November 14, 2020 – January 10, 2021
***Extended to February 7th***

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November 14, 2020 – February 7th, 2021 ***Due to us closing our doors for a few weeks during the holidays, we will be extending the show until February 7th***

Digital Reception: December 10, 2020 on Zoom
Time: 6pm-8pm

Curated by Fabiola R. Delgado

Sparkplug Collective Artists: Tom Greaves, Sarah J. Hull, Shana Kohnstamm, Alanna Reeves, Azadeh Sahraeian, Elizabeth Sampson, Alexandra Silverthorne, Sarah Stefana Smith, Madeline A. Stratton, Steve Wanna


States of Being presents multidisciplinary artworks, including painting, sculpture, print, photography and site-specific installation, that reinterpret sociological concepts and discuss the nature of unpredictability, our response to ambiguity, and the profound impact of an under-defined and fluid state of life.

Sparkplug is DCAC’s artists collective. Launched in 2007, Sparkplug is a two-year program that offers members a place to meet, helps to organize studio visits, provides opportunities to hone presentation skills, and make connections with arts professionals such as curators, collectors, and established artists. In addition, DCAC organizes two curated Sparkplug exhibitions: one each year.

Fabiola (or just Fa) is a Venezuelan Human Rights Lawyer turned Arts and Culture Strategist. A social justice activist since childhood, she became the youngest Amnesty International Regional Manager, installing the first chapter of the organization in her state of Carabobo at age 19.

Her political activism in Venezuela proved too dangerous, which forced her to seek Political Asylum in the United States, where she dedicates herself to finding justice through artistic and cultural expressions.

Click below to watch the complete online artist talk:




Sparkplug: Heritage: Now,
October 19 – November 25, 2018

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Heritage: Now 

October 19 – November 25, 2018

Opening Reception: Friday, October 19, 7-9pm
Happy Hour Reception: Friday, November 9, 6-8pm
Closing Reception: Sunday, November 18, 5pm

Curated by Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell

Sparkplug Collective Artists: Hector Cataño, Eric Celarier, Alexis Gomez, Sarah Jamison, Ashley Ja’nae, Zofie King, Kelly Posey, Katie Pumphrey, Renée Regan, Julie Wills

Heritage: Now illustrates the nuance of lineage and human inheritance through a sometimes meta experience. Reflecting on power dynamics in human-to-human give-and-take, environmental-human interactions, and the problematic art history canon, the Sparkplug Collective contends with the meaning of giving, receiving, acceptance and rejection.

Through performance, painting, large and small scale drawing, algorithms, video, and sculpture, the artists contend with the narratives we carry.

Sparkplug is DCAC’s artists collective. Launched in 2007, Sparkplug is a two-year program that offers members a place to meet, helps to organize studio visits, provides opportunities to hone presentation skills, and make connections with arts professionals such as curators, collectors, and established artists. In addition, DCAC organizes two curated Sparkplug exhibitions: one each year.

Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell is a Washington, D.C. native and cultural programmer with over 10 years of GLAM experience [Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums], devoted to exploring ways to engage with marginalized audiences through art, museum, and social justice practice.

Image: Eric Celarier, Picasso Inch by Inch, 2018

Sparkplug: Process & Practice, curated by Andrew Johnson,
February 17 – March 19

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Sparkplug: DCAC’s Artist Collective

Process & Practice
Curated by Andrew Johnson

February 17 – March 19, 2017

Opening Reception: Friday, February 17 at 7-9pm
Artist Talk: Sunday, March 12 at 5pm
Happy Hour: Thursday, March 16 at 6-8pm

Héctor Cataño, Eric Celarier, Alexis Gomez, Sarah Jamison, Ashley Ja’nae, Zofie Lang, Kelly Posey, Katie Pumphrey, Renée Regan, Julie Wills

Process & Practice​ comprises painting, drawing, sculpture, and mixed media installations and assemblages. Both the diverse and interrelated practices of each artist lend themselves to the unique notion of a collective. Noting the physical, mental, social, psychological, and spiritual processes of each artist, the exhibition motivates the work to reveal its origins, ultimately prompting the viewer to move beyond what they simply see.

above image: Alexis Gomez, Maquette Figure, 2016, Wood, 15 x 70 inches (lifesize)

Sparkplug: Power (I Know It When…), curated by Lea-Ann Bigelow,
October 21 – December 4

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Jerry Truong, An End in Itself (Always on the Right Side or Just the Will to Power) – Mahatma Ghandi, 2016, Vinyl on polyester film, 24″ x 36″

Power ​(I Know It When…)
SPARKPLUG: DCAC’s Artist Collective

Curated by Lea-Ann Bigelow

October 21 – December 4, 2016

Opening Reception: Friday, October 21 at 7-9 pm
Artist Talk: Thursday, November 17 at 7:30 pm
Happy Hour: Wednesday, November 30 at 6-8 pm
Closing Reception: Sunday, December 4 at 5 pm

Michael Booker, David Ibata, Megan Maher, DeLesslin George-Warren, Jerome Skiscim, Casey Snyder-Magrys, Brendan Smith, Jerry Truong, Fabiola Alvarez Yurcisin

Power (I Know It When…) is the second exhibition by the current incarnation of Sparkplug, DCAC’s
Artist Collective. Sparkplug’s nine members will share new paintings, sculpture, photography and
installations exploring the dynamics, dimensions and implications of power (and empowerment) in its
many forms. Political power. Physical power. Spiritual power. Technological power. Psychological,
sensual and – pulsing throughout – creative power.
A phenomenon with strong and conflicting connotations, power can be admired, accessed, amassed,
relinquished, feared or confronted. But it is not in the nature of power to be ignored. For the artists of Sparkplug, a sense of personal urgency and preoccupation with what it means to live in America,
now, has guided their interrogations of power. The results are as timely as they are revelatory.

Sparkplug: Dis/Satisfaction, curated by Kathryn McDonnell
February 13 – March 15

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Fabiola Yurcisin,
Tree Mannequin Three, 2012

Dis/Satisfaction: Permission to Rewrite History, It’s Personal

SPARKPLUG, DCAC’s Artist Collective
Curated by Kathryn McDonnell

February 13 – March 15, 2015

Opening reception: Friday, February 13, 7-9 PM
Artist talk & closing reception: Sun., March 15 at 5 PM

Casey Snyder, Brendan Smith, Jerry Truong, Michael Booker, Megan Maher, DeLesslin George-Warren, Fabiola Alvarez Yurcisin, David Ibata, Jerome Skiscim

Dis/Satisfaction: Permission to Rewrite History, It’s Personal is the introductory exhibition of
the newest Sparkplug, DCAC’s Artist’s Collective. Composed of nine diverse artists from the DC metro area, the works run the gamut from painterly expression to socially engaged performance art. This exciting body of work offers compelling and engaging commentary on current social issues and norms.

Sparkplug: (inter)Related,
June 6 – July 13

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Rachel Schmidt, ​City Herd, ​2013



June 6 to July 13, 2014

Opening Reception: Friday, June 6, 7-9 pm
Closing/Gallery Talk: Sunday July 13 at 5:00 PM

(inter)Related is an all­-media exhibition curated by Allison Nance, featuring work by the artist collective Sparkplug: Amy Hughes Braden, Lee Gainer, Piper Grosswendt, Michelle Lisa Herman, Becca Kallem, Radio Sebastian, Rachel Schmidt, and Stephanie Williams.

This unique DCAC group of artists work in conjunction with each to inspire and feed off of one another’s ideas. The theme of this summer’s Sparkplug show is the interplay between the public nature of an art exhibition and the personal, private mentality in which it is created.

By allowing for someone to take a piece of their own creation and to make permanent changes, these artists have opened themselves up to a vulnerability that, as part of the collaborative process, speaks directly to the idea of the intimacy of personal space and art making. As a whole, this exhibition in itself, is an invitation for the viewer to enter the artists’ most personal of spaces and to understand the intimacy of the creative process.

Sparkplug: External Memory, curated by Chandi Kelly
June 7 – July 14

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External Memory

Curated by Chandi Kelley

June 7 – July 14, 2013

Exhibition Opening Reception: Friday, June 7, 2013 from 7 to 9 pm
Artists talk: Sunday, July 14 at 5:00 pm

Amy Hughes Braden, Lee Gainer, Piper Grosswendt, Michelle Lisa Herman, Rebecca Kallem, Corwin Levi, Rachel Schmidt, and Stephanie Williams.

Through diverse methods and materials, these artists are processing, filtering, and ultimately applying new meaning to the vast amount of information feeding our culture. Effectively embracing a collective stream of consciousness, these works draw on the many sources of input that color our perception of the world around us.

Modern technology is filled with content that spreads and tools that are designed to transcend our human limitations. The notion of forgetting is replaced by greater storage capacity, and external memories become extensions of our internal thought processes. The internet provides a democratization of information, allowing the past, the present, and the future to coexist. Our personal histories and collective experiences overlap, adding complexity and subduing information simultaneously.

The works in this exhibition manifest an outgrowth of the human mind and an increased consciousness of our world as experienced through various forms of media. These artists are responding to our digital age with a tangible potency, focusing on material and finding a place in the world through physical objects. Piper Grosswendt, Amy Braden, and Stephanie Williams use repurposed materials to create their works, transforming original functions and taking objects known and familiar to create works that are alien and mysterious. Radio Sebastian, Becca Kallem, and Lee Gainer work with text and imagery that is accessible in the public domain to convolute and alter information, encouraging new associations. Rachel Schmidt and Michelle Lisa Herman layer their materials to create new realities, prodding at the unknown. Each artist is dealing with this input and its sources in very different ways, but always engaging our senses via materiality.

Sparkplug: Loose Ends, curated by Deborah Anzinger,
June 15 – July 15

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Singularity, Chajana denHarder, Digital Print of Photograph (edition of 3), 16” x 20”, 2012

Loose Ends

Curated by Deborah Anzinger

June 15 – July 15, 2012

Opening reception: Friday, June 15 from 7 to 9 pm.
Artists talk: Sunday, July 15 at 5:00 pm.

Chajana DenHarder, Joe Hale, Chandi Kelly, Matt Smith, and Dafna Steinberg.

The most recent works of the five artists in Sparkplug display a deft navigation of the juncture between collectivism and the individual.

Loose Ends is the final exhibition of the current members of Sparkplug, DCAC’s artists collective. Through Video, photography, painting and sculpture these artists study themes of shifting frames, deconstruction of systems, and neo-romanticism. Loose Ends incorporates these themes as threads that link artist to artist but never tie them together, thereby highlighting the paradoxical interplay between collectivism and the individual.

These artists negotiate with and unseat the canons of their chosen disciplines: Matt Smith utilizes techniques originating from the craft of quilt making within the convention of minimalist post-painterly abstraction to make pictures that look like paintings but are ultimately stitched fabric. Chandi Kelley uses digital photography, a medium associated with the obsolescence of photography’s authority on the truth, to document museum-constructed environments that emulate a disappearing natural world. Chajana DenHarder compromises the indexical nature associated with photography by not only physically tearing through pictures and disrupting them with paint, but she also re-photographs the aftermath, self-consciously reigning materiality back into the realm of illusion. Dafna Steinberg tries to make sense of the present by piecing it together from the future, and Joe Hale raises his subjects to epic status using painterly gestures to break them apart with a machine. Loose Ends represents each of these artists as open systems operating within the mutable environment of Sparkplug. Loose Ends, an exhibition of artist participants in DCAC’s Sparkplug program.

Sparkplug: Something Other Than The Present, curated by Blair Murphy,
June 17 – July 17, 2011

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Chandi Kelley, Untitled, Archival Inkjet Print, 24″ x 36″, 2011

Something Other Than The Present

Curated by Blair Murphy

June 17 – July 17, 2011

Members Only Preview: June 16, 7-9 pm
Opening Reception: June 17, 7-9 pm
Artists Talk: July 16, 5 pm

Work by Chajana denHarder, Todd Gardner, Joseph Hale, Chandi Kelley, Matt Smith, and Dafna Steinberg

Sparkplug presents Something Other Than The Present, a group exhibition exploring the desire for non-existent places, and unreachable times. The members of DCAC’s Sparkplug collective present work that both reflects and comments on the common human longing for places, times. and states that are, ultimately, unattainable.

Sparkplug: Facts and Fictions, curated by Blair Murphy
June 18 – July 18

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Joseph Hale

Facts and Fictions

Curated by Blair Murphy

June 18 – July 18, 2010

Opening Reception: June 18, 7-9 pm
Artists Talk: July 18, 5 pm

Featuring work by Rob Chester, Chajana denHarder, Todd Gardener, Joseph Hale, Chandi Kelley, Matt Smith and Dafna Steinberg Featuring work by the seven new members of DCAC’s Sparkplug artist collective.

Facts and Fictions highlights the tension between the real and the constructed, between the production of elaborate fictions and the documentation of a seemingly concrete reality. Working in painting, photography and mixed media, the artists in the exhibition blur the boundaries between documentation and creation. Fictional narratives and imagined characters inhabit fantastical worlds that nonetheless speak to everyday experiences and anxieties. In other instances, work created with an eye towards everyday human experience transforms otherwise ordinary moments into unfamiliar and surprising visions.

Sparkplug: Learn-a-palooza, Curated by Lea-Ann Bigelow,
May 2 – May 11

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DCAC’s Sparkplug

Jenny Walton, Karen Joan Topping, Mark Planisek, Michael Matason, Kathryn McDonnell, Lisa McCarty, Peter Gordon, Deborah Carroll-Anzinger
Curated by Lea-Ann Bigelow

May 2 – May 11, 2008

Opening Reception: May 2, 7 – 9pm

Learn-a-palooza with DCAC’s Sparkplug: May 10, 3 – 6pm

DC Arts Center’s resident collective Sparkplug launches its first exhibition as part of an ongoing pursuit of adventures beyond the commercial gallery system. Sparkplug is a gathering of a dozen or so Washington, DC metro area emerging artists, curators and writers that meet once a month to discuss their work, explore common concerns and ideas, grow their community, and dream up creative engagements both in DC and around the globe.

Learnapalooza DC is a community organized event happening on Saturday, May 10. Businesses, homes, and community centers in Adams Morgan, U St, Dupont, and Columbia Heights will open their doors to hold short “classes” on every topic under the sun. DCAC’s resident collective Sparkplug hosts three classes:

Artist Materials 101: 2:30 PM to 3:00 PM taught by artist, Jenny Walton

Stretching Your Own Canvas: 3:30 PM to 4:00 PM taught by artist, Peter Gordon

Framing Tips: 4:30 PM to 5:00 PM taught by artist and museum preparator, Mark