D.C. ‘Unhip’ Because It’s Too Expensive for Artists?

Is D.C. too expensive for artists, or is there still space for a thriving artist community, despite the increasingly pricey housing market? In a Slate piece Thursday, Matthew Yglesias writes that D.C. is woefully “unhip” because, unlike cities such as Philadelphia, it’s simply too expensive for the “semi-employed artist or guitar player” to live and create here.

Washington City Paper‘s Ryan Little, a self-proclaimed semi-employed guitarist, responds Friday. While conceding that D.C.’s rents may be expensive, Little writes that there are still cheap places to live. Also, he notes, D.C. offers a number of benefits that make the arts cheaper and more accessible than in other cities.

… If you’re looking for a city with a decent grant system, a slew of great venues, a consistent dedication to making the arts accessible, and a strong sense of community, I would argue D.C. easily tops [Philadelphia or Baltimore].

We have a gloriously free art culture here. Look at events from the Smithsonian hosting music & art shows with folks like John Davis and Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, to summer concerts series like Fort Reno, Fort Dupont, and the National Gallery’s Jazz in the Garden. There are the regular pay-what-you-can nights at theaters like Woolly Mammoth, the cheap or free boundary-pushing exhibits at Artisphere, and access to world-class art museums that don’t cost a dime. Those “large sums of money” that Yglesias says are handy for going out to dinner in D.C.? In New York, you’d be dropping them to visit the MOMA, instead.

Read more at: www.washingtoncitypaper.com

  • http://notionscapital.com Mike Licht

    It’s not about housing, it’s about artist work space. An artist without a studio is a former artist.

  • Ratturd

    DC is unhip, and that’s a good thing.  F being hip – just be nice.