If a dog gets paint on its paws, Pink Line Project knows about it. D.C.’s premiere arts and culture blog, Pink Line catches anything remotely artsy, and, in the words of founder Philippa Hughes, spoon-feeds it to the masses. Taking a quick look at the site, there are 20 events listed on Pink Line’s calendar today, 15 blog posts have been written since last Thursday, and all of this has been curated in the sake of connecting capitalfolk with the art occurring around them. In order to find out more about how this enterprise got started, the state of D.C.’s arts scene, and how to become the best arts site in the city, we talked to Hughes.
Whence comes the Pink Line name?
It’s a reference to the D.C. Metro system. You know, they have the red line, the orange line. Well, the pink line would be the one that connects everything together. That was the basis–connecting people to the arts, and together through the arts.
When did you get started?
There was no starting point, really. I started a blog in January 2006 just for fun, and soon after I started doing this little salon. Both of those things just started blowing up–you know, that weird point where the people reading my blog were no longer people who knew me, and people were calling me up trying to get into the salons, and it just kept growing.
So what role do you think you play in the D.C. Arts Scene now?
I keep going back to the idea of a connector. My target audience is not artists; it’s people who are interested in the arts, but also people who know nothing about the arts, have a curiosity, but maybe don’t know how to get started. I want to make the information easy for them to enter so it’s not scary.
Screen Capture from PinkLineProject.com
And what about your events?
Well, or a while we were doing a whole lot of events… but we’ve cut back. Doing events was very physically demanding. Plus, I didn’t want to be the “events person.” I wanted to do fewer events with high impact, and I wanted to be a bigger supporter of other people’s events.
Tell me about Salon Contra.
I started doing these little salons in my house because I wanted to have cool and creative people around me… Because they’re in my home, it’s just a more intimate opportunity to mingle with artists and art appreciators. We’ve had a dance performance, play readings, movie screenings… This is the sort of thing that happens in all sorts of galleries, but when it happens in somebody’s living room it’s really cool.
What gives your events calendar an edge over similar D.C. calendars?
Anybody can post an event, and it’s free–I made sure I could do that, because I wanted it to include things that might not be in City Paper, or in the Washington Post. Many of the events that go up are just facebook invitations or emails that I get, but then I’ve actually paid somebody just to post all that stuff to our site. That’s a critical point in why I call it comprehensive, and why it connects the sort of underground scene.
This is your full-time occupation, right? When did that start?
It’s hard to say when I started doing this full-time, because I was running it as a hobby for a long time beforehand. Plus, I had quit my job before pink line because I was trying to be a writer for a while. Trying to be a writer is actually what led to this.
What kind of writer? Art criticism?
Short story, fiction kind of writing. That’s another reason why I’m trying to cut back on the number of events, and why I want it to be a revenue generating source. I want to get back to writing.
Why do you think it’s important for D.C. or Baltimore to have connectors like yourself?
Part of the reason I started the blog, and one thing I’ve faced over and over is that, let’s face it, people are kind of lazy. Most people are like “Oh, I want to see arts,” but they don’t really want to go out of their way to find them. We have to sort of spoon feed it to people. It’s not a bad thing necessarily, it’s just human nature. They need us to help them along.
What’s coming up for Pink Line?
we’re working on something really big for June 2013. We’re doing a performance art festival. We’re still getting things organized, but it’s going to be a three day performance art festival trying to really reach out to artists here, artists from Baltimore, from Richmond, artists I’ve met on my international travels.
That makes me think of something. D.C. being as global as it is, is there a heightened international arts scene?
Not really. Some of the embassies do programming, but it’s mostly just attended by people from that country. I would like that to be less the case. The international scene is probably [bigger] here than in most places, but it’s probably not as big as it should be.
Anything else you’d change about D.C.?
The main thing would be for more people to support art, both financially and by attending events. Then more exchanging of artists from other places, having our artists go to other places. Having more connection with Baltimore. You can learn a lot when you work with artists from outside.
Photo by Miki Duisterhof – Courtesy of Town & Country Magazine
Beginning at the end of August, What Weekly will begin a weekly swap with Pink Line Project, providing you with a list of awesome things taking place in DC. Likewise, Pink Line Project will share our favorite picks of the week with their audience. It is our hope, that more of our friends, fans, and followers, will take the less than sixty minute drive to explore a very different city, just moments away.
Below you will find a list of this weeks top picks of event taking place in DC, generously provided by the Pink Line Project:
Thursday, August 9
[Opening / Closing] Manifest: Armed @ Corcoran, 6 – 8 pm
Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Corcoran College of Art + Design’s Gallery 31 opens Manifest: Armed, featuring four artists who have considered aspects of modern weapons technology: how weapons are designed in the Internet era, how they are circulated and how they interface with information systems.
Friday, August 10
[Dance] Metro DC Dances/Contradiction Dance @ Carter Barron Ampitheatre, 7:30 pm
Please join us for this celebration of dance. We will perform excerpts from our most recent work, Objects of Hope.
[After Hours] The ART of Go-Go Happy Hour @ Bohemian Caverns, 5 – 8 pm
With “The ART of Go-Go” Happy Hour, Take Me Out to the GoGo Magazine is celebrating the diversity of artists who have been inspired by Washington DC’s indigenous music.
[Performance] ShawnMikael(s) @ Studio 1469, 8:30 – 10 pm
ShawnMikael(s) descends on Columbia Heights NW DC for three nights in July and August: July 20th, 27th and then again on August 10, 2012 at the cool friendly confines of Studio 1469, a brand new space that we’re hoping becomes a permanent fixture for improv here in DC, and for us in particular.
[Music] Jazz @ Comet Ping Pong, 10 pm
Diamond Terrifier, Anthony Pirog/Michael Coltun duo and Pilesar $10, 10pm and All Ages at Comet Ping Pong
[After Hours] Shark Week EP Release Party with the Blackberry Belles, Jeremy Teters, and DJ set by BROS@ Montserrat House, 10 PM. Shark Week has managed to record a three-song EP, and we’re throwing a party to celebrate its release!
Saturday, August 11
[Opening / Closing] 19 Ways of Looking at a Painting @ Porch Projects, 4 – 7 pm
The Washington, D.C., area has long been a center of carefully nurtured painting practices. Through means as varied as photorealism and color field abstraction, and all methods in between, painters here explore the analytical potential of mark and color for understanding the world around us.
Sunday, August 12
[After Hours] Midsummer Night’s Dream @ Nick’s Riverside Grille, 7 pm – midnight
Art Soiree presents 3rd Annual Midsummer Night’s Dream at Washington Harbour, Georgetown Waterfront featuring FANTASY BODY PAINTING SHOW & LIVE PERFORMANCES
For more information on these and other events, please visit PinkLineProject.com