Office of Planning, Government of the District of Columbia

Funding Received: 2011
Washington, DC
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
July 12, 2012

The District of Columbia’s Office of Planning (OP) main mission is to guide development of Washington, DC, including the preservation and revitalization of our distinctive neighborhoods. OP’s ArtPlace grant is to develop Arts and Culture Temporiums in four emerging creative neighborhoods, where vacant and/or underutilized storefronts and empty lots would be transformed into an artist showcase/village for three to six month periods. The goals are to activate vacant and underutilized spaces, promote artist entrepreneurship, and community building.

The four Arts and Culture Temporiums are in various stages of implementation and they are having a very positive impact on their community and the District of Columbia overall.  Here is a quick status update on the four projects:

--> LUMEN8 Anacostia
http://www.lumen8anacostia.com - was the first ArtPlace funded Arts and Culture Temporium to launch on April 14 and concluded on June 16, 2012.  It was a great success and the impact of the LUMEN8 Anacostia project on the community is huge.  Several of the neighborhood restaurants experienced record sales on opening day. An established local chain restaurant in DC had a pop-up restaurant for a couple of weekends during LUMEN8 Anacostia and is considering opening up a permanent restaurant in the neighborhood.  Several of the participating visual artists had strong sales during the three month period.

--> Artland Brookland
http://www.danceplace.org/events/artland - Launched June 1 and runs through August 26, 2012 and our project partner is Dance Place. Founded in 1980, Dance Place builds a community of dance artists, audiences, and students through high quality performances, commissions, training and educational program. The Artland Arts and Culture Temporium takes place in five venues in the Brookland neighborhood and has programming every weekend.  This project activates some key vacant sites on the main commercial corridor and will be highlighting neighborhood artists.

--> DeanwoodxDesign
http://www.deanwoodxdesign.com – will launch on July 14th and run through October 2012. DeanwoodxDesign (DxD) seeks to showcase the rich arts, cultural, historical, and green space assets of Deanwood and Ward 7 through a community-wide, intergenerational, and collaborative effort. DeanwoodxDesign will feature workshops, exhibitions, and cultural events that reflect the theme of “design” from four unique aspects: community, sustainability, multimedia, and lifestyle.

-->Central 14th Street
(defined as Spring Road to Longfellow Street)— OP recently drafted a Small Area Plan for Central 14th Street. One need identified in the plan is for more public seating and for elements that improve the quality of the pedestrian realm and serve to activate and enliven the street with elements unique to the area. OP has partnered with the Rebar Group to develop urban street furniture based on feedback obtained through a community design charrette held in April 2012. 

The goals of the upcoming July Design Build workshop are the following:
- Inform residents regarding the range of possibilities for urban street furniture
- Involve residents in the design and construction of prototype, temporary street furniture elements
- Fabricate and install prototype street furnishings that the business owners and OP can use to inform the long term planning process regarding permanent street furniture investments.

Rebar’s blog on the April event can be found here http://rebargroup.org/doxa/2012/05/rebar-collaborates-with-the-dc-office-of-planning  and amazing photos can be viewed here http://flic.kr/s/aHsjz9tAS5

In all four neighborhoods the ArtPlace Arts and Culture Temporiums have helped people see their neighborhoods differently and what is possible.  It has also engaged people on a different level and is helping to build stronger community.  Many of the communities are working to keep the momentum of the Arts and Culture Temporiums going and are using them as a launching pad for other initiatives. In addition, the success of the ArtPlace Arts and Culture Temporiums are inspiring other communities to create similar projects in their neighborhoods. OP get calls weekly from neighborhood groups, artists, and city agencies wanting information on how to get started, the process, and lessons learned.

PHOTO: A temporary plaza being painted as part of ReBar's community charrette. Photo courtesy of ReBar.