Saturday, February 16, 2013

New Arts Center to Open in Anacostia

ARCH Development Corporation (ADC) announces the Anacostia Arts Center, coming spring 2013 to Historic Anacostia. Designed to be a community arts nucleus, the Anacostia Arts Center will bring approximately 10,000 square feet of creative commercial space to Good Hope Road SE. Conveniently located at the south end of the 11th Street Bridge between Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE and 13th Street SE, the Anacostia Arts Center will bring independent creative projects together under one roof.

Anacostia Arts Center will occupy the street level of 1231 Good Hope Road SE, formally the ARCH Training Center. The property is divided up into spaces connected by a main hall, with common lounge areas in the front and rear of the building. 

Currently under construction, the space will include: a built-out black box theater, the American Poetry Museum Reading Room, the short-term creative rental facility Blank Space SE, a coffee shop & juice bar, three gallery rental spaces, and two boutique/wellness center rental spaces. Now accepting proposals and lease applications: the black box theater, all gallery and boutique/wellness center spaces, coffee shop & juice bar.

Duane Gautier, CEO of ADC, explains his vision for the center: "This project will assist in transforming the Anacostia neighborhood into a place people recognize as an arts destination."

Anacostia Arts Center represents the newest effort by ADC to revitalize Historic Anacostia by providing opportunities for the creative economy to flourish in the area. The organization's work in the neighborhood began with job training, housing, and micro-lending programs more than 20years ago. The focus expanded to the arts in 2007, with ADC's opening of its first art gallery in the area, Honfleur Gallery. In 2009, Vivid Solutions DC Archival Print Lab opened, followed by the accompanying fine art photography and digital art exhibition space, The Gallery at Vivid Solutions. ADC produced its first large-scale community arts festival LUMEN8Anacostia in April 2012 and its return is scheduled for June 22, 2013. In summer 2012 Honfleur Gallery established the Annual East of the River Distinguished Artist Award. The Anacostia Playhouse, formally the H St. Playhouse, relocated to Shannon Place SE with assistance from ADC. It is also slated to open in spring 2013.

Calling it a "natural addition to an already flourishing art culture" in Anacostia and predicting that it will be a destination for residents and nonresidents," ANC Commissioner 8A06 Kendall Graham said, "The establishment of the Anacostia Arts Center, along with the opening of the Anacostia Playhouse and second annual LUMEN8Anacostia festival, will only add to the momentum of Anacostia's renaissance."

ADC's Director of Business Development Nikki Peele pointed out that the location of the Anacostia Arts Center directly above The HIVE 2.0 will be mutually beneficial to both projects. She said, "The HIVE 2.0 is about providing an environment for innovators, visionaries, and entrepreneurs to collaborate and thrive. Having the Anacostia Arts Center in the same building as The HIVE 2.0 is a huge asset in making our space more attractive, more dynamic, and more cutting edge for the entrepreneurs that call our small business incubators home."

With the Anacostia Arts Center, ADC intends to further diversify the arts landscape in Historic Anacostia by providing the space and start-up support for other arts organizations to lay down roots in the community.