Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Arts collective The Free Canvas explores DC culture

AU alum Denis Sgouros co-founds online periodical The Free Canvas.

Arts collective The Free Canvas explores DC culture

Correction appended.

Denis Sgouros found his passion for art while blogging for AmLit Magazine during his senior year at AU.

After graduating from the School of International Service in 214, Sgouros turned his passion into a career. He is the co-founder and editor of The Free Canvas, an online news periodical that gives readers an inside look into DC’s art scene and its artists. Its writers cover local shows, direct and edit films, meet with directors of art galleries, cover cultural venues and more.

Sgouros co-founded the publication with George Washington University senior Patrick Smith, a registered arts dealer and antique appraiser. The two came up with the idea for The Free Canvas at Teaism in January.

And The Free Canvas has stayed true to its roots: everyone that works for the publication as a staff writer is an AU or George Washington University alumnus or student.

“We thought up the name for TFC right then and there at Teaism,” Sgouros said. “I recall wanting to include the word ‘Canvas,’ he came up with ‘Free’ and thus The Free Canvas was born.”

The Free Canvas isn’t just about publicizing and promoting the arts. Sgouros and Smith call themselves a “a cultural marketing firm.” The publication’s next project is working on giving art galleries and art venues more opportunities to get the word out and get people to experience the arts.

“[We] offer a full media service package for art galleries and venues in the D.C. area looking for more exposure to the D.C. community,” Sgouros said. “This idea had been in the works for a while, but it really came alive for us when a very well known local art gallery came to TFC seeking to hire us for media sponsorship.”

A page from The Free Canvas. Courtesy of Denis Sgouros.

Along with media services, Sgouros and Smith hope to catalogue all the D.C. metro area art galleries, so that anyone can easily access the multitude of places to discover the arts in their neighborhood.

The latest art scene Sgouros suggests: the Coalition for the Arts of the Dupont Underground. It’s exactly what it sounds like - the Coalition has worked towards getting a network of underground tunnels in Dupont dedicated to the arts. The Free Canvas just received a tour of this venue, and Sgouros said it’s a pretty cool experience.

Sgouros said that The Free Canvas is always looking for students who have found their passion for the art and want to write about almost everything imaginable in the arts realm.

“Although we are doing a variety of different things with TFC, our core passion is to support and promote the arts in D.C.,” Sgouros said. “For the tourist, the long-time resident, the student, the family man or the business woman. The Free Canvas ultimately exists to draw you to the arts.”

Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Teaism meeting happened over a year ago. A previous version also stated that the Free Canvas has published an article about the DuPont Underground, when in fact the duo visited without publishing an article.

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