The Fondo del Sol Visual Arts Center showcases a collection of pre-Columbia, Latino, Caribbean, and African-American art. Photo courtesy of Fodol del Sol Visual Arts Center. Photograph by Yassine El Mansouri.
Dupont Circle became an arts destination when two museums opened in the 1920s: the Phillips Collection (1600 21st St., NW; 202-387-2151), which was America’s first modern-art museum and features well-known works including Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party,” and the Textile Museum (2320 S St., NW; 202- 667-0441), whose collection includes more than 18,000 rugs, pieces of clothing, and other work in fabric.
Over the next 60 years, small, independent galleries—where you can buy art as well as look at it—began to set up shop in the neighborhood, some in historic rowhouses. Today Dupont Circle is home to one of the region’s highest concentrations of art galleries.
On First Fridays, a longstanding tradition held the first Friday of every month, many galleries stay open late, offering wine and hors d’oeuvres. Attendees stroll from place to place, taking in exhibits and often mingling with artists whose work is on display. Here are nine of the neighborhood’s top galleries.
Alex Galleries (2106 R St., NW; 202-667-2599) represents a diverse group of established and up-and-coming artists. It mostly features contemporary American and European art, including sculpture, paintings, and works on paper.
Burton Marinkovich Fine Art (1506 21st St. NW; 202-296-6563) has modern and contemporary prints and drawings as well as other works on paper.
Showcasing a substantial collection of pre-Columbian works and 20th-century Latino and Caribbean art, Fondo del Sol Visual Arts Center (2112 R St., NW; 202-483-2777) operates as a nonprofit that supports immigrant artists. It also exhibits African-American works.
Established in 1971, the artist-run Foundry Gallery (1314 18th St., NW, First Floor; 202-463-0203), features primarily painting, sculpture, and drawings by local artists. Member artists often give lectures and lead workshops for children and adults.
Hillyer Art Space (9 Hillyer Ct., NW; 202-338-0680), operated by the nonprofit International Arts & Artists, exhibits contemporary artists from all over the world whose work hasn’t been shown in the Washington area in the last five years. It also hosts community events such as concerts and clothing swaps.
Known for its post–World War II print collection, Jane Haslem Gallery (2025 Hillyer Pl., NW; 202-232-4644) also specializes in paintings and drawings from the mid- to late 20th century. It’s one of the oldest galleries in the area, having celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.
Established in 1983, the Marsha Mateyka Gallery (2012 R St., NW; 202-328-0088) represents about 20 contemporary artists, including such acclaimed painters as the late Nathan Oliveira and Washington’s own Sam Gilliam. It specializes in painting, sculpture, photography, and works on paper.
Studio Gallery (2108 R St., NW; 202-232-8734) showcases more than 35 contemporary Washington artists. Exhibited works often include painting, installation, sculpture, mixed media, and video.
Although many of its exhibits occur off-site, the Washington Project for the Arts (2023 Massachusetts Ave., NW; 202-234-7103) has small-scale shows in its Dupont headquarters. The nonprofit primarily displays contemporary works.