DC Arts Center


The District of Columbia Arts Center (DCAC) serves the Washington, DC area by presenting high-caliber, challenging works, encouraging professionalism among artists, and by providing a forum for education and cultural exchange. DCAC was founded in 1989 as an alternative arts center for local artists in response to eroding support for local artists. Since then, our 800 square foot gallery and 42 seat black box theater have been a hub of creativity in the visual and performing arts; receiving local, national, and international attention for its programming. Artists of all types, including poets, painters, actors, storytellers, sculptors, and performance artists, have been drawn to DCAC from as close as around the corner and as far as other continents.


The Black Overlay , an exhibition and performance series by Sherman Fleming and Holly Bass

Sherman Fleming and Holly Bass return to DCAC for The Black Overlay , a visual art exhibition and series of performances. In 1997, Bass witnessed Fleming’s iconic performance art work Pretending to be a Rock in DCAC’s black box theater. Bass will re-perform two of Fleming’s early performances, inverting the gender dynamic and exploring how the visual presence of a female body impacts the perception of “masculine” actions. Performance artists Wilmer Wilson and Maps Glover will appear as guest collaborators in the performances. The visual art exhibition features watercolors from Fleming’s ongoing series, Infiinite Desir e, a selected group of collage-based figurative abstractions.On view in the gallery: Infinite Desire is an ongoing series of collage-based figurative abstractions Fleming started in 2012. Informed by Japan’s Edo period, particularly its vision of “the floating world,” the Infinite Desire series integrates figurative, graphic and textural fragments that express an urgent and potent symmetry.

Saturday, June 1 : The Black Overlay opens with a visual art exhibition in the gallery from 4pm-7pm
and a performance in the theater from 5pm-5:30pm. With a performance of Something Akin to Living (approx. 30 mins) in the theater from 5pm-5:30pm on June 1st.

Thursday, June 20:  Performance of Pretending to Be Rock 
Restaing of Shermal Felming's Pretending To Be Rock (1997). This was the first piece Bass saw Fleming perform live and serves as something of a touchstone in both artists’ practices. In that iteration, Fleming, represented the black male body, was on his hands and knees as he faced a female figure (Josephine Nicholson) who was suspended from the ceiling and above a shallow pool of water. Wax from an array of burning candles pelted the performer’s body forming a body cast while, simultaneously, a hose that rises from the shallow pool sprayed water over the suspended figure. Dualities such as fire/water and male/female are explored in this piece a  well as endurance and the body’s resilience. Holly Bass will reprise Fleming’s role and Maps Glover will perform Nicholson’s role, inverting the gender dynamics of the original piece.

Saturday, June 22: Artist Talk  & Closing Reception 4:30- 6:00pm 
Artist talk with Holly Bass and Sherman Fleming, moderated by Terence Washington from 3pm-4:30pm. Closing reception 4:30pm-6pm.


Satellite locations set their own dates and hours for their programming, and may not have the same dates or hours as official By The People events. If you have any questions about programming or accessibility, please contact satellite locations directly.