Vibrant arts community in River East neighborhoods
I moderated a panel discussion last night at the Anacostia Community Museum on the topic of future possibilities for the arts in East-of-the-River communities, which basically encompasses Wards 7 and 8. Our terrific panelists spoke about the impact that arts can have on economic development and community building. The really interesting part, however, came during the Q&A from the audience.
What I learned about the Ward 7 and 8 artist community: it's passionate and strong and committed to making great things happen east of the river. I felt inspired by the power of homegrown, grassroots action.
Some of the wonderful arts efforts that are happening east of the river right now:
- East of the River consolidates information about all artists working and living in Wards 7 and 8. It's run by DCCAH arts commissioners Tendani Mpulubusi and Marvin Bowser.
- Nikki Peele does a great job of consolidating all the blogs about River East HERE.
- Wanda Aikens runs the Ward 7 Arts Collaborative. They now have a space at 3938 Benning Road, NE. I'm going over there for lunch in a couple weeks and will report back on my visit.
- Amber Robles-Gordon is the president of Black Artists of DC, which showcases member exhibits and accomplishments and provides great info about opportunities.
I know there are lots more out there who weren't able to make the meeting. I'd love to hear from you!
The Anacostia Community Museum (ACM) is a wonderful neighborhood resource. Besides great exhibits, they also offer their meeting space free of charge to anyone who wants to use it.
The ACM is hosting a series of forums on "Community Development and the Arts: Future Possibilities for the East of the River Communities." Some of the questions they'll be answering going forward:
- Creation of an arts district in old Anacostia?
- Inclusion of an arts plan for the development of Barry Farms and Poplar Point?
- Creation of an arts avenue in SE?
Thank you panelists for taking the time to be part of the lively discussion last night!
- Martine Combal, Manager, Property Disposition and Acquisition Division, Department of Housing and Community Development.
- Juanita Britton, CEO, BZB Public Relations and Marketing Consultants.
- Edmond Fleet, Executive Director, THEARC.
- Duane Gautier, CEO, ARCH Development Corporation.
- Ayris Scales, Interim Director, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities
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