Washington Project for the Arts  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Washington Project for the Arts, founded in 1975, is a non-profit organization dedicated to the support and aid of artists in the Washington, D.C. area.

In June 1989, the Corcoran Gallery of Art canceled The Perfect Moment: Robert Mapplethorpe Photographs, which included sexually explicit images. This was in the context of the culture wars of the late 1980s, when Sen. Jesse Helms, Rep. Dick Armey, among others, questioned grant funding for individual artists, from the National Endowment for the Arts, for art that they considered "morally reprehensible trash." Not wanting to let an important exhibition fall to the wayside, the underwriters of the show went to the WPA, who presented the controversial show in its own space from July 21 – August 13, 1989. 48,863 visitors, a standing record, attended the exhibition. There was a seminar about the historical impact 20 years later.

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