Martha Dunham is a lifelong art lover. As a child, she wanted to become an artist but her parents said no. Artists didn’t make money. So she focused on school, earning advanced degrees in ecology and zoology, including a Ph.D from Brown University. Now, after building her career in the sciences, Dunham is returning to her first passion with force, opening a new gallery on Capitol Hill with her own savings.
“People are excited for me, and I’ve been told I am bold,” Dunham told CHS.
Dendroica Gallery is taking flight on E Olive Way in the same location as the former Blindfold Gallery which shuttered last December after just under three years in operation.
Dunham isn’t fazed by her predecessor’s demise and believes that she can make it work, signing a two year lease. “I got a two year lease because one year is not enough to get established. I’ve watched other galleries come and ago, so I know it takes more than a year to build up a clientele,” she said.
There were several other businesses interested in the space, including a bike shop, according to Dunham. She says the building owners were “very particular” about who they would rent to and believes they favored her gallery because it would be “low wear and tear” on the building. Meanwhile, E Olive Way’s food and drink growth continues. Dunham’s new neighbor, Andrew Friedman has created a new bar and coffee shop next door. Good Citizen opened for private events earlier this year but hasn’t officially opened for business.
Dunham is also a bit of a maverick. “I’ve been known to place artwork in museums and galleries where I shouldn’t,” she told City Arts recently.
Dunham said her gallery’s main mission will be to show art that can best be appreciated in person rather than digitally. This will include “sculpture, cartoons, collage art, projection art, paintings, and two-dimensional paintings.”
The gallery’s grand opening will be Thursday August 13th from 5-8 PM as part of the August Capitol Hill Art Walk.
You can learn more at dendroicagallery.com.