In quantum mechanics, the Hamiltonian represents the total energy of a system; the sum of both kinetic and potential energies.

Hamiltonian Artists reaffirms and expands upon its originating vision as an incubator for the professional development of emerging visual artists.


To nurture community and increase access to space, opportunity, and resources for emerging artists, through impactful programs and exhibitions.


We envision a world in which DC is celebrated as a vibrant center to experience contemporary art and culture and where well-resourced emerging artists in every community are able to commune, experiment, grow, and flourish.


  • Artists help shape our present and future.
    We believe in the intellectual value, cultural relevance, and creative potential of emerging visual artists.
  • Sustainability is fostered through connection.
    A solid foundation of active community, collaboration, and supportive critique are vital to artists’ pursuit of self-defined success.
  • Keep artists in DC, and welcome others in.
    Equitable access to space and opportunity enriches artists lives, and furthers their potential to create forward-thinking work.
  • Contemporary art appreciation is for all.
    Identify gaps in arts access and mitigate them though arts education and dissemination.
  • Curiosity and experimentation nurture growth.
    We are committed to consistently improving our organizational practices and offerings through adaptability and active dialogue across staff, fellows, and community stakeholders.

On legacy and land

Hamiltonian Artists gratefully acknowledges those who came before us.

We are located in a building that was historically occupied by one of the first Black-owned and -run printing companies in Washington, DC: the Hamilton Printing Company. The company was founded by brothers Col. West A. Hamilton and Percival Y. Hamilton in 1910 and more permanently settled into 1353 U Street NW in 1922, until the dissolution of the company in the 1970s. The building still proudly displays “Hamilton” on the façade. The Hamilton Printing Company produced their own newspaper the Washington Sentinel, which gave acclaimed American poet Langston Hughes his first job in Washington, DC.

The U Street Corridor is historically known as Black Broadway. We are proud to continue the legacy of supporting creativity in the District and honored to do so at such a historically significant site.

We humbly acknowledge the Nacotchtank people on whose ancestral homeland we gather, as well as the Native peoples who have practiced and who continue to practice their culture in the region, including the Chickahominy, the Manahoac, the Mattaponi, the Monacan, the Nansemond, the Nentego, the Pamunkey, and the Piscataway Conoy peoples.

Our history

In 2007, Paul So, an avid painter and a physics professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, founded Hamiltonian Artists with the vision of creating an innovative career incubator program for emerging visual artists.

As a scientist in a highly competitive field, Paul appreciated the tremendous benefits of his post-doctoral training and saw great potential in applying a similar model and combination of professional development training, mentorship and financial support to the early careers of visual artists.

In partnership with Hamiltonian Gallery, a prominent exhibition space in the heart of DC’s culturally vibrant U Street Corridor, the first class of Hamiltonian Fellows debuted during the gallery’s inaugural new. (now). exhibition in 2008.  Since then, Hamiltonian Artists has nurtured the careers of over 100 Hamiltonian Fellows and successfully hosted a series of free professional development lectures and workshops for DC’s creative community. In 2019, the Board of Directors of Hamiltonian Artists chose to merge the two organizations into a single 501(c)(3) nonprofit to better serve the mission.

Our present

Now in its 16th year, Hamiltonian Artists serves as a hub for Washington, DC’s, creative economy and a vibrant center for contemporary art in the DC area. With its unique investment in emerging artists, Hamiltonian Artists provides resources to aid their development in important business skills, professional experiences, and visibility to support and sustain their art career.

Through the fellowship program, exhibitions, studios, artist talks, public events, membership program for art collectors at all levels, and so much more, the organization contributes to the vitality of the area’s arts scene by deepening the appreciation for contemporary art and culture throughout Washington, DC, and beyond.