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Alper Initiative for Washington Art

Latitude: The Washington Women's Arts Center 1975-1987
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Now Accepting Submissions

The Alper Initiative for Washington Art accepts general submissions from artists and curators in the DC area year-round.

A Home for Washington Art

The Alper Initiative for Washington Art is dedicated to preserving, presenting, and creating the art history of Washington, DC through our book collection, database, events, and exhibitions. The Alper Initiative for Washington Art includes:

  • 5 new exhibitions submitted by Washington artists a year
  • 2,000 square feet of gallery space in the AU Museum
  • 60+ 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.

A side view of a red handmade book with a woman's photograph on the front

Bookmaking Workshop with Martha Edgerton

July 21-22, 12-4PM

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Latitude: The Washington Women's Arts Center 1975-1987 On view June 16-August 12

Ten women in front of the Washington Women's Arts Center

The Washington Women's Arts Center (WWAC), headquartered at 1821 Q Street NW, was created in 1975 as a non-profit organization that provided professional support and opportunities for women in the arts. This exhibition will feature work from 90 former WWAC members.

"Pushing Boundaries" with Ellouise Schoettler
June 24, 2-3PM

WWAC Panel Discussion & Reception
July 21, 4-6:30PM

both events are free and open to all

Past Exhibitions

Mission Statement

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

We believe:

  • 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.

Director's Letter

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 Rasmussen

Director and Curator
American University Museum