Best Career-Changer

Philippa Hughes
Photograph by Darrow Montgomery

Philippa Hughes had it made a few years back, at least by the standards of a typical University of Virginia grad: She had good looks, an orthodontist husband, and a career in investment law. But Hughes was bored. So in 2003, in the name of helping her hubby set up his own practice, she quit her job and started insinuating herself into the local art scene. She threw parties at her U Street condo, inviting collectors, artists, and gallery types to brainstorm about the local scene over wine and food. She chronicled her adventures on her blog, The result of all her thinking and playing was the conclusion that D.C. needed human connections more than anything else—parties and events that put creative people in non-electronic contact. For that purpose, Hughes’ condo quickly became too small. Though she still holds the occasional, intimate salon, “Philippa’s parties” now take place in larger venues, an empty brake shop on 14th Street, or at the Arlington Arts Center. Hughes says she plans on organizing a more formal series events through the Pink Line Project, an organization she founded to raise money for artists.