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DCAC Art Decathlon


They are neither the fastest nor the strongest, yet decathletes are recognized by peers and laymen alike as being the best all-around athletes. In the decathlon, the athlete’s focus is on developing the most efficient balance of speed, strength, technique, and endurance, embodying the classic idea of what it means to be an athlete. 

If the best all-around athlete is one who most efficiently balances speed, strength, technique, and endurance, then what defines the best all-around artist?  Is it mastery of craft?  Is it clarity of idea or emotion?

After centuries of specialization in art that has relied on labels like painter, sculptor, photographer, etc., the District of Columbia Arts Center is asking individual artists who work or reside within a 100 mile radius of Washington, DC to submit proposals that explore the significance of what being “unspecialized” means to being a working artist today. Do certain disciplines express some ideas better than others?  Does training or talent determine success?  Does mastery of a variety of media make you a better artist? We think it might. We want to know what you think and what you can do.

To be considered by DC Arts Center’s Visual Arts Committee, artists will need to propose a total of ten new works in the following ten artistic “events”:

  1. Textiles/Fiber Art
  2. Painting
  3. Drawing
  4. Printmaking
  5. Photography
  6. Collage
  7. Sound
  8. Video
  9. Conceptual Art
  10. Sculpture

Submissions will be narrowed down by DC Arts Center’s Visual Arts Committee to a slate of semi-finalists. The submissions of the semi-finalists will be posted online to be discussed and voted on by the community at large. The voting will determine the three finalists (announced April 1, 2011) who will exhibit their works at DCAC in October of 2011. The exhibition will culminate in a medal ceremony, but only one artist will walk away with gold.
By hosting this good-natured competition, DCAC hopes to spark debate around the issue of what it means to be the best all-around artist, challenge individuals to try their hand at new disciplines, and give exposure to artists who already embrace working in various media. 
Proposals due: January 15, 2011

To submit your proposal:
1) Go to http://tinyurl.com2d4r32o to complete the entry form.

2) Send the following materials to the gallery manager at dcacgallerymanager@gmail.com:

  • a short written statement that explains the significance of working in multiple disciplines
  • a proposal for the ten works (e.g. descriptions, sketches, maquettes, animations) which must all fit on a wall 12’w x 9’h x 3”d (jpg or pdf)
  • an installation sketch of the 10 works (jpg or pdf)
  • Five examples of past works that demonstrate prior achievements (300 dpi jpgs)
  • a resume or vitae
Questions? Contact Carolyn Law, Gallery Manager, DC Arts Center at dcacgallerymanager@gmail.com.

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