Dupont Underground Fundraiser Shows Intense Support
The Dupont Underground went above ground at Eastern Market on Friday, September 7. More than 500 folks turned out to help raise funds for this ambitious venture to turn the abandoned streetcar station under Dupont Circle into a world-class center for arts, design, and innovative entrepreneurship.
The president of the coalition behind this iniative, Julian Hunt, said, "This project represents a higher level of public service. The city provides basic services, but this is a higher service that's about changing DC, and reaching its potential as a global city." He thanked the board members of the Arts Coalition for The Dupont Underground (ACDU) and the enormous number of volunteers who put the fundraiser together. Proceeds from the evening will go towards opening up the first section of the 75,000-square-feet of tunnel as soon as possible for event and exhibition space for the District's contemporary arts galleries and artists, and retail partners like bookstores and wine bars.
The music played nonstop for the rest of the night with live sets and videos of the same artists performing in the tunnels projected on a big screen. Alex Minoff on guitar kicked things off by assuring the crowd that this was Friday night so they could feel free to disregard the velvet ropes and jump on stage if they felt like it. Leyland, a realtor and District resident since 1997, was the first one dancing. "Someone has to jump in the pool first. People need to loosen up and get over themselves." Margot MacDonald's soulful vocals in the second set was more the kind of music that made people draw in closer and hold still to listen until the driving rock of The Justin Jones Band stirred things up again.
A few grey heads and cocktails dresses mixed in comfortably among the mostly young and casually dressed crowd. Over and over again, people said they came because their friends told them about it or brought them along. It all goes to show how vibrant the Dupont Circle neighborhood is and the potential for doing more with this key urban axis.
Tickets quickly sold out for the 500-capacity North Hall but more guests squeezed in as others departed. Some people spilled outside onto the park benches or under the awning to talk about ACDU and the local arts scene including Mary Lord of the DC State Board of Education who's currently campaigning to strengthen the arts requirement for graduation from DC schools.
Long lines surrounded the bar all night with many guests sampling the two Bombay Sapphire specialty cocktails, the Bombay Underground and the Dupont Sapphire. The bidding station for the silent auction also drew a crowd, especially for the VIP Tour of Dupont Underground followed by dinner at Urbana with Julian Hunt. To see what's next for Dupont Underground, join the mailing list and find out how you can get involved.
Editor's note: The following people should also be mentioned for contributing to such a great event!
- Live musical performances were presented by DC Setlist.
- Robin Bell and DC Setlist made the music videos from the Underground.
- DJ set by Todd Threats, aka Todd Love Supreme.
- Aether Art Projects Installation and Performance by Eames Armstrong and Carolyn Becker.
- And event manager and PR person extraordinaire Kendra Rubinfeld!
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