Creative Placemaking Across the Political Divide

CreativePlace Podcast | April 12, 2019

Is it possible to get liberals and conservatives to talk about politics without resorting to name calling? What if there were a way to get ordinary people from both sides of the political divide to discuss politics and policy using art and a creative process? We interviewed Washington D.C.-based creative placemaker Philippa Hughes when we were together at the 2019 Tom Tom Festival and Summit for a panel on creative placemaking. Hear her tell the story about how her curiosity about people's political views prompted her to start Blueberries and Cherries, a series of dinners that puts  'blue' and 'red' people together over dinner for civil discourse and how those dinners have evolved into larger events at art venues. Our interview took place in early April just as she was about to bring her concept to six other cities in the United States in collaboration with New American Economy and the American University School of Public Affairs. Listen here!


Era uma vez na América

Heitor Flumian | Medium | February 13, 2019

Para muito além do Capitólio e da Casa Branca, Washington tem uma cena cultural vibrante, com espaços para shows intimistas, bons restaurantes e ótimos museus que preservam parte da história do país. Read more here!


Blueberries & Cherries

SanityPod | November 8, 2018

Following the 2016 election, Philippa Hughes realized she didn’t know a single Trump voter and set out to change that by hosting small bipartisan dinner parties – “Blueberries and Cherries” – at her home. This in part led to the creation of “A (GOOD) AMERICAN,” an art show sponsored by American University School of Public Affairs and The Pink Line Project that examines the immigrant experience and celebrates what it means to be an American. For Sanity’s first live episode, we traveled to Washington D.C. to help kick off a 50-person bipartisan dinner party celebrating the art exhibit at the Heurich House Museum with the show’s brainchild. Listen here!

“I didn’t have a plan, but I did know that I wanted to listen. And that’s what we did – we talked and we listened.” — PHILIPPA HUGHES

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Kojo Roadshow: How Gentrification Affects The Arts In The D.C. Region

Kojo Nnamdi Show | March 21, 2019

The arts have a complicated relationship with gentrification in D.C. Artists and arts organizations can make neighborhoods more attractive to development — but are often displaced as rents rise and neighborhoods take on new identities. Is it possible to create sustainable space for the arts as neighborhoods change? And what is the role of arts organizations in telling the stories of communities facing gentrification?

As part of a series marking Kojo’s 20th year on air, we hosted a town hall event with artists, community leaders, city officials and developers to explore creative place-making and the role of artists and arts organizations within a rapidly changing region. Listen here!


Belonging, Civility, Ugh: What Happens When Commonly Held Ideals Backfire

Kojo Nnamdi Show | November 20, 2018

A sense of belonging. A desire for civility. Both seem necessary for a welcoming and respectful society, especially during the holiday season. But what happens when the ideas backfire? Listen here!

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Local performers and experimental artists bring art to life at the Dupont Underground

NBC | May 31, 2018

Located below Dupont Circle, the Dupont Underground brings avant-garde art and performances to life below the bustling streets of Washington, D.C. Watch here!

Case Study: SEE/CHANGE

Urban Land Institute Advisory Services Panel Report for Collier County, Florida | January 29 to February 3, 2017.

Trump Fans And Foes Break Bread At Washington Dinner Party

WAMU | Carmel Delshad | March 13, 2017

It’s Tuesday night and Philippa Hughes is putting together the finishing touches on dinner. The smell of chicken baking in a cast iron pan floats through the air as water and coconut milk boil on the stove. Hughes is hosting a dinner party for strangers to talk politics over pasta. It’s an idea that could very easily get messy, and maybe that’s only appropriate for an idea borne from a messy presidential election. Read more.

Dupont Underground

On Tap | Monica Alford | March 2017

There are moments in life when you stumble upon something that feels remarkable, and your gut instinct is to hold on tight. As a writer, it’s those moments that can lead to the most compelling stories. On a Tuesday afternoon in late January, about 20 minutes into a private tour of a subterranean streetcar station reinvented as a creative space for the DC community, I knew I’d found a story worth telling: Dupont Underground. Read More.

Encouraging Neighbors to See Eye to Eye

City Lab | Jessica Leigh Hester | Novemeber 17, 2016

A creative placemaking project in Washington, D.C., puts residents’ faces front and center.

Illuminated faces loom large in storefronts and street corners along lower Georgia Avenue NW in Washington, D.C. Some are backgrounded by humming cars, others by chain link fences, or patterned wallpaper. They blink, smile, or turn slightly as wind musses their hair. Read More.


Philippa Hughes: A D.C. Artist Living Like Her Hair Is On Fire

WAMU | Metro Connection | January 24, 2014

Sometimes a fresh start can actually be a work in progress. And that’s definitely the case for 45-year-old D.C. resident Philippa Hughes.

“I think when people want to have a fresh start, they think a lightning bolt is going to come down and hit them, and everything is going to be great, or changed, or somehow different,” she says. “And in fact [my] change happened over a period of time. But the day I was diagnosed with cancer, I can point to as a day that everything did change. So I’ve labeled that day ‘the worst day of my life.'” Read more.

Philippa on the Arch Campbell Show

The Arch Campbell Show | 2013

Why did the performance artists stare at a can of orange juice for a day and a half?

Because it said concentrate.

What did one performance artist say to the other performance artist?

Nothing for eight hours.

What did the mother say when her son said a wanted to grow up to be a performance artist?

I'm sorry dear, but you can't do both.


Scout Mob | September 27, 2011

"And so far, her efforts seem to be working, as more and more arts organizations seek out Pinkline to get its stamp of approval on their events.” Read more.

Ex-Lawyer Learns a New Dance

Americans for the Arts | Philippa P.B. Hughes | July 27, 2011

In 2010, DC artist Jeffry Cudlin impersonated me and toured DC-area galleries on my own pink scooter, attempting to entice gallery directors to dance with him. Why did he do this? Find out more about the project here. Read more.


Creative Uses for Vacant Spaces

The Kojo Nnamdi Show | April 14, 2011

No neighborhood likes empty storefronts, especially up-and-coming areas. Now artists, city agencies, and landlords are teaming up to fill vacant spaces with “pop-ups” — creative temporary projects that generate visitors and buzz. We explore the art installations, performances, supper clubs and craft stores bringing life to underused urban spaces. For more.


The Philippa Collection

Washington City Paper | Kriston Capps | October 22, 2010

The crowd doubles from 50 to 100 between 8 and 9 p.m. Just off an alley behind 52 O St. NW, Philippa Hughes is hosting her 42nd birthday party. It is in most respects a typical Philippa party.

The warehouse interior is painted white, marked here and there by artful graffiti. Inside the space, a studio called the Wonderbox, a DJ in a seemingly sprayed-on navy cocktail dress spins top 40 hits—more of them than a warehouse party would seem to demand. A 9-foot-wide roll of thick, black paper hangs from the ceiling, serving as a portrait backdrop for guests who mug for professional photographers. Read more.



Mike Iacovone writes about US + THEM = U.S.: Finding Ground in a Divided Nation, Curated by Philippa Hughes and Deirdre Darden

Bmore Art | Mike Iacovone | February 9, 2017

Considering the timing of this exhibit, just one week before the inauguration of Donald J. Trump, and considering the title of the show, and the depressing dark cloud that has hovered over Washington DC since November 8th, I expected it to be something very different. I imagined angry artists reacting to the dangerous changes that our country is facing. I imagined protest. What they gave me was a calm and meditative breath that I hadn’t experienced in a long time.

This show isn’t about being angry at all. It’s about coming together. And I was probably too angry to consider that as a possibility until I walked through the exhibit with the two curators, Philippa Hughes and Diedre Darden, who deftly extinguished that flame before I could even finish my “Trump is ruining everything and every day is worse” soliloquy. Read more.

Art Project Examines East of the River Community

The Washington Informer | Eve M. Ferguson | June 28, 2017

On a typically muggy late June evening, a small group of people gathered picnic blankets and tables on the lawn outside of the Anacostia Community Museum, as whirring cicadas complemented the sound of a circular saw and a slim brown woman giving instructions.

”What defines home for you?” performance artist/writer and D.C. resident Holly Bass asked the diverse group who came out for a “Candlelight Conversation” about what community and the concept of home means. Read More.

This Clinton fan invited Trump supporters for dinner. Healing divides isn’t so easy.

PBS News Hour | Rhana Natour | March 7, 2017

Like so many liberals, Hughes had watched Trump’s rise in 2016 with a sense of bewilderment and frustration. As she searched for answers in his victory, Hughes realized her confusion stemmed in part from the fact that she had never held a meaningful face-to-face interaction with a Trump supporter. Read More.

Goodbye Obama, Hello Trump: The D.C Region’s Arts Scene Under A New Administration

The Kojo Nnamdi Show | January 12, 2017

Over the last decade, the arts scene in and around D.C. has been a hot topic for developers, patrons and the artists themselves. The Obama administration displayed a clear appreciation for the arts and brought some Hollywood glamour to the District, including renowned visiting artists. But how much influence does an administration have over the arts landscape nationally and in this region? As the transition to the Trump administration nears, we consider the ways in which the arts scene has flourished in the city and how it might both be challenged and continue to thrive in the years ahead. Read more.


Lady Collective | May 1, 2015

Philippa created the Pink Line Project to inspire creative thinking in everyone, to build community and connectivity, and to open portals to art and culture for the culturally curious. Her vision for DC: to change the way people view DC, both residents and visitors. DC is more than just institutions and politics; it’s filled with amazing people doing amazingly creative things using art, technology, and good-old fashioned ingenuity. Philippa publishes a weekly subscriber-based email that highlights the best of DC’s creative scene. It’s about cool people doing cool things.Philippa writes about arts and culture in DC and speaks about the power of art and personal choice to transform your life. She established a reputation for creating inventive and collaborative environments in which people who would not normally have the opportunity to interact with each other gather to experience art and culture in alternative and stimulating ways. She has been a leader in the creative and temporary use of vacant, urban space throughout the city. Read More.

Supernova on Arlington TV

Supernova | 2013

Supernova is a performance art festival that is an explosion of creativity in Rossyln. It's three days artists are coming from all over the world, over 80 of them. And they are just going to liven the streets of Rossyln with public art and they're just gonna do kinda weird, but really awesome things.

Together, patron and artist endure a live-in, week-long performance art project

The Washington Post | Kriston Capps | May 18, 2011

For a week-long art project that ended Sunday, D.C. collector and patron Philippa Hughes hosted Agnes Bolt, a Pittsburgh-based artist and graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University, in her home. The visit, an art performance, was meant to test the boundaries of the artist-collector relationship. Read more.

Having a Girl Living in a Bubble Inside My Apartment for a Week Changed My Life

Americans for the Arts | Philippa P.B. Hughes | July 29, 2011

For one week, artist Agnes Bolt moved into the home of the very sociable and curious Philippa Hughes to playfully explore the dynamics between an artist and an art collector. With a naive optimism and subtle social critique the project manifested itself with a large obtrusive structure situated within Philippa’s home in which the artist lived.

The presence of the artist was impossible to ignore. A series of rules, exercises, communication systems, and bonding experiences dictated the interactions between the two and video cameras were given to both parties. Both were required to follow the rules but mischief and expectations of an open spirited dynamic was highly encouraged. Read more.


Home Story: An Art-Lover's Sanctuary

Capitol File | Jackie Kucinich | April 27, 2011

When Philippa Hughes went to London last year, she asked Zach Storm to cat-sit—and, if he felt like it, to decorate a wall in her 14th Street apartment. The result: Storm, a local artist, created a burst of colored geometric shapes that dashed across the ceiling of Hughes’ apartment, accented with little pink cotton-candy-like clouds. Hughes returned and loved it.

Read more.


We're Talking With. . . Philippa P.B. Hughes

NEA Arts Magazine | Paulette Beete

Town and Country has dubbed her “a champion of under-the-radar artists” while the Washington Post has called her “an arch-organizer of all things arty.” If you ask Philippa P.B. Hughes herself, she’d probably answer with her job title at the Pink Line Project--Chief Creative Contrarian. In addition to having founded Pink Line—which might be described as part online local arts calendar, part local arts blog, and part presenter of live “happenings” large and small--Hughes is also a commissioner of the D.C. Arts and Humanities Commission, a council member of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and a board member of Barrelhouse Magazine and the Arlington (Virginia) Arts Center, just to name a few of her credentials. Read more.