Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dear reporters, when covering the Anacostia arts scene it is important to remember...

Anacostia Playhouse: 2020 Shannon Place SE
I love the Anacostia Playhouse!!!!  This past Saturday I checked out a performance of their first full run play, 'Broke-ology' and I had a great time.  I am so happy to see the Anacostia Playhouse finally open for business and getting positive media coverage. They really deserve it.  The playhouse is a wonderful addition to the Anacostia and Ward 8 community both as an arts and culture venue and a community resource. Adele and Julia, the mother and daughter team behind the Anacostia Playhouse are so warm, open, honest, and committed to being a part of our east of the river community that I am looking forward to us working together for a long time.

That being said, I have noticed that some reporters (most of them considered "local") are taking an unusual angle when reporting on the new playhouse's addition to the Anacostia neighborhood. It is almost as if some of these articles are setting up the Anacostia Playhouse as if it is the only arts venue in the neighborhood -- or at the very least the only arts venue worth talking about.

Anacostia Art Galery & Boutique
2806 Bruce Place SE
That's just not accurate. The Anacostia Playhouse joins a group of flourishing and diverse arts and culture venues in the neighborhood. It is unfair (and overly simplistic) to place the fate of the success of Anacostia and Ward 8 on the shoulders of this one playhouse. To be fair, I am probably a little biased because I work for an arts and culture nonprofit based in Anacostia (we were instrumental in bringing the playhouse to the Anacostia neighborhood) so I kind of know what I am talking about.

So that being said I thought I would just post (again) a directory of arts and culture venues in the Anacostia neighborhood. This list is by no means complete but it should give a starting point to some of the neighborhood's gems.  Hopefully those who report on the local arts scene in the future can use this as a little arts and culture cheat sheet to make their stories a little more accurate and diverse.

America's Islamic Heritage Museum
2315 MLK Jr. Ave SE
(photo by David Y. Lee)
I understand everyone is looking for a perspective when writing a story but it would be nice if that perspective wasn't so short-sighted and predictable. These type of one-sided stories set up an "us vs. them" mentality that does absolutely no good for the community. There has to be a way to welcome new projects into the community without ignoring the history and contribution of those who have been here for a while. I've said it once and I will say it again. A lot of this so called "friction" is generated by those who neither live nor work in the 20020 or 20032 zip code.

If you are interested in learning more about the evolving arts scene in Anacostia the Washington City Paper did a good job of highlighting Anacostia arts venue in their cover story a few months back. If you didn't get a chance to read it you should check it out.

FYI -- you can find this list of Anacostia arts venues along with other Anacostia projects and small businesses on my other blog,

And now the Anacostia arts and culture lineup...

2315 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE

2806 Bruce Pl SE

Available for rent: Gallery and retail space and a black box theater! 
1231 Good Hope Rd SE

2020 Shannon Place SE

1800 Good Hope Rd SE

Pop-up gallery & Creative rental space
1231 Good Hope Rd SE in the Anacostia Arts Center!

1411 W St SE

1241 Good Hope Rd SE

Annual art and light festival

1901 Fort Pl SE

1231-B Good Hope Rd SE

2216 MLK Jr. Ave SE 2nd Floor


1241 Good Hope Rd SE (temporary location)
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1 comment:

Alan P said...

This post makes a very valid point. Hopefully all these venues will continue to work together to promote each other, regardless of whether the "local" media covers them all equally.