Commission on the Arts and Humanities

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The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities online database showcases our District’s Art Bank Collection, a collection of movable artworks loaned to other District government agencies for display in public offices, as well as our Public Art Collection of purchases, commissions and installations of large scale artworks in public sites throughout the District of Columbia. Currently, 40% of the collection is available to view online. The total collection will be online by the end of 2016.

DCCAH provides grants, professional opportunities, education enrichment, other programs and services to individuals and nonprofit organizations in all communities within the District of Columbia. The Arts Commission is supported primarily by District government funds and in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

DCCAH provides this website to preserve, enhance, interpret and extend the reach of the Washington D.C. art community, artists and collections. This is an ongoing cataloging project, so please check back with us periodically to browse new and updated entries.

Art Bank Collection
In support of visual artists and art galleries in the Washington metropolitan area, artwork is purchased each year to expand the District’s Art Bank Collection. On an annual basis, DCCAH releases a call to purchase original two and three-dimensional works of art including but not limited to paintings; drawings; mixed media; prints; photographs; textile art; ceramics; sculptures; installations, and video work. The DCCAH Art Bank Call is open to artists who reside full time or maintain studio space in the Washington, DC and metropolitan surrounding area including Maryland and Virginia whose city falls within a 50 mile radius. Art Galleries who apply fall under the same guidelines as above where represented artists must live or work within these parameters for compliance.

To learn more about the Art Bank Program or how to apply please visit our Art Bank information webpage here.

If your District agency is interested in participating in the Art Bank Loan Program visit our information page here.

Public Art Program
The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities' DC Creates! Public Art Program purchases, commissions, and installs artworks for public sites throughout the District of Columbia. The DC Creates! Public Art mission is to maintain a quality public collection of diverse media and to create a dynamic, vibrant, nurturing community through art and design.

Website Terms of Use
When you use our Website, you agree to the following terms and conditions, which we may revise from time to time. Please read them carefully.

We provide the Website and the Website’s text, images, video, graphics and multimedia files created by us, our artists and other affiliates (“Content”) for educational and informational purposes only. You agree to use the Website and the Content only for purposes permitted by these Terms and any applicable law, regulation or generally accepted practices in your jurisdiction. You may not:

• Interfere with or disrupt the Website, the normal use of the Website by other authorized users, the Content or the servers and networks associated with the Website;
• Upload any unlawful Materials; or
• Use the Website in violation of local, state, or national law.

You may not, without getting our prior written permission, copy or reproduce, in any form, any Content. We will not grant you permission to use any Content for your commercial purposes. We may grant you the right to use Content for non-commercial, educational, and personal use only so long we believe that your intended use may be considered fair use as defined in U.S. copyright laws. Information on the United States copyright fair use law is available at the United States Copyright Office website: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html. If you are not sure about whether you can use something from our website, contact us first.

You understand and agree that you use the Website at your own risk and that we provide the website “AS IS” and “AS AVAILABLE” without any express or implied warranties of merchantability, reliability, non-infringement or fitness for a particular purpose. Also, we do not warrant that:

• The Website will meet your requirements;
• Will operate without interruption or error;
• Content will be accurate or reliable;
• Content will not damage your computer; or
• We will correct Website deficiencies.

You understand that we, our affiliates, Content providers and the District of Columbia government will not be liable for any consequential, incidental, indirect or punitive damages associated with your use of the Website, or for any loss resulting from your reliance on the Website or changes that we make to the website.

If the Content includes links to other websites ("Other Sites") we:

• Have no control over and are not responsible for the content or availability of Other Sites;
• Do not represent or warrant anything about goods or services that you may get from Other Sites; and
• Will not be liable for losses or damages incurred as a result of your contact with Other Sites.

Direct your concerns regarding Other Sites to that website’s administrator or webmaster.

We are committed to complying with U.S. copyright and related laws, and requires all users of the Websites to comply with these laws. If you believe that your rights under U.S. copyright law have been infringed, please contact us immediately at cah@dc.gov.

These Terms and your relationship with us are governed by District of Columbia law, without regard to its conflict of laws provisions. You agree to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts located in the District of Columbia to resolve any legal matter arising from these Terms.

These terms and conditions represent the entire understanding relating to the use of the Website and prevail over any prior or contemporaneous, conflicting or additional, communications. From time to time, we may change the Website, these Terms or the Services without prior notice to you. Changes will become effective when we post them to the Website. We will treat your use of the Website after new Terms are published as your acceptance of the new Terms.

Browsing the Online Collection

There are a few ways to browse the Online Collection:


On the homepage, you can browse curated selections from our collection, such as Highlights.

Exhibitions Page

On the exhibitions page, you can browse current, past and upcoming exhibitions, as well as the artworks from each exhibition.

Artists Page

On the artists page, you can browse artists, makers and cultures associated with objects in the collection, along with relevant biographies and objects.

Public Collections

On the public collections page, you can browse user-created collections. You can add your own collections to community collections by registering on the site and creating collections that are marked "public".

Searching the Online Collection

Quick Search

Using the search box available on every page (quick search) you can enter terms that will search through different information in the collection (e.g. if you search for "portrait", this can return results that have "portrait" in the title or description).

Advanced Search

To search on specific criteria, you can use the advanced search to search within certain data fields. You can search using multiple criteria, such as the term "portrait" in the title + a date range of "1800-1900". If you are not getting any results with advanced search, try broadening your search by removing criteria.

Search Tips
  • You can use an * (asterisk) as a wildcard in searches, to match partial terms (e.g. draw* will return results for draw, drawn, drawings, etc.)
  • Use quotation marks to get more exact results - e.g. John Doe will return any results with John or Doe, but "John Doe" will return results with this exact phrase.

Viewing Search Results

Types of Results

There are different types of search results, such as object records and people records. When there is more than one type of result, you can click on these different tabs to view different types of records.


You can view a set of results in different ways: Grid, List, or Detail view. Use the icons to switch between different types of views. Click on result items to view records in detail.

Collect Panel

Once you've registered an account on the site, you can create your own collection sets and add artworks to them. You can multi-select artworks on each page by clicking the symbol, and this will open the collect panel so that you can add the objects to the collection set of your choice. You can also drag images into each collection set to add artworks.

Info Panel

The info panel, when available, contains additional information related to a search or set of objects.


Why is an image not available?

An image may be shown as not available if it is not yet available in our database, or if it cannot be displayed for copyright reasons.

My Collections

What are My Collections?

My Collections allows you to create your own collections from the artworks available on this site. You can share your collections with others, or create groups of artworks for your own viewing (My Collections are private by default).

You can optionally add a description for each collection set, or add notes to individual artworks.

How do I use My Collections?

To use My Collections, you must first register an account. Once you have registered, you can start creating collection sets and adding artworks to them. You can add artworks to your collection set by clicking on the symbol while viewing objects, and selecting which collection set to add the artwork(s). You can also open the Collect Panel and drag images into the collections you've created.

How do I share a collection with someone else?

If you mark your collection set public, this collection will be visible to others in the "Community Collections" section. The option to mark a collection as public is available when you edit your collection.

You can also view your collection set and copy the url link to share these objects with others. You can view your collection sets by logging in and going to the "My Collections" page or by opening the Collect panel.

If you have any questions or suggestions regarding our collections site, please send an email to cah@dc.gov