The gallery first opened its doors in February 2017 in an old, Brutalist shopping center off River Road just outside Washington, DC’s border with Bethesda, MD. Formerly known as WAS gallery, it mounted 14 well-received shows in two years. In September 2019 it closed its doors in Bethesda and in 2020 moved to Tenleytown in Washington, DC re-branding as Formerly Was. The gallery organizes two exhibitions a year featuring artwork by emerging and mid career artists in a range of media to include primarily painting, drawing, collage, and photography.
Joumana Moukarim is the founding director of Formerly Was. An artist and art collector, Joumana enjoys spending time talking about art and connecting friends, old and new, with emerging and mid-career artists in the Washington, DC area and beyond. Since opening her gallery in 2017, Joumana has placed artwork in both private and public collections. Joumana is invested in long-term and creative relationships with both artist and collector. A native of Lebanon, Joumana holds an MFA in Studio Art from American University in Washington, DC and a BA in Business Administration from Richmond College in Surrey, England. Joumana lives and works in Washington, DC.