On Thursday, the Dance Place team, which includes a large group of volunteers, friends, and artists, used the groundbreaking as the first symbolic step to transform the slab of asphalt next to their studios into a vibrant public space.
When the subject of workforce housing is invoked in any discussion, we tend to think of police officers, fire- fighters, teachers and other municipal employees. But there is a national nonprofit organization with an everexpanding footprint and sphere of influence that is enlarging that definition to another cohort its leaders consider critical to a healthy and complete urban environment: Artists.
Dance Place has been awarded a prestigious $500,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation to support the creation of an Arts Park in the now vacant Kearny Street NE Alley between Dance Place and the adjacent Brookland Artspace Lofts. Funding will also support interactive programming for all ages as well as wayfinding efforts in our Brookland/Edgewood neighborhood.
It’s a winning combination: artists plus affordable housing with studio space in which to create; in a project that also includes a gallery or performance space, or with these amenities next door; in a historic building or struggling neighborhood in need of revitalization.
"We’ve decided to bring the gallery/shop over in an effort to focus on art making and streamline our business model. We’re pleased be joining the arts landscape that already exists here which includes Dance Place, The Monroe Arts Walk, and the Artspace Lofts."
Matt Malone, 35, a D.C.-based painter, used to create his canvases in a basement or, as he describes it, “a dungeon.” Not anymore. Malone moved in 2011, and today, he both lives and paints in a studio apartment at Brookland Artspace Lofts. The change of scenery — particularly his ceilings — was a welcome one.
It’s 10th anniversary time for the Capital Fringe Festival, the annual summer performing arts festival that keeps on moving and keeps on staying.Brookland venues will include the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Theater at the Dance Place, the Hyman M. Perlo Studio at Dance Place, and the Brookland Artspace Lofts Studio.
Brookland Artspace Lofts chosen as one of seven signature affordable housing developments in D.C. Affordable housing is steadily disappearing in the DC area, but nonprofits, religious organizations and a host of others are doing their best to fight that trend.
The Cox family leapt at the opportunity to live in Artspace Jackson Flats not only because of the physical space, “but also because of the goal of the building,” Adam says, “which is about connectivity between residents, about creating community.”
Dance Place in Brookland expects to issue a request for proposals to architects in April for turning an alley into an activities, exhibit and performance space. The Kearny Street Alley runs between Dance Place and the adjacent Brookland Artspace Lofts.