Buck Downs is a poet and writer living in Washington DC. His books include Marijuana Softdrink, Ladies Love Outlaws, and Ain’t Got All Night. He helped to develop DCAC’s Spring fundraiser, The Experience Auction, and is currently developing a roving micro-performance series called PlatMobDC (


Patrick McDonough is an artist originally from Madison, WI, now living and working in Washington DC.  His work has been exhibited widely at such venues as the American University Art Museum at the Katzen Center, Flashpoint Gallery, Conner Contemporary Art, Vox Populi, and Civilian Art Projects, and has been covered in publications such as the Washington Post, DC Magazine and DCist.  Forthcoming projects include [ ], a collaboration with Matias Cuevas at Porch Projects, Medium of Exchange at Towson University, and the Public Art Residency Program at Socrates Sculpture Park.   McDonough holds an MFA from George Washington University and a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


While it’s hard to believe now, in high school Karen Joan Topping was a three-season varsity athlete who has actually competed in at least one true decathlon.  Currently, she is a multidisciplinary artist whose work incorporates all of the mediums included in the DC Art Decathlon.  She holds an MFA in Sculpture from University of the Arts, a BFA in Painting from American University and has studied film in the Czech Republic.  She has worked with many collaborative groups in Washington, DC, including The Theatre Conspiracy, District of Ladies, kioskdc and DCAC’s Sparkplug.  She is a current member of the DC Arts Center Visual Art Committee – the committee that collectively imagined this wild competition.  She’s looking forward to analyzing this first group of DCAC decathletes from the bench.


Hays and Ryan Holladay are DC-area natives and together comprise the experimental music duo, Bluebrain. They’ve created site specific works around the city and have been commissioned to design sound installations and programs for the Smithsonian, The Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Phillips Collection to name a few. Their latest project, a location-aware album designed as a smartphone app, has been covered by national and international press, including The Washington Post, WIRED Magazine, Time Magazine, Fast Company, NPR’s All Things Considered, BBC World Servce among others. They returned to Washington a few years ago after having moved to New York for school (Columbia University and NYU). This summer finds the two of them spending a great deal of time back in New York as they prepare to release their next location-aware album, designed for Central Park.

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