Office of Planning, Government of the District of Columbia

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

Brookland is an old, established neighborhood in the northeast component of Ward 5 in the District of Columbia.  Originally known for its farmland and pastures in the 19th century, much of the residential development took place after World War II.  It is a very diverse community both racially and economically with eclectic architecture expressed in the style of the homes and building facades in the commercial area.

Brookland is an emerging creative neighborhood and is the home to nationally and locally known performing artists.  There is an amazing cross-section of creatives residing in the Brookland neighborhood.  Currently the arts and cultural assets of the Brookland community total more than fifty (50).  Many of the local artists residing in Brookland are former professors from Catholic University who settled in Brookland over the years.  Other artists were drawn to the community because of the affordable rents, and large industrial warehouse spaces conducive to the creative and performing arts.

Brookland is the home to major cultural institutions such as Catholic University of America, which has performing and visual arts division, and Dance Place.  The mission of Dance Place is to transform lives through performing arts and creative education programs that inspire personal growth, professional success, physical wellness and community engagement. Through truly affordable and free programs, Dance Place serves diverse audiences, artists, students, families, adults and children in the greater DC Metropolitan area.  Additional community organizations that could be involved in the Brookland Arts and Culture Temporium include:  The Brookland Civic Association, The Brookland Business Association, The Brookland Business and Merchants Association, Wolfarth Gallery, DCTV, Greater Brookland Garden Club, Brookland Heart, Bennett Career Institute, and the neighborhood restaurants.

In addition, the Brookland Artspace Lofts was recently completed mixed-use arts facility in the Brookland neighborhood.  The housing project contains 39 affordable live/work units for low-income artists and their families by providing space in which they can live and work.  A second phase of the project, involving an outdoor reception and performance plaza and renovation of Dance Place’s adjacent facility, will get underway in 2012. We expect that some of the artists living in Brookland Artspace will participate in the Brookland Arts and Culture Temporium.

Brookland is currently undergoing a branding exercise to create an identity for the community making it even more desirable and marketable destination.   The Brookland Arts and Culture Temporium will provide a great opportunity to showcase the new logo and tag line which will be launched by the end  the year.    The Brookland neighborhood has an established Implementation Taskforce that was created during the small area planning process.   OP will work with the Implementation Taskforce, which includes the neighborhood cultural institutions, to develop and implement the Arts and Culture Temporium in Brookland.   Project design and development will occur November 2011– January2012 and project implementation will occur in late Spring 2012.