will be asked to provide list of available Saturdays this summer.


At Flashpoint Gallery, Pondering Grief Through Fragile Photography



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At Flashpoint Gallery, Pondering Grief Through Fragile Photography

Ham inset

In her multimedia exhibit “Sound of Butterfly,” D.C.-based artist Soomin Ham ingeniously blends form with theme.

Her Flashpoint Gallery exhibit dwells on themes of grief and loss, specifically Ham’s loss of her mother. She channeled her heartache by sifting through her mother’s possessions and photographing them. The items themselves are prosaic–articles of clothing, a watch, bottles of pills, even her mother’s fingerprint on a jar. Other images depict scenes with special meaning for Ham, such as the highway turnoff sign for the memorial park where her mother was laid to rest.

It’s Ham’s artistic treatment that makes them exceptional.

In one series consisting of more than two dozen square images, Ham starts with a photograph of one of her mother’s possessions, then freezes it in a layer of ice before re-photographing it. The resulting work both deadens the clarity of the image and adds a sprinkling of air bubbles around the edges, producing something almost mystical.

A second series is even more engrossing. It consists of a dozen reproductions of old family photos–vacations, weddings, group portraits. Ham scanned these images, printed them on rice paper, left them in water, then washed and dried them repeatedly until the images became murky. Then she left them out in the falling snow and photographed them again when they were almost covered.

The resulting images are visually stunning–the complex process dulls individuals’ faces to blankness and turns panoramic views into indistinct, pictorial fantasies seemingly photographed using 19th century paper negatives.

What gives these works added power, though, is the idea that they have been defined as artworks by something as ephemeral as snow or ice. The result is as eloquent as it is elegiac.

Through April 30 at Flashpoint Gallery, 916 G St. NW. Wed-Sat 12 p.m.-6 p.m




Brian Davis: TRY AND TRY AGAIN at CulturalDC’s Flashpoint Gallery May 7-June 4, 2016


April 20, 2016
Contact: John Richards

May 7 – June 4, 2016
Opening reception: Friday, May 6 (6-8pm)

WASHINGTON, DC – CulturalDC is pleased to present Try and Try Again, an experiment in sculptural systems by Brian Davis from May 7 – June 4, 2016, at Flashpoint Gallery. Davis has spent the good part of a decade exploring ways of using objects and environments to forge a connection between individuals. For his first exhibition at Flashpoint, he shifts focus, using the gallery space to examine the act of artistic production and the generation (and regeneration) of ideas.

Using a ping pong ball as a metaphor for a kernel of an idea, bits of inspiration come from the heavens – in this case, ejected from a video skyscape, only to litter the gallery until they are recycled for another attempt. As the work fills the space, visitors (under no obligation) may intercept, ignore or facilitate the system. Anyone may clear the scattered pieces using a broom and a Shop-Vac mechanism, reintroducing the precipitate into the structure bit by bit.

BRIAN DAVIS is a sculptor and multimedia artist based in Washington, D.C.  Born in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, Davis was raised in Guam and South Carolina. He teaches New Media and Sculpture at The George Washington University and Montgomery College. Davis has a B.F.A in General Studio from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC and an M.F.A in Sculpture from the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. His works, including sculptures, videos, and installations, have been exhibited in venues from New York to Florida, including a recent solo exhibition at VisArts in Rockville, MD and an upcoming installation in the 2016 Arts in Foggy Bottom Outdoor Sculpture Biennial. Davis was also a resident artist at Artisphere in Arlington, Virginia in 2015.

CulturalDC operates Flashpoint 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 Gallery, 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 The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, The Community Foundation for the National Capitol Region, Daimler, The National Endowment for the Arts, Microsoft, Washington Gas, Weissberg Foundation,  Altria, Anonymous, Busboys and Poets/Eatonville, Hank & Carol Goldberg, Lockheed Martin, Menkiti Group, Prince Charitable Trusts, Stephen Stein and VOA Associates.

Brian Davis: Try and Try Again

Opening Reception:
Friday, May 6, 2016, from 6-8pm (free and open to the public) 

Exhibition Dates:
May 7 – June 4, 2016 

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

Luce Foundation Center artist talk:
Saturday, May 7, 1:30pm
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Third Floor

Artist Website:

Visit the CulturalDC website at and follow CulturalDC on social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) for updates on this and all of our exciting projects.


General: 202.315.1305 • Press: 202.315.1322 • Fax: 202.315.1303 • Email:
CulturalDC • 916 G St, NW • Washington, DC 20001


Annalisa Dias’ One Word More at Flashpoint (review)


DC Theatre Scene (Logo)
Annalisa Dias’ One Word More at Flashpoint (review)
April 11, 2016 by

Before Prospero, Miranda, Ferdinand, and even Caliban…there was Sycorax. In One Word More, writer and performer Annalisa Dias offers a bold, mind-bending vision of Shakespeare’s The Tempest that stretches from the remote desert island all the way to the American frontier.

 Dias, director Bridget Grace Sheaff, and their ambitious creative team have turned back the clock to when Prospero first crashed, confused and afraid, on the storied island ruled by the powerful Sycorax. In Shakespeare’s text, Sycorax is never seen and merely referenced as a cruel and dangerous witch. In One Word More, Dias transforms her into a sympathetic centerpiece and reverts Prospero to a disembodied voiceover. From this novel angle, Dias’ examines the colonialism, patriarchy, and native erasure that have followed Western explorers for centuries. Interestingly enough, her biggest scorn is reserved for American pioneers Lewis and Clark.

Annalisa Dias performing One Word More

Dias blends her imagined encounters between Sycorax and Prospero with verbatim readings from Lewis and Clark’s shocking expedition journals. The explorers’ xenophobic insights on first contact with Native Americans force the audience to confront the uncomfortable implications of Prospero’s rule. By the start of The Tempest, the Milanese Duke has simply overthrown or enslaved the natives, and Sycorax is nowhere to be found. Her son Caliban is treated as an outcast and villain by the virtuous Western leads. If nothing else, Dias’ thought experiment exposes an uncomfortable imperialist through-line bridging 17th Century England and 19th Century America.

We talk with Annalisa Dias

The confident Dias has no trouble commanding the stage alone for 60 uninterrupted minutes. In her troubled historian role, she alternates between dry academic humor and growing unease at Lewis and Clark’s racist, sexist musings. As Sycorax, she stalks the dirt-covered Mead Theatre Lab stage waging emotional and physical battle with the strengthening Prospero.

The quick transitions between writing studio, American frontier, and remote island can be confusing – the show works best when Dias has time to really dig into a particular scene without interruption. The only pieces that just don’t work are two dance sections where she seeks to imitate a mighty storm, but instead looks more like she’s caught inside a wind-tossed garbage bag.

April 8 – 30
Mead Theatre Lab
Flashpoint Gallery
916 G Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Tickets: $20

The production’s most clever trick is creating a convincing likeness of Prospero onstage with only voiceover and an assortment of broken statues. Sculptor Brian Fernandes-Halloran employs a variety of materials and styles to create a graveyard of parts collectively representing the stranded Duke. With help from the well-timed sound and lighting work by designers DeLesslin George-Warren and E-hui Woo, the statues channel Prospero with a surprising degree of realism.

One Word More follows Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead’s lead by tracking minor Shakespearean characters in the space between pages to ask tough questions about life and shared experience. Dias and company turn the “great explorer” mythos of Prospero and Lewis & Clark on its head and slowly restore stolen agency to Sycorax, Caliban, and Native Americans – one performance at a time.

One Word More:

Writer and Performer: Annalisa Dias
Director: Bridget Grace Sheaff
Costume Designer: Tori Boutin
Sound Designer: DeLesslin George-Warren
Lighting Designer: E-hui Woo
Sculpture Artist: Brian Fernandes-Halloran
Stage Manager: Amanda Zeitler
Production Support: CulturalDC





The Washington City Paper 2016 Best of D.C. winners have been announced, and CulturalDC is thrilled that the excellent work by Arts Walk at Monroe Street Market artists and residents at Source have been recognized.  #WeMakeSpaceForArt:

Arts Walk at Monroe Street Market Artist – Best Commercial Art Gallery 2016:

Arts Walk at Monroe Street Market Artist – Best Local Crafter 2016:

*RUNNER-UP – Arts Walk at Monroe Street Market Artist Kuzeh Pottery (Studio #18)

Source Theatre Resident – Best Theater Company 2016:




Annalisa Dias on How Theater Can Change the World


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Annalisa Dias on How Theater Can Change the World
April 1, 2016 by

I have yet to come across a theater artist who dreams bigger than Annalisa Dias. She has facilitated and studied theater on several continents. She has produced, directed, dramaturged, devised, designed and performed in a plethora of productions on DC stages. Not only has she done all of these things, but she has developed and is developing through her work the kind of philosophy that may alter DC’s theatrical landscape and perhaps change the world. So I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to chat with her at Busboys and Poets about social justice, capitalism, how bodies can change the world, and why a pencil may be more than just a pencil.

Annalisa Dias, theater-maker

Alan Katz: What do you do?

Annalisa Dias: I make theater. The other day a friend tried to introduce me to somebody, and he didn’t know how to say what I do. He said, “Well, she’s an actor, but she’s a playwright, but she’s a director, but…” What I say is that I make theater by any means. So, if I need to be a playwright, I’ll be a playwright. If I need to be a director, I’ll be a director. If I need to be a performer in the piece then I’ll be a performer. I’ve done scenic art. Costumes. The only things I haven’t tried to do yet are scene design and sound design. I’ve done most everything else.

AK: What are you focusing on right now?

AD: I would call it devising, but maybe creating is the best way to talk about it. And, in creating new work, I’m taking on a a few different roles: partly as performer, partly as a playwright and partly as a devising artist.

The thing that unifies my work is social justice. Everything that I do has something to say about a social injustice that I perceive in the world.

AK: So you work toward awareness? Solutions?

AD: Both. There’s never an easy solution to any systemic injustice, but I do think that you can instigate productive dialogue by making art. And it’s through dialogue in a shared space that solutions, multiple solutions, can be found.

AK: Why social justice?

AD: What do you mean?

AK: Most theater artists I know, while they might be for social justice – that’s usually not the reason that they do theater. So why social justice? 

AD: I see my training in physical theater as integrally linked to the work that I do in the [social justice-oriented] Theater of the Oppressed because the American system of training actors is so reliant on psychological realism and theStanislavski system. So much that I find that actors, broadly, not all of them, but broadly-speaking, don’t know how to use their bodies generally and specifically don’t know how to use their bodies in abstract ways to create art. It becomes all about “psychological intention,” putting the words and the text first.

I find that to be problematic societally. We are so conditioned to sit at a computer, be “productive members of a society” and output, output, output. The meaning of life is all about the things that you’re producing. And we forget that we have bodies. We sit at these computers, in front of these screens, and, although we’re connected virtually in all of these different ways, we forget that our bodies are expressive and our bodies can do things and communicate connectively.

Annalisa Dias performing One Word More

AK: What is the connection between engaging the body and social justice?

AD: Capitalist society benefits from people forgetting their embodiment and their humanity. Capitalist society relies on people becoming parts of the machine and less and less human. And I think that’s destroying the world.

So, for me, a way to combat that at a very grassroots level is to work with the body. When I work with women at  N Street Village who have never done actor training before, I get to do this introductory workshop with them where I get to see them accessing the expressiveness of their own bodies at a fundamental level. When we’re young, we play and our bodies are connected to our minds in a way that they’re not now. We forget that as we go through life and become capitalist output machines.

AK: So, for you, the separation of the mind and the body is the fundamental instrument by which social injustice is perpetuated.

AD: Yes, but there’s another layer to it. There is the problem of separation of mind and body but that then functions to allow people to separate themselves from community.

AK: How so?

AD: It allows people to envision themselves as separate from the people—the bodies—that are around them. Like all of these people in this restaurant have no effect on me because I envision myself as not related to them because I can, for example, go on my phone and connect to whatever is virtual and is not part of my embodied space.

A line in One Word More —which I stole from John Donne— is “No man is an island.” That’s fucked up.  And I hate that. I hate that we think we’re all these little islands. That we don’t have any effect on each other.

AK: So the way that you can heal or combat social injustice is bringing someone’s self, their mind, and connecting it with their body. Then connecting that now whole organism with other whole organisms. And that’s hope. So, how does that work, practically?

AD: [laughing] Sometimes it doesn’t!

If I’m the primary generative artist in a room where art is being made, I tend to delegate my authority in that room so that we’re all creating a piece of work together. In the United States, we’re very reliant on the playwright and director as authoritative figures in the artistic process. But for me as an artist, it is important to value people’s voices, value their artistic input into my work and allow the other artists to influence them as they’re generating ideas and words. We can’t exist in these little island bubbles of “I only do this one thing.”

People are so trained not to step on each others’ toes by the American theater system. We’re trained to be dictators over our own little worlds. We don’t want to trespass in the yard of another artist. People just want to do their thing and then go home. And that’s the end of that. So it’s difficult sometimes if people aren’t used to a co-creative process to, like, break out of the training. That’s the work I do in Theater of the Oppressed.

Theater of the Oppressed aims to flip traditional power structures on their heads.  In a traditional power structure in a theater space, you would have the director or the playwright who dictates what happens, then the actors follow what they say when they present a piece of work to an audience. The audience sits there and receives information from the artist. Then they go home and that’s the end of the relationship. With Theater of the Oppressed, you ask for input from both the actors and from the audience, then the director/playwright puts that into the piece of art. So it’s more about a communal process of art-making.

AK: You have a couple of different projects coming up; let’s talk about how you try to invert power structures in them.

AD: Right now, I am working at the N Street Village and doing a series of movement workshops, beginning theater workshops with women who are experiencing homelessness. In those workshops, we’re doing a combination of Theater of the Oppressed games.

AK: Give me an example of one.

AD: My favorite Theater of the Oppressed game is a game called “Homage to Magritte.” You know the painting “The Treachery of Images?”. It’s a painting of a pipe that has “This is not a pipe” written on it in French. You get to talk about the questions of, “What is reality?” “Are things what they appear to be?” and “Can they have other meanings?” Then you take an object and put it in the center of a circle where all the participants are sitting around. You ask people to pick up that object and use it in a way that shows it as something that it is not.

So, put a pencil in the middle of the room. Maybe pick up the pencil and use it as a rolling pin. You could make it into a baseball bat, or whatever your idea is. You can’t use any words or sounds. It’s just about picking up an object and using your body to show it as something other than it is.

And it’s pretty stunning to see people who aren’t asked to use the muscle of their imagination on a daily basis struggle, at the beginning, with play. Then people get the hang of it. They open up, and it’s amazing to watch people access that space of creative play. The best part is having a dialogue at the end about why is it so difficult to imagine, to really see an object as having functions other than what we were taught they had. The conversation usually turns on this: if we can’t imagine the world other than it is, then who is going to?

If I can’t imagine a world in which homelessness is not a problem, then who’s going to do that? Who is going to create that world? You have to be able to imagine the change and then enact it. Imagination is a thing that capitalist society, to go back to my apparent loathing for capitalism, teaches us not to have. We’re conditioned not to use our imagination. We’re conditioned to be part cogs of this machine. Do our thing. Go home. Watch TV. Go to bed. That’s that’s what we do. We don’t imagine the world as different. For the most part.

AK: The next thing after your N Street village classes is a play called One Word More. What is that?

AD: Briefly, it’s a reimagining of Shakespeare’s The Tempest from the perspective of Sycorax, who is the erased female voice. She never appears in The Tempest, but she’s referred to by Prospero and Caliban. We never see her body. So this piece is really an interrogation of the historical erasure of women’s voices and bodies from both society and history.

AK: How is that process?

AD: The group of folks that I’m working with are incredible. In December 2014, we did a draft workshop at Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Happenings at the Harman. That draft is about 30 minutes long and I haven’t really touched it since then.

That is our common starting place for how are we going to evolve together as artists. It’s difficult for me in a surprising way  to relinquish authority over this piece because it’s so personal for me. This piece, in its previous iteration, meant a lot to me as an artist. It was the first time that I gave myself permission to be a performer as a professional. It means a lot to me. So it has been surprisingly difficult to relinquish my authority over what the piece is, but, if we’re going to have an authentically co-creative experience, I need to be okay with allowing other artists to influence the product.

It’s scary. But at the same time, it’s exciting to me to create art that is built on relationships with people. Rather than like relationships with ideas.

AK: You create your own community, and that’s a model for how you want the rest of society to look. These are two pretty neat and pretty different projects you’ve got running.

AD: Oh, they’re not separate at all. The work that I’m doing at N Street Village is directly connected to One Word Morein that I’m hoping for two things: that some of the women who I work with will come and be part of the audience forOne Word More. And I’ve invited a couple of them to lead post-show dialogues about the erasure of women’s voices and what that means in the DC community specifically. There’s a very important and symbiotic relationship between the actual art that I’m producing and the work that I’m doing in the community, and with the Welders.

AK: Why is it important to you that they not be separate?

AD: It goes back to that idea that no man is an island. Like people, Art doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It should exist in the community. Art should be made for the community. Art needs to be part of the community. No art should be an island.

One Word More now through April 30 at CulturalDC’s Mead Theatre Lab at Flashpoint.


[The interviewer thanks Meghan Tucker-Carafano for her help in transcribing this interview.]



(((POSITION HAS BEEN FILLED))) Job Openings – Arts Consulting Project Manager


Thank you for applying for the position of Arts Consulting Project Manager. We were truly impressed with the resumes we received and the diverse pool of experienced applicants. After careful consideration, we have chosen the candidate who most closely fits our needs at this time.

We appreciate your interest in contributing to our organization’s efforts.  Please check out our job opportunities section for more opportunities with CulturalDC as they become available.




(((POSITION HAS BEEN FILLED))) Job Openings – Flashpoint Gallery Fellow


Thank you for applying for the position of Flashpoint Gallery Fellow. We were truly impressed with the resumes we received and the diverse pool of experienced applicants. After careful consideration, we have chosen the candidate who most closely fits our needs at this time.

We appreciate your interest in contributing to our organization’s efforts.  Please check out our job opportunities section for more opportunities with CulturalDC as they become available.



CulturalDC Photo By Gedalia Vera (289)

CulturalDC 2016 Spring/Summer Intern Program


CulturalDC Interns                             job announcement

CulturalDC is a nonprofit organization, founded in 1998 (as the CulturalDC), that makes space for art through its programs and services. CulturalDC’s mission is to encourage artistic innovation connecting artists, arts organizations, developers and government agencies to facilitate economic and cultural vibrancy in the District of Columbia and neighboring urban communities. We are a catalyst to and a resource for emerging arts organizations, providing them with a wide range of programs and services that support emerging artists’ ability to live and work in the city. Our work brings audiences access to affordable, innovative visual and performing art. We also provide services to developers in their creative space-making initiatives. Flashpoint, our downtown arts incubator, offers affordable space for arts presentations and mentors up-and-coming artists and organizations through residency, gallery and theatre lab programs. Source, located in the 14th Street arts corridor, is a multi-user performing arts venue equipped with administrative, rehearsal and performance spaces for resident companies and other performing arts groups in the DC area.

CulturalDC Internships offer the opportunity to work for and gain experience with an established arts service organization in the DC area. The position requires 16-20 hours/week, including some Saturdays and evenings for special events. Interns will have the opportunity to work with CulturalDC’s Staff, Board of Directors & Artists.  Each position will receive a unique opportunity to learn about the wide variety of programs and services that CulturalDC offers to area artists and arts organizations.

2016 Spring/Summer Internships are Available in the Following Departments: 

Marketing & Communications

  • Update CulturalDC website, email lists, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms
  • Assist Communications Manager in the implementation of CulturalDC’s Communications Strategy and Plan
  • Assist with the development and updating media lists and other administrative databases
  • Assist with visitor tracking, and stakeholder correspondence 


  • Participate in consulting projects related to facility and technical management
  • Assistance with set up for meetings and events
    Provide general administrative and operations support, as needed. Ex: paying bills, due dates for check requests, reimbursements and credit card reconciliations
  • Supporting routine and reactive maintenance tasks

Executive Assistant

  • Provide administrative support for Executive Director including calendar management and weekly strategic planning
  • Work on special projects as needed
  • Prepare documents for donor and prospect meetings
  • Support recurring administrative tasks
  • Support some special events including Gallery and Theatre Lab Openings  


  • College senior, graduate student or recent graduate preferred
  • Knowledge and interest in contemporary art; theatre; and arts administration
  • Ability to work independently and take initiative on projects
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills
  • Individual must be comfortable working in a cooperative environment that represents a broad range of artistic, cultural and social points of view
  • Availability for flexible work schedule, including evening events and Saturdays


Hours are flexible; however the intern must commit to 16-20 hours per week for a minimum of 8 weeks.  Start date and duration are flexible


Class Credit and Transportation Stipend Available

How to apply:

Deadline for applications: April 15, 2016
To apply, submit a resume with cover letter to:
ATTN: Intern Search-[Include position preference]
916 G Street NW, Washington, DC  20001