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How artists Rex Delafkaran and Nancy Daly would spend a perfect day in D.C.

In D.C. Dream Day, we ask our favorite people in the area to tell us how they would spend a perfect day in the District.

Social media makes it easier than ever to find cool art, but your search shouldn’t stop at your phone. You’ll miss places such as a new project located in Park View — named But, Also — that exhibits original works for purchase from local artists. Besides offering creators more means to make money, co-founders and artists Nancy Daly and Rex Delafkaran want to make art accessible to those who might feel intimidated by expensive galleries.

“The projects that we’re doing, we’re getting a little bit weird,” says Daly. “How intimidating could it possibly be to walk into a space that just has tote bags?”

Daly and Delafkaran invited several D.C. area artists to design custom tote bags in limited edition sets of 10 for “Bag Show: A Tote Bag Invitational,” the previous exhibition at But, Also. Some of those bags are still available for purchase on the website. The pair’s latest showcase, “Controlled Burn: A Fire Sale,” features 25 artists who are selling their older works to make way for “new growth.”

Daly and Delafkaran met while working at local art nonprofit and found themselves crossing paths frequently at local spots such as Eckington studio Stable, where the pair had unintentionally secured studio space across from each other.

“All the circumstances aligned for us to be best friends before we really even understood who each other were fully,” says Delafkaran.

Delafkaran and Daly’s dream day would be an art-filled excursion that also makes pit stops at some local hidden gems.

Rex Delafkaran: For a while, we were regulars at the Royal. It’s a great cafe and restaurant on Florida Avenue and Fifth Street NW, and they have a killer breakfast arepa and really great coffee.

Nancy Daly: I was obsessed with the [Royal] Fog for a while. When I was teaching I would go there and grade, and then it would transition into a bar and restaurant at night, so you could really be there all day.

Delafkaran: Because we kind of go between Northwest and Northeast on a daily basis, we’d probably hop over with our [Royal] Fog and cappuccino and go to our favorite park.

Daly: Crispus Attucks Park. It’s a secret park. I live in Eckington, Rex lives in Bloomingdale, so it’s between our two houses.

Delafkaran: It’s about two neighborhood blocks in length and it’s between North Capitol and First streets. Earlier in the pandemic there was a dance performance by Dance Place that took place in that neighborhood where they all met in Crispus Attucks. It’s just a good neighborhood-y vibe.

Daly: Then we’d hop over to our studios at Stable in Eckington. Our studios are right across the hall from each other.

Delafkaran: Stable has a great big gallery that unfortunately has been inaccessible to the public during the pandemic. But we’re really excited about our new artistic director, Maleke [Glee], and he has some really awesome programming and exhibitions coming up in the space. It’s our studio hub and a great place to see local art. From there, we’d go to Pyramid Atlantic Art Center.

Daly: It’s in Hyattsville, Md., and I had a keyholder residency there for a while. We most recently worked with them because we needed to get screens made for screen printing so we can then print tote bags for a Kickstarter that we did for but, also.

Delafkaran: They’re a great resource. We always send people there who need screens made and the tote bags turned out really well. Kind of in the same area, in Mount Rainier, Md., perhaps we’d stop by Red Dirt Studio. I used to have a studio space there. It’s a tightknit community space. It was a huge piece of how I came to love D.C. and get to know people. And they also have a gallery space in their main area, so it’s a great place to stumble upon wonderful art and see professional artists in the zone doing their thing.

At that point, we’d be pretty hungry, so we’d go to Taqueria Habanero on 14th Street. We love their tacos, more than maybe we want to admit.

Daly: During the pandemic, we’ve ordered from them a lot, like too much. So we’re excited to go back. So then, we’d go to see some art and go back down to Transformer.

Delafkaran: We’d see what they have on view either through the window or in person. Transformer is a D.C. staple in terms of arts nonprofits. They’ve been around for almost 20 years, and I feel like they’re one of the few spaces that you can feel the dedication. They’re really engaging with their mission to support emerging artists and create really wonderful programming.

How Transformer’s Victoria Reis would spend a perfect day in D.C.

From there, we’d see our favorite Smithsonian museum, Hirshhorn Museum, no shade on any of the other Smithsonians — we love all of them.

Daly: It’s a beautiful building and they fill it with a lot of great contemporary work, in a way that you don’t see in other places.

Delafkaran: So, after that, since we had lunch hours ago, we’d probably sit down and have a conversation about where we wanted to go.

Daly: We’d narrow it down to Ethiopian. I’m team Zenebech Restaurant — die-hard.

Delafkaran: And I’m Habesha Market. Both great places. We usually trade-off. Perhaps we’d land at Zenebech this time just to make Nancy feel better.

Daly: I’d never had Ethiopian before I moved here seven years ago, and Zenebech used to be really close to where I lived. I would go there all the time, it was my first experience with Ethiopian.

Delafkaran: We’d have a delicious meal at Zenebech. On an off-chance that it’s a Monday, however, something that I’ve learned about Nancy when we first met was that Nancy loves a good trivia night. And we could go on about my relationship with trivia, but she really warmed my heart to it because we would go to the Pub & the People. It’s right in between our neighborhoods. The staff is really sweet and kind and the energy is good vibes only.

In our dream day, the pandemic would be a distant memory and we’re out drinking with all of our friends and we’d go to the Dew Drop Inn to see some live music, hang out and have some beers. It has an amazing outdoor space that in the summer it’s just what you want. It’s a big dive bar that’s on the Metropolitan Branch Trail. We’re big on biking and it’s a great bike bar.

More D.C. Dream Days:

Visual artist Tenbeete Solomon, also known as Trap Bob

Justine Swindell, who’s known for her vivid illustrations that celebrate Black lives

Nicola Charles, who owns the Truxton Circle gallery 11:Eleven