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New Public Art Installation Unveiled at Convention Center

 

On May 9, 2012, Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Councilmember Jack Evans (Ward 2), Events DC President and CEO Gregory A. O’Dell and Executive Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Lionell Thomas celebrated the unveiling of Windows Into DC: Cultural Couture, a public art fashion project at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center with the DC Fashion Foundation. 
 
Windows Into DC: Cultural Couture, a local art installation and fashion design initiative, will serve as the cornerstone of the emerging local fashion industry in the District to help facilitate, educate and engage the greater community on fashion as an art, business and economic opportunity. 
 
“Fashion and arts are a driving economic force in the nation’s capital with benefits that flow directly back to local businesses and our youth,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray.  “Our city remains committed to encouraging creative expression and showcasing diverse public artwork in and about the community.” 
 
To illustrate local fashion, select artists and fashion designers showcased couture fashion with scenic art installations along M Street, NW and a visual narrative highlighting six distinctive Washington, DC neighborhoods along the N Street corridor, between 7th & 9th Streets, NW. 
 
The launch of Cultural Couture marks an important milestone for the arts and fashion community in our nation’s capital,” said Gregory A. O’Dell, president and CEO of Events DC.  “Cultural Couture will widen opportunities for local artists and aspiring professionals in our community who uphold a passion to work in the fashion industry in the District.” 
 
"This is the third year that the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities has worked with the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to produce Windows into DC,” said Lionell Thomas, executive director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.  “This year, in particular, has been fun and exciting working with Events DC and the DC Fashion Foundation to shed light on the creative talents of the emerging fashion industry in the District."
 
The rotating series of artistic installations provides an alternative platform and added exposure to metropolitan artists by activating the perimeter windows of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center with original fine artwork from individuals, design teams, and arts organizations such as the Washington Project for the Arts.  With each installment, participants are awarded grants to produce and install their work while the exposure is an added benefit to members of the creative economy.
 
"Our primary objective is to serve as the foundation of the fashion industry and creative small business development and entrepreneurship in the District with educational programs, workforce training initiatives, and networking and mentoring opportunities,” explained Christine Brooks-Cropper, president and founder of DC Fashion Foundation and DC Fashion Incubator.  “Cultural Couture allows us to showcase the wealth of talent in the District by fostering the work of local artists, designers and creative industry leaders.”
 
Cultural Couture window installations feature contemporary fine art inspired by original haute couture designs curated by local menswear designers Andrew Nowell and Gary Pridgeon and renowned DC-based wardrobe stylist Stephanie Pharr. The outside walls of the Convention Center showcase professional images of the District’s brightest fashion business leaders and most accomplished locally-based designers taken by DC-based photo visionaries Roy Cox, Dakota Fine, Don Harris and Leonard Poteat.
The launch of Cultural Couture will set the stage for a community block party and fashion show in the summer.  The fashion show will feature designs by locally-based designers and visual artists, and will promote the various boutiques, small businesses, and design studios thriving in the District.