The gallery’s owners have figured out a way around the restrictive drug laws in Washington, DC.
What do you get when you cross a gallery selling artworks by a virtuoso dog with a marijuana dispensary? Why, the District Derp gallery in Washington, DC, of course.
The gallery, which promises “exceptional art for elevated minds,” has a clever business model. In Washington, personally owning and gifting marijuana are legal, but selling it outside of a licensed medical dispensary is not.
So the owners of the gallery have taken advantage of a little loophole: they sell artworks and offer weed as a free gimme with the purchase of every picture.
“Any cannabis provided to a customer is provided solely as a token of our appreciation,” according to the gallery’s online FAQ.
And did we mention that the art is all created by the owners’ adorable dog, a four-year-old Alaskan Klee Kai named Sudo?
“Part of the reason why we were able to link cannabis and Sudo’s art is that there is no set value on art,” company co-owner Anais Hayes told Business Insider. “Art can be worth anything to anyone.”
The shop is the brainchild of Hayes, a project manager at an NGO, and Christopher Licata, a software engineer at a large bank. And though the couple have no art market background, they have still figured out a way to frame Sudo’s works, which are sold as prints.
A composition featuring two paw prints—one green, one pink—is compared to works by Andy Warhol and his famed Campbell’s Soup cans: “This simple work asks the controversial question of what art actually is, allowing the observer to make that decision for themselves.” Another work, titled Mardi Gras, is said to be “reminiscent of a Monet,” while Fast Times might appeal to those who “love Pollock and primary colors.”
Hayes and Licata trained Sudo to paint after noticing how much she loved to carry sticks. The couple built a custom t-shaped tool using a wooden dowel with a paintbrush at the end that allows Sudo to look at the canvas while she works. Each unique work takes 15 to 20 minutes—plus plenty of salami treats for the artist—to make.
“The result is a modern canine spin on abstract expressionism,” enthused the Washington City Paper.
Of course, the main event here is the weed, and the prices reflect that. A $55 painting comes with a 3.5-gram gift, while you get one ounce of weed—the maximum amount you can hold by law—with a $330 painting.
But don’t expect to rush out to District Derp too soon: whereas licensed medical dispensaries are considered essential businesses, art galleries such as District Derp are not, and will remain closed through at least May 15.