DC Arts Center Presents the 2022 Curatorial Initiative The Fragility of Their Nature: Ocean, Sky, Land

By Editorial Team on June 27, 2022

Fri, July 1 2022 — Sun, July 31 2022

Rebecca Clark, Whale I. Courtesy of DC Arts Center.
Opening Reception: Friday, July 1, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Artist Talk: Thursday, July 7, 6:00 PM

The DC Arts Center, located in the heart of Adams Morgan, is proud to present the first exhibition of the 2022 Curatorial Initiative, The Fragility of Their Nature, curated by Claudia Rousseau and assisted by apprentice curator Ashley McDonald. The exhibition features Sondra N. Arkin, Jacqui Crocetta, Rebecca Clark, and Marty Ittner — an all-female identifying cohort of artists who use their art to address climate change and other prevalent and pressing environmental issues. “While advocating for clean oceans, air, and land, their works are neither political nor pedantic,” said curator Claudia Rousseau. “They are striking because of their primary value as art objects and powerful because they tell stories with their imagery alone. Each uses a unique style and technique to achieve her intent.”

Claudia Rousseau continues, “The fragility of vulnerable populations and the threats of climate change have informed the art of Jacqui Crocetta for some time. While the recent series of acrylic paintings in this show allude to natural forms in the ocean, the beaches, and forests, they are abstracted and their content open-ended. Marty Ittner is also concerned about ocean pollution and its effect on marine life. In her Sentinel Series, using cyanotype and marbling techniques, she focuses on the danger of rising sea levels as the result of climate change. Sondra N. Arkin seeks to reveal the fragility of natural systems and the human impact on the planet using an abstract vocabulary. A selection of small works traces the surfaces of water and the movement of trees. The sensitive and exquisitely detailed drawings of Rebecca Clark are meant to remind us of our relationship with the earth and its creatures. Together, they are a powerful testament to the need for a renewed connectedness with the world in which we all live.”

“It was such an honor and pleasure to work with Claudia Rousseau and have her join the esteemed roster of curators who have served as mentors in the Curatorial Initiative,” said Program Manager Jerry Truong. “By giving Dr. Rousseau the complete creative freedom to mount the exhibition that she wanted, it allowed her to express her unique perspective on the pressing issues surrounding environmentalism. She gives voice to a varied roster of female artists and their thoughtful takes on conservation/preservation, climate change, and the broader relationship between humans and nature.”

The Curatorial Initiative reflects DCAC’s commitment to curatorial practice as an integral part of supporting emerging and under-recognized artists. Each year an apprentice curator is selected to gain experience in planning and mounting an exhibition by working with an experienced mentor curator. The program results in two exhibitions each year: in the spring, the mentor curator selects artists and plans the exhibition and accompanying catalog with the assistance of the apprentice; in the autumn, the roles are reversed, and the apprentice curator plans and executes an exhibition with the aid and advice of the mentor. By nurturing new curators, DCAC hopes to bring fresh perspectives into our programming while assisting a new generation of curators who will take the knowledge they gain into our arts community and beyond.

“My vision for DC Arts Center continues to be rooted in immediacy,” said Executive Director Sean Elias. “This exhibition couldn’t be more prescient as we grapple with the immediate and imminent effects of climate change and the ways in which we must face our own fragility as a species. The work assembled is representative of a superior level of artistry. I can’t see how anyone could experience this work without being moved to immediate action.”

DC Arts Center (DCAC) is the only institution solely dedicated to fostering underrepresented artists in the greater Washington, D.C., area. We believe that by encouraging artists of all types and all levels to pursue their passion, community transformation is possible. Located in the heart of Washington, DC’s vibrant Adams Morgan neighborhood, DCAC operates a small arts facility that includes two art galleries, a 42-seat black box theater, and office space. Founded in 1989 as an accessible alternative arts center in response to eroding support for local artists, DCAC has since become a hub of creativity in the visual and performing arts, receiving local, national, and international attention. Artists of all types, including poets, painters, actors, storytellers, sculptors, and performance artists, have been drawn to DCAC from as close as around the corner to as far as from other continents.

DCAC is located at 2438 18th Street NW.