Office of Planning, Government of the District of Columbia

Funding Received: 2011
Washington, DC
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
January 11, 2012

Located in Ward 7, Deanwood is one of East Washington’s oldest communities. The Deanwood Strategic Development Plan, approved by DC Council in 2008, provides a framework for public and private investment in a broad range of areas, leading to neighborhood stabilization and revitalization over a 10-year horizon. Some key recommendations in the plan that form the basis for the Deanwood Arts and Culture Temporium project include the following:

1) Public space improvements should incorporate public art, reflect Deanwood’s identity as the "greenest" neighborhood in the District, and provide space for all generations.
2) Provide public art within publicly funded projects, utilizing area youth and highlighting historic neighborhood aspects.

Recognizing Deanwood’s identity as the “greenest” neighborhood in the District, the Arts and Culture Temporium will have an environmental theme and will be centered in and around Marvin Gaye Park (formerly known as Watts Branch Park). Marvin Gaye Park is the longest city park and creek in Washington. With its 3.7-square-mile watershed covering a large section of Ward 7 and Prince George's County, Watts Branch is a major stream system feeding into the Anacostia River. The park was renamed Marvin Gaye Park to honor the renowned musician, who has roots in the area.

The District has made significant improvements to Marvin Gaye Park in recent years. The park improvements are part of the District’s goal of building a world-class network of urban parks throughout the Anacostia River Watershed and to improve water quality, increase public safety and stimulate economic development. Park improvements included investment at two of the park’s four main sections: Heritage Green and Lady Bird Johnson Meadows including a community stage, playground, plaza, seating, public art, extensive landscaping, lighting, and the completion of a bicycle trail that runs throughout the park.

The Office of Planning has met twice with some Deanwood community leaders on the ArtPlace Arts and Culture Temporium project. Potential ideas for the Deanwood Arts and Culture Temporium include:

• Artists could create art that revolves around the idea of a clean Anacostia or Watts Branch Creek to be possibly displayed in the Harriet Tubman Gallery (3938 Benning Rd)
• Create recycled art using materials commonly found in the Anacostia River
• OP in conjunction with DPR can host a “Marvin Gaye Social” in the Park where Marvin’s music is played, artists are creating impromptu art pieces, and the improvements to the park are showcased.
• Youth art programming centered on Deanwood’s African American history
• Showcasing Nannie Helen Burroughs as the first demonstration “green street”
• Highlight and incorporate the Solar Decathalon homes on on Grant St. as a sustainable home model and the newly renovated HD Woodson High School, the only LEED Gold District government building in the city.
• Develop Marvin Gaye Park (MGP) as a Pop-Up Plaza for Arts, Culture and Commerce
• Utilize the closed Deanwood Kiosk as a welcome center
• MGP Inspiration Complex – custom designed complex made of recycled shipping containers to house temporary art, space for various workshops and event space
• Marvin’s Musical Journey – Add temporary QR codes to heritage trail markers and visitors can use smartphones to enjoy Marvin Gaye music and information about his songs.
• MGP Ecology Stage – Monthly concert series featuring artists and musicians. Two concerts may feature nationally known artists.

Next steps include finalizing key programmatic components and budget for the Deanwood Arts and Culture Temporium. OP expects to launch this Temporium in the Spring 2012.