Sight Scene: Civilian Art Moves to 7th St. Space

by Kristin Capps

Washington Post Express

One of the city's older art districts will get a fresh infusion of new blood when Civilian Art Projects moves into 406 7th Street NW, the site where Numark Gallery used to show work before Numark moved into new digs on E Street.

Civilian, which is directed by Jayme McLellan, has since December operated as a kind of guerrilla gallery "Galleries Without Borders," in the words of The Post. Having exhibited two successful shows (at Warehouse Gallery and G Fine Art), McLellan jumped on an opportunity to lease the space from its owner, gallerist Cheryl Numark.

The Penn Quarter facility once hosted several of the city's galleries, such as Numark, Marinart and Apex. Printmaster David Adamson operated an editions shop and gallery at the site before moving the printshop to Blagden Alley and the gallery to the 1515 14th Street NW building that hosts several other top spots.

McLellan said that the 7th Street location has a great deal to recommend itself: "Sandwiched between the museums and those galleries Touchstone's there, Warehouse is there, Flashpoint is around the block it's still a vibrant cultural scene."

Civilian Art Projects represents the work of several young and upcoming artists, including Lily Cox-Richard, Jason Falchook, Michael Johnson and Jason Zimmerman. The gallery will open in March with an exhibition of works by Falchook (a photographer whose work was previously shown by Fusebox Gallery...) and Zimmerman (a photographer and video artist who showed work at Irvine Contemporary Art). An additional project space will show works by the other Civilian artists, in addition to some guests from outside D.C..

McLellan notes that the space gives her license to carry out special programming, which has been a goal with Civilian. She intends to host a fundraiser for the Young Women's Drumming Empowerment Project, for example. McLellan also wants to use her space to promote Daylight Magazine, an organization that publishes photographs by civilian and emerging photographers on subjects of social significance.

McLellan isn't new to galleries with a message: She previously served as co-director of Transformer Gallery, a nonprofit gallery dedicated to giving gallery access to emerging artists. Before launching Civilian, McLellan served as the interim executive director of Women & Philanthropy, a leadership organization. The return to the for-profit sphere? McLellan says she's better able to support artists directly that way.