Beltway Public Works is a new cultural initiative made up of artists, curators, and educators active in the Beltway region and beyond who maintain deep ties to the area. BPW considers art to be a civic resource, like water or public transit, and is interested in championing the role of contemporary art in the lives of Beltway residents. Beltway Public Works evolved out of FURTHERMORE, a DC-based research and development lab for visual culture. Opened in 2010 as a print studio specializing in digital editions, FURTHERMORE has since expanded its scope of activities, working with artists, curators, institutions, and the public to create and disseminate contemporary art and ideas. Recent FURTHERMORE projects have included Intersection Mixtape, a community-sourced audio portrait of Mid City DC, curated by the Van Alen Institute with support from the Kresge Foundation and DC Office of Planning, and McGyver School of Arts & Design, a crowdsourced reimagining of arts education in the 21st century. Beltway Public Works is led by Natalie Campbell, James Huckenpahler, Patrick McDonough, and José Ruiz, with a growing list of partners.
Our goal is to become a civic-cultural initiative that develops strategies for, and brings precedent tactics to, the nation’s capital area. We partner with a growing network of artists, enthusiasts, and educators to re-think the role of art and artists in metropolitan regions through a mix of revisionist geography, embodied histories and non-hierarchical engagement. In the process, we reclaim the pejorative term “Beltway,” championing positive accounts of culture within a networked, sprawling area at the center of the national imagination.