It may not get as much attention as those of other cities, but DC’s local art community is both vibrant and notably diverse, and many painters, sculptors, and video artists are happy to carve out a niche here. Now two new publications have sprouted up to spotlight our multifaceted scene—and they’re just as independent and inventive as the artists they cover.
Show and Tell
DC painters Dan Treado and Steve Cushner—who have been part of Washington’s art scene for decades—debuted the second issue of their zine in July. Both also have day jobs: Treado is exhibition production director at the International Spy Museum, while Cushner teaches drawing and painting at George Mason University. During the pandemic, they missed gallery openings and visits to friends’ studios, so they devised Show and Tell as a way to stay connected.
Professionally printed on high-quality paper, it features photos and interviews that capture creators’ studio spaces, such as sculptor Mary Early’s on the grounds of Brookland’s Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America. “Every [artist] has their own little private world, and I really like that,” says Cushner. He and Treado photographed five artists and two collectors for the new issue and include a Q&A with each. Copies are available—in exchange for a $13 honor-system donation via a QR code on the back—at local galleries and shops, such as Hemphill, Addison/Ripley, GoodWood, Joint Custody, People’s Book, and Art Sound Language.
Recent University of Maryland graduates Sabrina Li and Caleb Yoshida launched this zine over the summer with the goal of providing a wide-open forum for queer and trans artists and creators of color. “We wanted to create a more accessible space for underrepresented artists,” says Li, “and to be able to highlight the kind of art that excites us the most.” To that end, Directory is a well-designed zine featuring full-page images of artwork, some glitchy digital-to-analog aesthetics, and creative layouts. One element, designed by artists Alys and Lincoln He, includes a URL that takes readers to a drive with images and audio files as part of a mysterious “narrative adventure.”
The zine’s inventive visuals are what jump out at first, but it also weaves in artist statements and candid Q&As. On the last pages, Li and Yoshida include contact info for each artist, in the spirit of a “directory” that will give anyone who scores a copy a way to get in touch and collaborate. Unfortunately, getting your hands on one is a challenge at the moment: Directory has met with such enthusiasm that the first edition sold out. (Copies cost $15.) Li and Yoshida are considering printing more, though, so follow them on Instagram (@directoryzine) for updates.
This article appears in the October 2023 issue of Washingtonian.