"Duck Blind Heaven"

Note: While I'd like to share a photo of this fantastic painting, a woman named Nancy Childress requested I remove the image or she would pursue legal action. I don't have actual proof that she is the copyright holder but I'll respect the request based on her name being the same as the artists (under the assumption they're related).

This painting by Robert Childress really sums up how my wife and I view the majority of outdoor activities. I'm most at home when it's dreary and uncomfortable and she's quite the opposite. In fact, this scene was nearly played out exactly on a recent camping trip.

Find Your Inner Artist at The Phillips Collection

To say that I knew nothing about The Phillips Collection before visiting would be an understatement. I didn't even know it existed. So after looking around online for some fun free things to do in DC, The Phillips Collection popped up. 

While my wife is an artist and I do appreciate art, I'm not really the kind of guy to visit a gallery without being forced. But hey, this series is supposed to be on exploring new and unfamiliar territory, so off I went.

Getting around DC [efficiently] can be difficult. The gallery is only 2.5 - 3 miles away from my office but I knew getting there wouldn't be an easy or quick task. A taxi might have been the simplest solution but I wanted to keep costs at a minimum so the solution was clearly going to be the Metro.

The closest Metro stop is the DuPont Circle station and depending on where you exit the station, it could be a 2-5 block walk. 

A quick note: The downside to finding a good place to tour on your lunch break that depends on the Metro is that the Metro has crappy off peak service. Sometimes you have to wait 20 minutes for a train and if that's the case, you end up losing a lot of valuable time. Just something to keep in mind.

Luckily the Metro moved pretty quick and my walking pace can border on running for some and I got to the lobby of the gallery in no time. The permanent display is free but if you want to see the special exhibit it's $12. Also, they strongly encourage a donation of any amount and only after a few back-and-forths of 'I don't have any cash on me' will they let you in for free. 

There's a lot to the gallery that I missed because I was practically running through it (worried about getting back to the office on time) and would certainly like to go back and [try to] truly appreciate the art. If I had to guess, I probably saw about 73% in total. 

I forced myself to slow down and made sure to spend a few minutes reflecting on what I liked. Out of what I saw, here are some of my favorites:

  • Pantone on Vellum (Jorge Pardo)
  • Black Tiles (Kate Shepherd)
  • Rothko Room
  • Joseph Marioni
  • Liberation - Tack
  • Rocks at Mouthier (Gustave Courbet)
  • Woodland Rocks (Julian Alden Weir)

If you don't mind being rushed and have at least 30 minutes, I say go for it. But the only way to enjoy art is to enjoy it and while I don't really know what that means, I assume it means something like 'slow down and take your time.'

'Boring' Details:

The Phillips Collection
1600 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009

  • Distance from office: 2.5 - 3 miles
  • Door to door time: 1 hour 4 minutes
  • Tour time: 25 minutes
  • Transportation used: Metro
  • Cost: Free for permanent exhibit but donation recommended. $12 for special exhibit.


  • No metal detectors but you are under constant watch.
  • You are allowed to take photos and they even have audio tours you can do through your phone, but no talking on your phone.