The Barbershop Project by CulturalDC


As the centerpiece of CulturalDC’s 20th Anniversary Season, The Barbershop Project is a multidisciplinary arts activation inspired by the performance of styling, art of hair and shop culture. The project is centered around Mighty Mighty: an immersive art installation and fully-functional, fantastical barbershop in CulturalDC’s Mobile Art Gallery. Mighty Mighty is created by artist Devan Shimoyama, barber Kelly Gorsuch and furniture-maker Caleb Woodard.


Mighty Mighty by Devan Shimoyama, centerpiece of The Barbershop Project by CulturalDC
Tuesday-Friday 11-7p; Saturday 10-6p

As the centerpiece of CulturalDC’s 20th Anniversary Season, The Barbershop Project is a multidisciplinary arts activation inspired by the art of hair, performance of styling and the cultural institution that is the barbershop. Running May 4—August 24, 2019, the Project is hosted by Building Bridges Across the River, the Ward 8 nonprofit that manages THEARC: Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus.

The Barbershop Project is centered around Mighty Mighty: a collaboration between artist Devan Shimoyama, Barber of Hell’s Bottom owner Kelly Gorsuch and designer/furniture maker Caleb Woodard. They are transforming CulturalDC’s Mobile Art Gallery into an immersive art installation and fully-functioning barbershop which will offer free haircuts to the community.

“From my understanding of the Black barbershop, men come together to decompress and be candid with one another in a safe space. This space isn’t quite the same for LGBTQIA identifying people of color,” says artist Devan Shimoyama.

In Mighty Mighty, Shimoyama’s paintings come to life, engaging individuals in a dialogue about how to evolve from said stereotypes of such performed hypermasculinity in barbershops and how to cultivate a safe, welcome environment for all.

“Queer identifying people of color feel the need to perform gender in specific ways in certain settings. For example, gay Black men feel the need to limit their interactions with other Black men in the barbershop. After some conversations with other individuals who share these sentiments, I realized many of us find ways to mask our queerness in this setting regardless to how out and proud we are in our personal lives,” Shimoyama continues.

Free Haircuts Tuesday - Friday 3pm -7pm 

fade by Sheldon Scott, as part of The Barbershop Project by CulturalDC
June 22

fade is an activation at the intersection of black maleness.  In conversation with Devan Shimoyama’s “The Barbershop Project”, fade composes soundtrack, dialogue, and movement of intragroup differences to include race, gender-expression, class, and age.

About Sheldon Scott: 

Born and raised in Pawley’s Island in the Gullah/Geechee Lowcountry of South Carolina, Sheldon Scott now lives and works in Washington, DC. His fine-art practices plays in the intersection of Race, Sexuality and Economics, while impugning mythologies of Black Male supernaturality, and includes works of Performance, Sculpture, Installation, Photography, Spoken word, Creative Nonfiction, Objects and Ephemera.  Scott has exhibited at the WPA Select Auction, Arlington Arts Center, Delaware State University, Goucher University, Art Miami, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, National African Art Museum, Katzen Art Museum, David C. Driskell Center, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and has been recently acquired by the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. He has been featured in Forbes Magazine, Blouin Art Info, Art 21 and Hyperallergic and has been recognized as by Americans for the Arts’ Best Public Art Program in 2017 and as a Finalist for the National Portrait Gallery’s 2019 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. Scott has been a featured presenter at TEDx Mid-Atlantic, ArtTable, CreativeTime Festival, College Arts Association Conference, Washington Ideas Festival, and the Smithsonian Long Conversation.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Teaching for Change, Youth Pride Alliance, and the Advisory Board of the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum.

Scott is the Founder of ProjectUnlearn and also currently serves as the Director of Culture at Eaton DC.

Scott’s Fine-Art practice is represented by ConnerSmith Gallery.