by December 11, 2012 at 10:00 am 1,984 0


The Season of Giving is upon us. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at eliza[AT]

‘Tis the season of giving, and many of us choose this time to donate our time or money. If you live in Borderstan, you don’t have to go far to find non-profits that serve those in need all-year round. The holidays are a good time to give to the causes that are closest to your heart. We have compiled a list of non-profits in the neighborhood to make it easy for you to embrace the spirit of giving.

You can go to last year’s list for a full description of the non-profits that we highlighted in 2011.

We know we didn’t mention every organization worthy of your donations. If you know of a local non-profit doing great work, let us know about it in the comments section.

New to Our List this Year


  • 826 DC  (3233 14th Street NW Washington, DC 20010) – 826 DC is the local outpost of 826 National, a non-profit co-founded by author Dave Eggers that helps students build writing skills through after-school tutoring, classroom partnerships and workshops. You can make a donation online here. The non-profit also houses a whimsical storefront, “The Museum of Unnatural History.” Advance tickets ($60) are currently on sale for “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” 826DC’s benefit event on December 12 at 8 pm.
  • Urban Alliance (2030 Q Street NW, Washington DC, 20009) – Urban Alliance operates in Washington, DC, Baltimore and Chicago. Through partnerships with businesses and corporations the Alliance matches selected high school seniors with paid internships, mentors and job training. After their senior year, participating students intern full-time and attend professional development classes. The Alliance aims to prepare its students for a successful career and a lifetime of self-sufficiency.


  • Thrive DC (1525 Newton Street NW Suite G1 Washington, DC 20010) – Thrive DC works to end homelessness by providing services and programs that help the homeless and at-risk to achieve more stable lives. This includes basic items like personal care items and meals, and more complex support like job training and computer access.


  • Mary’s Center (2330 Ontario Road NW, Washington, DC, 20009) – Mary’s Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center that provides health care, education and social services to help mothers and their families get healthy and overcome financial and cultural disadvantages. Fees for medical services are based on a sliding fee scale, but all educational and social serves are free. The center accepts monetary and in-kind donations, like children’s clothes and toys. You can also volunteer to distribute guest as the organization’s Participant Holiday Party on December 27.
  • Smith Center for Healing and the Arts (1632 U Street NW, Washington, DC 20009) – The Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, which also operates the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, provides resources for cancer patients. The Smith Center takes an integrative approach to healing, offering programs, classes and workshops on how art, nutrition, exercise and other elements contribute toward a patient’s wellbeing.

Organizations on Our 2011 List

Hunger and Homelessness




The Arts

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by October 30, 2012 at 2:00 pm 3,420 0


Scott Brook at his studio. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at eliza[AT]

Scott G. Brooks has been living and working in the DC area since moving here from Flint, Michigan in 1990. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts at University of Michigan in 1983, and considers himself “lucky” to know he wanted to be an artist from an early age. Although he has primarily worked in the world of painting and fine art over the past ten years, he also works as a children’s book illustrator and works in animation, graphic design and drawing.

Although some themes do translate from his work as a children’s book illustrator into his fine art, he says the process for his commercial and artistic work is much different. He uses different materials when creating the two, which puts him in a “different mindset” for each. His illustrations used to be all watercolor or gouache, but now he creates them using digital programs.

For his paintings, he prefers the more “flexible” medium of oil paint, which gives the artist a long time to manipulate the paint and also harkens back to the Pre-Raphaelites and Flemish masters he admires. Brooks has recently begun experimenting with Spike Lavender, a non-toxic alternative to turpentine used by the Flemish in the 17th Century.

Brooks’ two divergent interests in high-brow, classical art and low-brow, light-hearted cartoons and animation both contributed to his unique artistic style. As a younger artist, Brooks mostly painted in a more photo-realistic, traditional style. “It always bugged me when people would say, ‘It looks just like a photograph,’ ” said Brooks. So, he started to incorporate some distortion and other techniques from animation. The large heads on his figures, for example, are “very common in comics,” he said, pointing to the well-known Charlie Brown strip as an example.

Brooks’ distinctive style has helped him cultivate an audience around the country – and the world. In 2012 alone, he has exhibited works in New York City, Los Angeles, London and Melbourne. He still frequently exhibits work in DC and is a member of the Mid-City artists. Although he said it would be difficult to make a living if he only sold pieces within the DC Metro area, he says the network of artists here is “very supportive” of one another. “DC isn’t necessarily know as an art town,” Brooks remarked, “but there’s some great people.”

Most of Brooks’ friends, however, aren’t visual artists. He doesn’t go to “all of the big art parties,” but he does love to entertain and stay connected to the larger arts community. Many of his friends are performers and musicians, and he recently collaborated with one friend on a music video. Tom Goss’s “Make Believe,” released Monday, October 29, features one-shot animation by Brooks.

Brooks said he has a “hard time settling in” to just one thing and bounces around from one type of art to the next.  This tendency to have a hand in multiple projects and incorporate a broad range of cultural references into his art has developed his distinctive style, but it also keeps propelling him forward in his artistic development.

Now, he says, “things are quiet.” He just opened a group show at Last Rites gallery in New York, finished his first music video collaboration, has plans to expand his illustration work and is just beginning work on a comic with a writer in Australia. His paintings, with their twisting distortion, dark satire and vivid backgrounds, capture the same tireless energy and broad range of interests that continue to inspire Brooks’ career.


Some of Scott Brooks’ work. (Luis Gomez Photos)

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by October 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm 2,605 0


Lucinda Murphy. See more examples of her work at the bottom of this story. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at eliza[AT]

Lucinda Murphy explores profound scientific questions within the finite boundaries of her canvases. As an artist, she grapples with questions such as,”Where does energy originate and how does it convert to matter and back?” and “What is the difference between environment and entity?”

Most recently, she has been addressing a question more familiar within the artistic realm — the disparities between what an object actually is and how we perceive it. As Murphy explains, “An object must ‘look’ very different depending on what is ‘seeing’ it… Right now I am trying to visualize what it means that we can only find 10 percent of our universe.”

Murphy didn’t always have such a coherent vision and clear focus as an artist. In fact, she didn’t go to art school until she was 40. Before becoming a full-time artist, Murphy worked as a landscape architect for 20 years During the first 12 years of her career as an artist, she focused on traditional still life, landscape and other figurative depiction before realizing that “the unanswered questions about the evolution of our universe and us” interested her the most.

Murphy spent most of her life in DC. Her family has been in the city since her great-grandmother moved to Dupont Circle, and Murphy has lived within the neighborhood with her husband since 1976. She has a studio on Florida Avenue NW and also recently started working at a studio in Delaware, where the larger space allows her to work on eight- and nine-foot canvases.

Murphy works primary in paint in collage. She also works with different applications, like needle pens that let her “draw” with the paint and black roofing paper, which she uses as a background that mimics the blackness of most of matter in the universe. In her collage works, Murphy says, she can reveal the underlying importance of layers.

Aside from science, Murphy also draws inspiration from living and studying art abroad. She has lived in Geneva, Switzerland; Beirut, Lebanon; Guadalajara, Mexico; Olomuz, Czechoslovakia; and Xiamen, China. Each place left its on distinctive impression on her artistic style.

Despite her extensive travels, Murphy says that “living and studying in Washington has been the best gift of all.” She cites the easy access to rich resources like the Smithsonian museums and the Phillips Collection, and the local institutions such as the Corcoran College of Art and Design and American University as among the many advantages of being an artist in DC.


Lucinda Murphy’s work. (Luis Gomez Photos)

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