For my next adventure into new art realms in Washington D.C., I decided to drop by a place called the “Fridge.” After weaving through some tricky DC traffic, I ended up parking the car and walked along some pleasant streets in a neighborhood southeast of the U.S. Capitol Building. I ended up in an alleyway, facing a colorfully-painted building. A small, swinging orange sign read: The Fridge.
The Fridge is a community art and performance collective tucked away in DC’s trendy Barrack’s Row district. It is home to this month’s current exhibit, the “DC Latino Collective Art Show,” an exhibition of 30 new paintings by brothers Mauricio and Juan (UNJUANTED) Lopez and their compatriot, Vicente Herrera. Their work features art inspired by Latin artists such as Dali, Picasso, Frida Kahlo, and Diego Rivera. The show kicked off with a Cinco de Mayo Eve opening reception and runs until May 27.
I spoke with Alex Goldstein, gallery director for the Fridge. He said that the gallery is living up to the original vision since its doors opened summer of 2009. “We’re a mixture of art gallery, community center, and performance-based art,” he said. The Fridge has a small but dedicated space for performance pieces, such as poetry readings, original plays, and live music.
The sense of community is evident by the programs offered at the Fridge. Goldstein said that he wanted to create an “incubator” for creativity. “All skill levels are welcome,” he said. “We’ve had over 500 artists and performers since we opened. Here, we provide a unique atmosphere.”
Goldstein said that one of the biggest challenges facing the Fridge is how to keep it economically viable. “In DC, every artist I know still has to work at a day job to make ends meet. It’s difficult surviving as an artist.”
Despite these challenges, Goldstein has fostered a unique place in DC where art and community thrive.
The Fridge is located at 516 1/2 8th Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003
Gallery Hours: Thursday through Saturday 12pm-8pm, Sunday 1pm-5pm
For more information visit www.thefridgedc.com.