A Hunger for Arts East of the River

THEARC featured in Elevation DC!

EXCERPT - A hunger for arts east of the river, Rachel Kaufman

Elevation DC, Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A number of arts organizations—many of them less than a decade old—are slowly turning Wards 7 and 8 from “art deserts” to art destinations.But the change of pace is slower than many would like.

The President has visited four times. Music legend Quincy Jones taught a class there. 80,000 people visit each year. There’s a middle school and medical facility on site.

THEARC, or the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. In that decade it’s grown beyond its organizers’ wildest imaginings to a building that many consider their “home away from home.”

“I think this has gone far beyond anyone’s expectations,” says Edmund Fleet, the organization’s director. It is one of a handful of cultural organizations that have opened in Ward 8 in the last 10 years. Along with the Anacostia Arts Center, Honfleur Gallery, and the Anacostia Playhouse, THEARC is helping to bring the ward closer to being an art destination than an art desert. But Ward 8 is home to more than 70,000 people. Another 70,000 live in Ward 7.

There are some that would argue that all of D.C. is an art desert, not just the areas east-of-the-river, and perhaps that’s true when you put our city of just under 650,000 up against behemoths like Chicago or New York. But it’s also true that the arts that we do have in D.C., which are not insignificant, are disproportionately clustered west of the river.

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News Type: 
Outside News