“Anacostia is emerging as a cultural hub,” says Josef Palermo, who works with the Pink Line Project, a group that organizes events promoting local arts across D.C. Palermo moved to Anacostia in 2008. “At the time, there were not a lot of restaurants, really no nightlife to speak of,” he recalls. “Now, a revitalization is taking place.”
That energy comes, in part, from a flurry of investment by groups such as the ARCH Development Corporation. The organization, founded in 1991 to help the area’s homeless, has increasingly put resources into local arts to infuse new life into the neighborhood. It sponsors three closely clustered galleries — Honfleur Gallery, Vivid Solutions and Blank Space SE — along with HIVE, a shared workspace for freelancers. “We want to draw on local and international resources,” says Phil Hutinet, chief operating officer of ARCH. “We want to showcase what will really become the future arts district of the city.”
That means highlighting works by artists such as Amber Robles-Gordon, a sculptor and mixed-media artist. Robles-Gordon has lived in Anacostia for 15 years. “For me, there’s an energy that I get from the area,” she says. When she paints on her porch, children scurry up and ask what she’s doing. Every once in awhile, she scours her neighborhood for old fliers and scrap paper, pieces she recycles into her own work.
To submit an article or to inquire about advertising send an email to Advoc8te@congressheightsontherise.com.