The AU Museum is closed for installation. We will reopen April 6th for our Spring exhibitions.
The Alper Initiative for Washington Art is dedicated to preserving, presenting, and creating the art history of Washington through our book collection, database, events, and exhibitions. The Alper Initiative includes:
- 5 new exhibitions submitted by Washington-area artists each year
- 2,000 square feet of gallery space in the AU Museum
- 200+ books on DC's unique art history
The Alper Initiative for Washington Art is made possible through a generous grant by American University alumna and art advocate Carolyn Small Alper.
In this course, you will improve your ability to capture a likeness from life. Weekly topics cover visually shifting from the right to left brain, working with the picture plane, cementing the basics of portraiture, working with light and shadow, and finally, creating a skillful self-portrait. Read more about DC artist and longtime teacher Beverly Ress here. Sundays, April 7, 14, 21, 28, and May 5 and 12, $225 for the six-week class. Register here.
- Michael B. Platt + Carol A. Beane: Influences and Connections
- Ian Jehle: Dynamical Systems
- D'Arista Legacy
- Latitude: The Washington Women's Arts Center
- Michael Clark: Washington Artist
- Frank DiPerna Retrospective
- The Trawick Prize
- Making a Scene: Jefferson Place
- Performing the Border
- Summerford Legacy
- Joe Cameron: Touching Air
- Melissa Ichiuji: Make You Love Me
- It Takes a Nation: Art for Social Justice
- The Looking Glass: Artist Immigrants of Washington
- Twisted Teenage Plot
- Circle of Friends
The Alper Initiative for Washington Art promotes an understanding and appreciation of the art and artists of the Washington Metropolitan Area.
We do this by:
- Providing and staffing a dedicated space within the American University Museum
- Encouraging dialogue about the history of Washington art and today's emerging and established artists through stimulating programs and provocative events
- Developing high quality exhibitions, educational programs, and documentation
- Fostering connections between local artists and the DC community
- Providing resources for the study of Washington art and artists
- The History of Washington art should be preserved, presented and created
- The DC art community should have accessible resources to learn about the history of DC art, engage with art created by local artists today, and have a platform to exchange ideas
- Artists should have a space to go to where they can exhibit, network with other artists, interact with collectors, critics, curators, and build their creative capacity
The AIWA is a 2,000 square foot space located in the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center. There are 5 exhibitions of Washington art per year. The space includes a common gathering space, exhibition and event space, and film and video screening capabilities. We are the only museum space dedicated to the display, research, and encouragement of the region's art and artistic community.
The Alper Initiative for Washington Art is the gift of Carolyn Small Alper, a Washington artist, AU alumna, and philanthropist. It provides the space and resources to fulfill one of the American University Museum's primary objectives and meet one of the region's greatest needs: to promote an understanding and appreciation of our region's art and artists from our past, present, and future. It is an exhibition space and a place for study and research. But it is first of all a meeting place for people and ideas. Its most important contribution to the Washington region may well be the opportunities it provides for us to exchange perceptions and, perhaps, rewrite the history of Washington art.
The Initiative presents five exhibitions of regional artists each year, creates publications and programming to engage and build the audience for Washington art, and serves as a resource for its study and critical appreciation. Curators are solicited to propose appropriate exhibitions, and artists are invited to submit their work for consideration on our website.
The Initiative is a part of a thriving museum that for ten years has specialized in presenting Washington artists in the larger context of national and international contemporary art. Washington art is strong, intelligent, and relevant, and has earned a prominent place in contemporary cultural discourse. Thanks to the Alper Initiative for Washington Art, we have the means to present serious, focused exhibitions for all the world's appreciation and enlightenment.
Jack RasmussenDirector and Curator
American University Museum
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Kenneth Victor Young (1933-2017) moved to Washington, DC in 1964 where he began to paint abstract forms with washed acrylics on unprimed canvas. Young’s artistic philosophy was to bring order out of chaos. His studies in physics and the natural sciences at Indiana University informed a different imagery—a fusion of brilliant colors. Young's knowledge of form and matter gave his paintings a spatial intensity, and he infused this space with multiple orbs of color held together in molecular suspension. Kenneth Victor Young had an illustrious 35-year career as an exhibition designer for the Smithsonian Institution, and his extensive travels during this time helped inform his cosmic abstract style of painting. His love for jazz influenced the movement and vitality of his work.
He is known for his floating colored orbs—imagery that attempts to bring order to chaos and that comments on the pandemonium of life. The selection is representative of the main aspects of his oeuvre as it evolved over several decades. It includes a wide variety of collages in diverse techniques: both early works and those of his mature period; on very small scale and large ones; two-dimensional and sculptural.