Remaking The Scene

These young and influential individuals show what it takes to shake up the D.C. arts scene.
Sunday, September 14, 2008

Young and influential. Those alone are sexy adjectives to us, but add the word "artistic" and, well, you have hit on a combination that makes our hearts flutter. For this year's Fall Arts Preview, we went looking for young people who are shaping Washington arts. The Style & Arts staff chose people with fresh energy and ideas who've proved to be influential on the scene - be they curators or composers, performers, painters or festival founders.

Philippa P.B. Hughes, 39

Art collector and founder of the Pink Line Project

It took just over a year -- a couple of events, really, to hear her tell it -- for Philippa Hughes to emerge in late 2007 as the belle of Washington's arts scene. Neither artist nor gallerist, Hughes is a lawyer and lobbyist-turned-art-collector who has imbued Washington's art scene with a New York-style cool by using a deceptively simple idea: host visual and performance artists in edgy, vacant storefront spaces or at home; hang a screen, show projection art, get a DJ, set up a bar and wait for the hipsters to arrive.

Her blog,, and the Web site for her arts-support organization, the Pink Line Project (, both muse about art, pass on news and promote Washington events with similar vibes (and the number of such events has only grown since Hughes moved here from her native Richmond several years ago). She hosts invite-only salons for creative types in her 1,000-square foot condo with a giant deck on 14th Street NW and doesn't seem to have a day job, per se -- she cites "good investments" and other factors. She calls herself an "arts activist."

Her name attached to an ever-growing list of bashes, Hughes plans to narrow her focus to launching a group for art collectors to remove some of the mystery around buying and supporting art: "I'm going to step back and define."

-Lavanya Ramanathan

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