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Ask Casa: Art in the DC Area?

Hi Casa,

My husband and I just bought our first house (yay!) in the Washington, DC, metro area. We love going to the local art fairs, and we just want some real art. We are huge art fans though we haven't been able to buy very much of it. I know that you often find up-and-coming artists (or established ones) and was wondering if you could give me some suggestions. We love abstract art, deep colors, huge Dali fans, Picasso, etc. The wall we want to fill is a good size, so we could accommodate a 6-feet-tall-by-4 feet-wide painting or a five-feet square painting. I know this is a ton of information, but I don't know where else to turn and we would love to find new artists and help them out!

Thanks so much for your time and I love your site!


To see my suggestions,


Hi Idekosky,

For a painting this large, you'll likely have to commission a work — but don't worry, it's actually a fun process. I've had art commissioned before, and the artist is almost always enthusiastic about the process of working with a buyer. I'd first look online at DC Arts, where you can find links to artists, photographers, and designers in the DC metro area. I found painter Eileen Wold through the site, and I'm really impressed by her series of smokestack paintings.

If your online search proves unsuccessful, I would take it to the streets for Mid City Artists Open Studios night, which usually happens in May. If you can't wait that long (and who can blame you?), I would examine the list of artists from Mid City Artists' website and directly contact any that seem to fit your tastes. You might like Sondra Arkin's abstract paintings (shown here), or the work of Brian Petro, who also works with large panels.

Don't be afraid to also approach emerging galleries or new art spaces or studio spaces, since these artists may be both less expensive and more willing to work with specific requests. Enjoy your hunt! It's a fun one.

Good luck,

Oh, and are there any DC metro area art mavens out there? Please leave your advice in the comments!

Source and Source

onislandoffisland onislandoffisland 9 years
I second Torpedo Factory. Also Artery in Old Town, and Art Whino which used to be in Old Town but for whatever reason moved across the river to the new National Harbor thing.
Home Home 9 years
Okay, all fixed. Sorry about that!!
splayer splayer 9 years
Casa, the link to the DC Arts site actually links to the DeKalb Council for Arts (in Georgia). :(
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
You should check out the Washingtonian's art section:
manilafizz manilafizz 9 years
Art Scape is coming up July 18-20 in Baltimore if you want to venture north a little (Amtrak offers discounted tickets since the MARC doesn't run on the weekends). Although the fair itself has tons of art, almost all B'more galleries have new shows which I would highly suggest checking out. Current Galley, Metro Gallery, C. Grimaldis, etc... there are tons. Plus the Sondheim Award is given out and finalist (all regional artists), have a show at the BMA.
gsteinhauser gsteinhauser 9 years
The torpedo factory is also pretty good as well as this Georgetown artist community on R street across from Donbarton Oaks. Lots of painters, potters and photographers.
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