in the galleries: a visual guide to a shrinking arts scene

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blair murphy’s “footprint aka the lansburgh’s notebook,” a map showing downtown d.c.’s vanishing arts scene, on view through may 6 at flashpoint gallery. (tony hitchcock photography)there’s no art on the walls at flashpoint gallery at the moment, but maybe that’s the point. blair murphy’s “footprint aka the lansburgh’s notebook” is a map of the de-arting of downtown.a photo taken in 1979 of organizers and potential tenants outside the former lansburgh’s department store, which was considered for a humanities and arts center. (karen ruckman)murphy is the managing director of the d.c. arts center, which was never based downtown but germinated from that scene. she’s too young to have experienced the era when galleries, artists’ studios and other arts uses were common in a neighborhood awaiting the transformation engineered by metro, the city’s redevelopment land agency and the federal pennsylvania avenue development corporation. but murphy has researched the subject well, relying in part on the archives of a group that hoped to convert several floors of the former lansburgh’s department store into a humanities and arts center. (that didn’t happen, alt......

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