Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Urban Turf | One on One: Developing Anacostia Through the Arts

I am so lucky. I am able to live and work in my community.

Go HERE to learn about what I do, and how ARCH Development Corporation uses the creative economy to revitalize and promote Anacostia.


How does revitalization through the arts work? 
Nikki Peele: I think for a community like Anacostia, which may be low on services and retail options, using art as a way to bridge the gap and connect people is very smart. What we saw with LUMEN8 was that we were able to market it across the whole city and beyond. I don’t know how else we could have gotten such a large scale of people and such a diverse group to this community. We don’t have a lot of restaurants, we don’t have a movie theater, we don’t have an amphitheater. What we were able to do is take our strength, vacant spaces of 80,000 square feet [and fill it with artists and craftsmen]. Where else in the District do you have 80,000 square feet on a main corridor? 
Beth Ferraro: As another example, Honfleur Gallery has an annual “East of the River” exhibit that is open to artists who live, work, or have roots in Wards 7 or 8. This year, the exhibit opens on July 13th with 16 artists. 
NP: Those shows do a couple really good things. For east-of-the-river artists who normally wouldn’t have a place to show, it introduces them to these galleries. Also, it’s very encouraging for young artists in the community to see work from people they know. A gallery can be intimidating, especially in places like this where you may have segments of the community who don’t have the opportunity to go to other galleries. The fact that they can go to one in their hometown says something.

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