By Karen La Du
Curated by Joette James
July 1 – September 25, 2022


DC Arts Center is proud to present:


By Karen La Du
Curated by Joette James, M.A.

JULY 1 – SEPTEMBER 25, 2022

Opening Reception: Friday, July 1, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Artist Talk: Sunday, August 21, 3:00 PM
Closing Reception: Sunday, September 25, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

DC Arts Center, located in the heart of Adams Morgan, is proud to present SURF: A View From After by Karen La Du and curated by Joette James. The exhibition features petite prints with bold color juxtapositions of organic shapes, providing alternately microscopic and enlarged views of the collaged originals that mimic the ebb and flow of the tides. SURF: A View From After takes you into imaginary landscapes reminiscent of a beautiful garden where land, sea, and sky converge.

“I have drawn and communed with the sea for most of my life as I was fortunate to call an idyllic barrier island home,” said artist Karen La Du. “For over six decades, I lived and worked and played and grew in this amazing place. The colors, textures, and shapes of the garden, sunrises, sunsets, and the movements of the tides are all interpreted in SURF. These bold juxtapositions of organic shapes were originally depicted as collages created in my studio at the shore house. They are now available as a series of giclées on museum etching paper that manipulate the sizes and viewpoints of each composition as well as coloring pages for you to interpret in your favorite color combinations or to fill in with interesting patterns or collage materials.”

Karen La Du is a prolific artist debuting some of her best work yet,” said curator Joette James. “While Karen’s work is as much about the natural environment depicted through organic abstract forms, it is equally representative of memory – the personal memories she built in that very place.”

DC Arts Center’s Nano Gallery was created to present small format art in a professional exhibition setting. The Nano Gallery offers artists an additional resource for presenting their work, which because of its size, might not have the opportunity for a solo exhibit elsewhere. New in 2022, we’ve expanded the Nano Gallery to include more artwork than ever before! DC Arts Center’s Nano Gallery produces four exhibitions annually. Artists are selected by DCAC’s Visual Arts Committee. Guidelines for submissions can be found on our website.

“What’s exciting about Karen’s work is its playfulness and connection to the work produced by our Curatorial Initiative,” said Executive Director Sean Elias. “The exhibitions in our Main Gallery and Nano Gallery both explore our land, sea, and sky and do so in complementary ways. The Curatorial Initiative in the Main Gallery takes on a more direct reference to climate change. Karen’s work complements this by showing us the simple beauty and joy the natural world provides. The same natural world we must protect. I couldn’t think of a better exhibition to produce than Karen’s and at a better time than right now.”

Curated by Claudia Rouseau
A DC Arts Center Curatorial Initiative Exhibition
July 1 – July 31, 2022


DC Arts Center is proud to present:


A Curatorial Initiative Exhibition Curated by Claudia Rousseau
Assisted by Apprentice Curator Ashley McDonald

JULY 1 – JULY 31, 2022

Opening Reception: Friday, July 1, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Artist Talk: Thursday, July 7, 6:00 PM

DC Arts Center, located in the heart of Adams Morgan, is proud to present the first exhibition of the 2022 Curatorial Initiative, The Fragility of Their Nature, curated by Claudia Rousseau and assisted by apprentice curator Ashley McDonald. The exhibition features Sondra N. Arkin, Jacqui Crocetta, Rebecca Clark, and Marty Ittner  — an all-female identifying cohort of artists who use their art to address climate change and other prevalent and pressing environmental issues. “While advocating for clean oceans, air, and land, their works are neither political nor pedantic,” said curator Claudia Rousseau. “They are striking because of their primary value as art objects and powerful because they tell stories with their imagery alone. Each uses a unique style and technique to achieve her intent.”

Claudia Rousseau continues, “The fragility of vulnerable populations and the threats of climate change have informed the art of Jacqui Crocetta for some time. While the recent series of acrylic paintings in this show allude to natural forms in the ocean, the beaches, and forests, they are abstracted and their content open-ended. Marty Ittner is also concerned about ocean pollution and its effect on marine life. In her Sentinel Series, using cyanotype and marbling techniques, she focuses on the danger of rising sea levels as the result of climate change. Sondra N. Arkin seeks to reveal the fragility of natural systems and the human impact on the planet using an abstract vocabulary. A selection of small works traces the surfaces of water and the movement of trees. The sensitive and exquisitely detailed drawings of Rebecca Clark are meant to remind us of our relationship with the earth and its creatures. Together, they are a powerful testament to the need for a renewed connectedness with the world in which we all live.”

“It was such an honor and pleasure to work with Claudia Rousseau and have her join the esteemed roster of curators who have served as mentors in the Curatorial Initiative,” said Program Manager Jerry Truong. “By giving Dr. Rousseau the complete creative freedom to mount the exhibition that she wanted, it allowed her to express her unique perspective on the pressing issues surrounding environmentalism. She gives voice to a varied roster of female artists and their thoughtful takes on conservation/preservation, climate change, and the broader relationship between humans and nature.”

The Curatorial Initiative reflects DCAC’s commitment to curatorial practice as an integral part of supporting emerging and under-recognized artists. Each year an apprentice curator is selected to gain experience in planning and mounting an exhibition by working with an experienced mentor curator. The program results in two exhibitions each year: in the spring, the mentor curator selects artists and plans the exhibition and accompanying catalog with the assistance of the apprentice; in the autumn, the roles are reversed, and the apprentice curator plans and executes an exhibition with the aid and advice of the mentor. By nurturing new curators, DCAC hopes to bring fresh perspectives into our programming while assisting a new generation of curators who will take the knowledge they gain into our arts community and beyond.

“My vision for DC Arts Center continues to be rooted in immediacy,” said Executive Director Sean Elias. “This exhibition couldn’t be more prescient as we grapple with the immediate and imminent effects of climate change and the ways in which we must face our own fragility as a species. The work assembled is representative of a superior level of artistry. I can’t see how anyone could experience this work without being moved to immediate action.”

Volume 1 & 2 of DCAC’s Curatorial Initiative Catalog
Now Available!!

Volume 1 (2006 – 2011)
Volume 2 (2012 – 2018)
These two bound volumes include all the full color catalogs created by the curators of Curatorial Initiative exhibitions between 2006 and 2018, complete with table of contents and index. With images of artwork from over 250 artists, and in depth essays, these volumes show the diversity and dynamism of the exhibitions in this program.