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New Pop-Up Gallery Neon Cat Highlights D.C.’s Underground Arts Scene

Neon Cat

Washington, D.C. is, by virtue of being the nation’s capital, a major hub of art, music and culture. Despite this, there are relatively few opportunities and venues for emerging artists to showcase their work, but LA Johnson plans to change that with her new project, Neon Cat.

“Neon Cat is a new venture, and this is the first show I’ve done,” said Johnson. “The purpose is to keep the D.C. art scene young and fresh and weird.”

The project acts as a traveling art gallery, migrating to different venues around the city and showcasing the work of independent D.C. artists. Johnson’s first exhibition, Animal Kingdumb, is currently on display at Cherry Blossom Creative through Friday. The theme is to capture the essence of humans as animals and their relationship to them. From kind and sweet to power-hungry and greedy, what do people learn from and mimic in the rest of the animal kingdom? Can humans push beyond their most negative traits?

Johnson made an effort to select a range of talent representing different artistic media. “It’s a mix of people who have some experience but have not shown before,” Johnson said. The roster includes mixed-media artist and sculpture-creator Rachel Wallach, Nora Simon, who works with collages, drawings, and paintings, symbolic painter Aiden Gregg, visual artist Rose Jaffe and more.

Johnson’s goal is to do at least one show per quarter. “I’m trying to create a welcoming space for artists and art lovers to grow and share ideas in Washington, D.C., even as it gets more commercial and gentrified,” Johnson noted. She hopes to grow the independent arts community through the Neon Cat pop-up galleries–for her, it’s an opportunity to give voice to artists who have something to say.

“I like bold things; I like things that make a statement. I like artwork that is not afraid to say something or be something in a space,” said Johnson. And that’s part of what defines Neon Cat: “Art that isn’t afraid to growl back.”

Animal Kingdumb is on display at Cherry Blossom Creative from Dec. 8-15. Cherry Blossom Creative is located at 2128 8th St. NW.