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By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 26, 2024

Dupont’s First Friday brings art and artists under the same roof

Photo courtesy of Hillyer Art Space's Facebook page.
Photo courtesy of Hillyer Art Space’s Facebook page.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Prachi Vyas.

If you worry that art snobbery isn’t for you, think again.

On the first Friday of every month, about 12 art galleries stay open past usual hours for First Friday, an art event in Dupont Circle used to encourage art aficionados, novices and everyone in between to check out new artwork.

One revealed mixed media artist Nancy Agati’s latest exhibition “PORTICO” to gallery attendees this past Friday.

The event encourages new or underrepresented local and international artists to not only submit their work, but to stand proudly next to it at the event. Agati was just inches away from her intricate piece named “Ottanta Sette,” speaking to a group of young adults about “PORTICO.”

“Ottanta Sette,” an embroidered white cloth that hangs over an entire wall, is a work of art rooted with deep meaning for Agati.
“To me, the metaphor here is life, and how every year of our life can be different,” Agati said. “The front is like the order of life. The back is all the chaos.”

The piece was tribute to her mother’s life of 87 years.

Agati lifted the piece to reveal disjointed gold and silver threads poking out in a dazzling display of the chaos she described. While inspecting the piece and allowing others to do the same, Agati said that she wished art admirers would forget the norms against touching art and instead feel as if they had a right to interact with it.

The expected high-brow nature of art galleries was thrown out the window at First Friday where everyone seemed right at home.

“People have a feeling that everything here is pretentious, but the casual atmosphere is perfect even for students,” Allison Nance, director of Hillyer Art Space, said.

The relaxed, laid-back environment and the engaging, lively crowds that ventured in and out of the studio put even the most naive gallery-goer at ease.

First Friday only occurs once a month, but the galleries are always open and present a welcome alternative to the typical college club scene. The event is completely free and offers free wine and promising opportunities to meet both upcoming artists.

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