The Kreeger Museum is hosting "In Unison: 20 Washington, D.C. Artists," a showcase of new printmaking.

The exhibition is the result of an unusual collaborative effort. Many artists work alone, and may only cross paths in a group show. But this show, the result of an idea of artist Sam Gilliam, put the painters, printers and sculptors together in a studio.

"We asked Sam Gilliam, who is on our advisory board, to do a commemorative print for our 10th anniversary. Sam, because he is thinking all the time, suggested a much more ambitious project," said Melvin L. Hardy, Jr., the founder with his wife, Juanita Boyd Hardy, of the Millennium Arts Salon. The Salon, the sponsor of the show, is a nonprofit, based in Columbia Heights, that promotes local artists and arts education through exhibitions and discussions.

With Gilliam's involvement, 19 other artists were asked to participate. The goal was to have a cross-section of cultures, ages, gender and mediums.

Each artist made five monoprints at the print studio of the George Mason University School of Art.
The sessions, said Hardy, were "really quite a gumbo of energy and creative outpouring. People came with different experiences and approaches. Some hadn't done printmaking before; some are experts. It was quite an informative exercise in how we can look at collaborations."

Then a committee selected the most interesting of each artist's work, creating for the gallery what is called "a group portfolio." In addition to Gilliam, the committee included Judy A. Greenberg, director of the Kreeger, gallery owner Marsha Mateyka and art critic Claudia Rousseau.

"The beauty of the show is it's a combination of artists working in different media and then working with each other in the print studio," Greenberg said. This show is a continuation of the partnerships the Kreeger has established with local art groups. Working with the Washington Sculptors Group, they rotate artists' work on the grounds every two years.

Gilliam has a new print in the exhibition. The other artists are: bk.iamART.Adams, Akili Ron Anderson, Sondra N. Arkin, Paula Crawford, Sheila Crider, Edgar Endress, Claudia Aziza Gibson-Hunter, Helen C. Frederick, Susan Goldman, Tom Green, Martha Jackson-Jarvis, Walter Kravitz, Gina Marie Lewis, EJ Montgomery, Michael B. Platt and Carol A. Beane, Al Smith, Renee Stout, Joyce Wellman and Yuriko Yamaguchi.

The show will be on view through Feb. 26 at the Kreeger Museum, 2401 Foxhall Rd. N.W. Admission is $10. Docent tours are available by appointment Tuesday through Friday. The museum is also open Saturday but closed Sunday and Monday.