Our DC Pop-Up
We popped up! AKA we opened up our first ever pop-up shop. Now DC area residents can stop by with all their frameworthy items to touch and feel the frames, and consult with a team member about all of their framing options. To launch the space we partnered with our friend Morgan Hungerford West, founder of A Creative DC, to create a backdrop for our pop-up featuring art from the DC community. Read on to learn what A Creative DC is all about, how Morgan tackled this awesome project, and some of the amazing artists featured in the exhibit.
Tell us about A Creative DC and how it started.
A Creative DC is an effort to shift perception of DC creative culture. We acknowledge and reflect the city's creative communities – and creative economy – online and across our social media platforms. This city is amazing! We will never run out of people or projects to feature. Offline we create opportunities for the different + hugely diverse creative communities to cross paths and to get to know each other, so that collaboration and advocacy can happen. We're all about allocating space, online and off, for creative DC!
The project has been building over the course of the year – we started out on Instagram, @aCreativeDC, and with a hashtag campaign, #aCreativeDC, and in May we launched both www.aCreativeDC.com and our IRL (in real life) component. In addition to meet-ups, creative co-working events, and workshops, we partner with non-profit organizations like the DC Public Library Foundation, the Capital Area Food Bank, and Think Local First on community-centric events and projects.
How did you go about selecting the art for the show? Did you go into the process having an idea of what you wanted it to look like?
You know, it was easier and harder than I thought it would be! Easy in the sense that I have a list about a million miles long of local artists and makers whose work I dig, and this was an awesome excuse to reach out. I saw a lot of studios over the course of pulling everything together. The challenge came in making sure it was as representative as it could be. The A Creative DC project is all about perspective, and the DC creative community encompasses A LOT. This easily could have been a really beautiful photo show, or fine art focused, but making sure we widened the scope to include creative small business (like the husband and wife-owned sausage shop Meats & Foods), music (like promoters/producers Bombay Knox), style (including knitwear line DeNada Design,) and DIY culture (VersaceJesus's PIZZA BOYZ is one of a few zines that made it in) felt really, really important. From there it was about having a balanced mix of objects, art, and ephemera.
"This easily could have been a really beautiful photo show, or fine art focused, but making sure we widened the scope to include creative small business, music, style, and DIY culture felt really, really important."
Was it difficult to pare it down into a final selection?
If anything, we could have gone on forever! What I loved most about this opportunity was getting to think about what a frame means – we allocate space online and offline for DC creative culture because space assigns value. People sleep hard on DC's creative community, and the only way we're going to right that is by making it accessible, making it inclusive, and – frankly – making it look good! Frames elevate. Frames assign value. If I could have framed everything we've featured and discovered since this project started, I would have!
"Frames elevate. Frames assign value. If I could have framed everything we've featured and discovered since this project started, I would have!"
A lot of the featured art existed in a digital environment, or as street art. How did framing, or printing and framing change the art?
First, it was SO amazing to see the Instagram Minis. We pulled in images from the #aCreativeDC feed and beyond for those, and unwrapping them at the Framebridge office was like having 25 birthday parties all at once. I've got so much respect for digital, but seeing those images come to life was way more exciting than I thought it would be! It was also really cool to see the context of some of the objects – Apt 50's Rent Is Due hat, the vintage microfiche from the DC Public Library Foundation, and E. Brady Robinson's book, Art Desks – just change completely once they were in a frame. To touch on the street art, two pieces I thought were so awesome were a Kelly Towles stencil that I'd saved from when I worked production on a mural project of his a few years back – that palm tree has lived on my wall for a long while! – and the Mouse in a Cup by Dana Jeri Maier. Most of the city is familiar with her work by way of wheatpastes along the U Street corridor; she was generous enough to loan an original pen + ink of one of her most recognizable designs. How cool is that? We went with a more traditional-looking frame to juxtapose the street art reference, and I feel like it was such a successful pairing.
How on earth did you go about hanging so many pieces?! Where did you start? How did you know when you were finished?
It was definitely a process that involved long periods of staring at the walls, but in the end I was able to pick a few anchor pieces, and from there the work all just sort of spoke to each other and sorted itself out (with some much-appreciated visual support from the Framebridge team!). With almost 70 pieces, it felt right to divide the walls into a few different statements as opposed to one flowing gallery – adding shelves and furniture pieces to break things up ended up being really necessary. The most amazing surprise was how well it all fit in the gallery space – we reached the end when we'd run out of room, and we didn't have to jettison a single piece.
Are you happy with the final product?
There aren't even words!
Pretty cool, right? The best part? You're invited! Stop by and see it in the flesh. Head over here to schedule an appointment.