Below the Beltway

Women Artists Find Warm Welcome at Studio K Collective

Studio K owner Kirsten McCulloch has curated, displayed, and sold women-made art from her hair salon for years, and she's dedicated to continuing her work!

Draped in lavenders and blues as captured by photographer Amanda Kleinman, the cherry blossoms are a Washington, DC, icon. (Photo: Amanda Kleinman)

Alexandria, VA – Studio K owner Kirsten McCulloch curated, displayed, and sold women-made art from her hair salon in the Fort Hunt area of Alexandria for years, including paintings, ceramics, jewelry, photography, and handmade home goods, to name a few. She regularly hosted open houses to support the local women artists she featured in her shop.

In March 2020, all of that came to a halt, as we all know too well. One year later, McCulloch is more determined than ever to continue promoting women artists, and to do so, she launched Studio K Collective on Instagram (

The “Wise Baby Blue Bird” is from the gifted hand of Alexandria artist Michelle Wee. (Photo: Studio K Collective)

Working as a hairstylist has been McCulloch’s livelihood, but curating art and supporting women artists is her passion. She designed Studio K Collective to bring a large, growing group of women together and to promote and honor their art and craft. “I want to connect people to all different kinds of art at different budget levels and different styles,” she said. “The word collective means community, and the Studio K Collective is a community of women artists.”

Based in Manassas, artists Bo Jia and Alison Alten established the Middle Kingdom kiln in 1998 to broaden porcelain traditions for a modern audience. (Photo: Studio K Collective)

“As a longtime member of the extended DC Arts community, I believe in the care of connection,” said photographer Amanda Kleinman. “Kirsten hosted my first solo photography show in 2014 and has continued to grow and define her art-centered endeavors.”

The vibe of the Studio K Collective is nature-driven, mid-century bohemian., an esthetic that comes through loud and clear in its branding on social media. Anyone interested in the artwork can go window shopping on Instagram and Facebook (@studiokcollective), where photography brings each piece to life in beautiful natural light, often perched on a deep green plant or a Kantha quilt, one of the collective’s most popular items for sale.

Five beautiful faces gather together in Alexandria artist Gioia Chilton’s “Community.” (Photo: Gioia Chilton)

Artists in the collective are grateful to be included. “In these difficult times, it means a lot to be a part of a group of female artists who are making the world more beautiful,” said Gioia Chilton, painter and mixed media artist. “Kirsten’s vision for a collective that collaborates instead of competes is inspired and inspiring.”

Crafted with natural and organic ingredients including plant-based botanicals and pure essential oils, Eve’sentials soaps are a popular item in the Studio K Collective. (Photo: Studio K Collective)

Alexandria jewelry artist Leah Sturgis said, “I am delighted to be working with Kirsten. She has chosen a thoughtful group of artists and I’m glad to be one of them.” Eve Campeau of Eve’sentials agreed. “As a home-based natural soap maker, I’m honored to be a chosen artisan as part of Studio K Collective’s support for women-only businesses.”

This beautiful blue lapis necklace of Alexandria artist Patricia Clarkson sold quickly from the collective. (Photo: Studio K Collective)

Kirsten McCulloch has been working with many of the collective’s artists for years. She also discovers new talent through friends, clients, and online resources. Connecting to an artist’s work that speaks to her sparks a thrill every time. And the feeling is mutual. “I feel honored to be among the women in the Studio K Collective. The caliber of their work and creativity is exemplary,” said Patricia Clarkson of Freshwater Blue.

While it’s been a prolific time for artists, getting their work on the market has been challenging due to canceled shows and events. McCulloch had to re-think her business model and support artists she featured by getting their work online. She found joy in doing so, and that was the catalyst for the Studio K Collective.

The Studio K Collective website is in development right now and should be online in a few weeks. In the meantime, interested shoppers can find the art on Facebook and Instagram, @studiokcollective. McCulloch is happy to take shoppers through the collection virtually via FaceTime and can be reached through direct messaging on social media platforms.

McCulloch is excited about the future of Studio K Collective. It is a longtime dream coming to fruition. Art shows and events will return eventually, and she sees opportunities for pop-up shops as well. She will continue to grow the collective online.

“I’ve always wanted to create a space for different women artists to be seen and appreciated, and to make art available at every budget,” she said. “We should all have the opportunity to collect and enjoy art in our homes.”

Follow Studio K Collective on Instagram ( and Facebook, @studiokcollective. Kirsten is available via direct message on either of these platforms.

ICYMI: The Art of Studio K

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