Author Archives: Kadija Bangura

Anacostia Arts Center Announces the Winners of the Resident Theatre Incubator


JUNE 2017

(Washington DC) Anacostia Arts Center is using its 2018 season to nurture the creation of new, innovative, and experimental work, to promote six outstanding theatre organizations and individuals. The Resident Theatre Incubation Project was created to increase the number of theatre companies and individuals producing high quality theatre at the Anacostia Arts Center. With over 30 applicants the Anacostia Arts Center panel narrowed it down to six companies who will fill each category of the incubation.

The levels of incubation were designed to ensure the theatre companies and individuals have support for new work and company growth:

Full Season Residency– This agreement allows theater companies to run their full season (up to three productions) in the Black Box Theatre with no rental cost. The company will receive $2000 per production to off-set production costs and 4 weeks in the performance space.

Full Production Presentation– This agreement allows theatre companies to run one production over a four-week period in the Black Box Theatre. The company will receive $2000 for this production.

Limited Engagement Presentation– Companies and individuals may present a limited engagement production in the Black Box Theatre. This engagement may be 1-3 days in length. The company will receive $500 – $1000 for this production.

Workshop Presentation– Companies and individuals may host a workshop presentation of new work in the Black Box Theatre. The company or individual will receive $500 to develop the piece and agrees to use the Anacostia Arts Center to fully house the world premiere of any fully produced performance of the new work.

About the winners:

Convergence Theatre Company – Full Season Residency

Convergence Theatre is a home for socially conscious artists who wish to spark dialogue between diverse communities through new theatrical structures. Convergence Theatre’s mission to give voice to the voiceless is essential to identifying the barriers to communication and rhetoric that favor the dominant culture. By engaging in an interdisciplinary approach to dramatic creation, Convergence Theatre produces multi-sensory performances that invite a wide audience base, encouraging discourse and dialogue over issues of social conscience.

The two proposed full productions, A New Nation and This is All Just Temporary, ask audiences to reflect on their own inclusivity of individuals who do not fit mainstream criteria, and how language and culture are central to discovering and embracing our intersections.

Theatre Prometheus – Full Production Presentation

Theatre Prometheus is a not-for-profit company of directors, designers, actors, writers, and other theatre artists based in Washington, D.C. Producing both classic and contemporary works, the company shares a goal of exploring and promoting women-focused, diverse narratives. Theatre Prometheus believes in the power of local theater and are committed to providing opportunities to local artists, creating productions both by and for the community.

Theatre Prometheus will produce Soldier Poet, a 90-minute play written by Darcy Parker Bruce, with Arabic translations by Esam Pasha. Synopsis: “In the falling city of Aleppo, two American Army Rangers rescue an injured Syrian woman about to give birth. At a nearby hospital, a neonatal nurse with an unwavering sense of duty struggles to save the lives of infants as her hospital is bombed.” The subject matter of the play speaks to a previously underserved demographic while also striking a deep chord as it relates to current events and concerns.

FRESHH Theatre Company– Limited Engagement Presentation

FRESHH has decided to celebrate novelist Octavia Butler through a play festival, The Next of Kin Black Women’s One Act Festival. This festival pays homage to Kindred by Octavia Butler and examines the lives and stories of Black women in 2218. The company will work with 3 playwrights to interpret Kindred by using one of the characters, one of the settings and/or the theme and create a one woman, one act 10-minute play. FRESHH is intentional on working with artists aged 19 – 90. Their commitment to this goal means they are hoping to work with playwrights, directors and actors across the spectrum of age and experience; particularly to increase the inclusion of elders and emerging artists on stage and in directing and playwriting.

The Tarot Reading– Limited Engagement Presentation

By combining the archetypes of the Tarot and radical vulnerability, The Tarot Reading empowers audience and artist to create and experience encounters that enable them to fulfill their need for true connection, explore their own humanity, and marvel at the powers of variety, synchronicity, and randomness.

The Tarot Reading is anchored in the archetypes of the Tarot. The show is intimate, interactive and interdisciplinary. At the door, 21 audience members are dealt a tarot card from the deck at random. For each card, a thematic microplay of 3-5 minutes is devised by one of seven performers to be performed for and with the cardholder in a sacred space while everyone else watches from afar. The Tarot Reading is ongoing and iterative, meaning each production features seven different performers and twenty-one original micro-plays.

Anacostia Musical Theatre Lab – Workshop Presentation

The Anacostia Musical Theatre Lab highlights the vital stories and experiences of the Anacostia neighborhood, through musical theatre pieces created by nearby residents, in collaboration with local writers, composers and musicians. The Lab aims to reflect the voices of the community and provide opportunities for underserved populations to use music as a means of storytelling, healing and hope. The Anacostia Musical Theatre Lab matches residents with local writers and musicians to develop and workshop two one-act musicals/or song cycles per season. The shows will feature co-writers and performers, from the Anacostia area.

Pocket ChangeWorkshop Presentation

Pocket Change creates pockets of creative change on a shoestring budget! Their production titled Chesapeakaboo is a devised children’s theatre piece. A fish and a fisherman need the audience’s help to save the Chesapeake Bay! Pumpkinseed and Peter become unlikely friends who learn simple ways to help the Bay, taught with interactive songs and dance. Kids and parents will leave this show with a better understanding of their impact on local water systems and the environment. The show presents easy, everyday actions that can improve the health of the Bay. This portable show will feature handmade puppets, simple props, and original songs and is appropriate for ages 5-7 years.

About Anacostia Arts Center

Anacostia Arts Center is a project of the ARCH Development Corporation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating a home for small businesses, artists, arts and cultural organizations to fulfill its commitment to the revitalization and sustainable economic development of Historic Anacostia. The 9,300-square ft. arts center opened in June of 2013 and includes a café, the Black Box theatre, two boutiques, a physical therapy studio, an artist exchange and two art galleries.

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12th Annual East of the River Exhibition

Curator Contact: Terence Nicholson
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Media Contact: Kadija Bangura
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June18, 2018
[Washington, DC] An elite consortium of creative talent, has been selected for a presentation of 3Dimensional work. The 12th Annual East of the River Exhibition exemplifies the creative talents of artists and makers of Ward 7 and 8 in Southeast DC. As a leading force in the arena of artistic culture East of the River, ARCH continues to present art, theatre, music and entrepreneurism for the community. The Honfluer Gallery has firmly positioned itself as a home for fine art and national artists, while Vivid Gallery continues to push the envelope with cutting edge exhibitions from up and coming artists. The Annual East of the River Exhibition has grown in success and notoriety since its inception in 2007.

Curator Terence Nicholson challenged Ward 7 and 8 artists to push themselves further with an expression of 3Dimensional work. Inspired by the rare medium of sculpture embraced by Ibé Crawley, Nicholson felt it was time to bring 3D art to the forefront in a group show, that would provide a platform for Southeast artists. The show highlights the work of eleven artists. Honfleur Gallery will exhibit the work of Craig Kraft, Diane English, Jay Coleman, Lisa Swanson, Luis Peralta De Valle, Lyric Prince, and Malik Lloyd. Vivid Gallery will exhibit the work of Amber Mimz, Jeri Hubbard and Ibé Crawley.

The 12th Annual East of the River Exhibition will run from June 22 through July 28, 2018 in both ARCH galleries. Honfleur Gallery is located at 1241 Good Hope Road SE and Vivid Gallery is located at 2208 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday 12-7PM and by appointment. The opening receptions will take place on June 22 from 6-9PM. A full schedule of artist talks will take place on July 14 from 12-6PM. 
About the Artist:
Craig Kraft
For almost two decades, light sculptor Craig A. Kraft has gained national recognition for his innovative neon light works. Early public artworks include the Falling Man © 1995 sited permanently at the Cell Theatre in New York City. His sculptures have been featured in over 135 exhibits throughout the US (14 solo). Recently, Kraft was commissioned to create a large scale 11′ x 21′ x 4′ scrambled neon “DC!” for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. A member of the faculty of the Smithsonian Institution Studio Arts Programfor 23 years, Kraft received his Bachelor and Master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Kraft is represented by the Seraphin Gallery in Philadelphia. He resides in Washington, DC in the arts corridor of Historic Anacostia.
Diane English
English is a native Washingtonian and as a lover of art, she is inspired by nature and appreciates beauty in any form, be it audio or visual. English considers herself to be a visual artist creating in acrylic, oil, watercolor, alcohol, ink, wire and pastel. She aspires to create thought-provoking pieces that are both pleasant and inspiring. English recently exhibited her work at the Anacostia Arts Center.
Jay Coleman
Coleman has been a passionate arts advocate, educator and professional practitioner for nearly 20 years. He has been commissioned by presidents of two African countries, several universities and, the National Museum of African Art for his portraiture and mural work. He was commissioned to create a large bronze sculpture for Barry Farm Recreation Center’s main courtyard and is currently sculpting 15 bronze medallions for the Howard Theatre Walk of Fame. Coleman served as the 2013 official tattoo artist for the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival and he hosts lectures and workshops on the importance of tattoo safety at local museums and schools. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art from the Corcoran Gallery School of Art and Design as well as a Masters of Arts Ed., HD from George Washington University.
Lisa Duluth Swanson
Swanson has been a Washington potter since the mid-80s. She finds joy in making things useful, touchable, and beautiful. Besides the functional bowls, mugs and plates, she recently explored ceramic forms as canvases for words or poetry. Her collection includes pieces that are glazed in earthy tones, or fired but unglazed stoneware. Swanson has hosted intimate home exhibitions and, collaborated over the years with potters from Eastern Market Pottery, District Clay Center and, most recently Green Line Potters.
Malik Lloyd
Lloyd’s artwork explores the African-American historical and religious experience. His overarching intent is to create work that examines the relationship between historical truths, unearthed by contemporary scholars of African descent and its detrimental and accepted falsehoods. Lloyd aims to promote awareness to these historical inaccuracies.
Luis Peralta Del Valle
Del Valle, migrated to the U.S. in 1985 from Nicaragua. As a teen, he started painting graffiti murals in the DC metropolitan area. The multi award-winning artist was selected as the winner of the 2013 East of the River Distinguished Artist Award. In 2015, he was commissioned to produce a piece for the Beijing/District of Columbia Sister Cities Project, which resulted in a panda statue painted by Del Valle, being gifted to the Mayor of Beijing as a State gift from Mayor Muriel Bowser. Del Valle has exhibited his art at various museums and institutions including The Embassy of Italy, The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, The Historical Society of Washington, DC, and The Vatican Embassy. His painting Blessed Oscar Romero is currently on display in Rome, Italy.
Lyric Prince
Born and raised in Richmond, VA, Lyric Prince received her Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts from Saint Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania and has recently completed a Master’s of Science from Drexel University in Philadelphia in Science, Technology, and Society. Her current research background and interests include pattern design, handmade books, mass-media representation of the mind or body and the social justice applications of art. Her practice is project-specific, it includes digital installations, paper sculpture, and large-scale drawings/paintings completed in live settings.
Amber Mimz 
With a foundation in music, Mimz is a multi-artist. A graduate from the New School University’s Jazz and Contemporary Music program, she has design roots as the offspring of Goldsmith and Jewelry store owner: Jamel Mims. Mostly known for her music production she is producer, singer, songwriter and designer. Her signature pieces from her line 2322, include cork necklaces, dice rings, leather bangle bracelets and beads. Growing up in the city of Washington, DC from artist parents she has an appreciation for many cultures, lifestyles, and music and art. Her life experiences in DC, New York and Los Angeles have influenced her latest body of work.
Jeri Hubbard
Hubbard is a Washington-based sculptor, born in 1940 in Memphis, Tenn. She trained at Traphagen School of Fashion Design in New York City, and the Paris Institute of Art in Paris, France. As a textile assemblage artist, Hubbard uses her fashion design training and experiences with Yves Saint Laurent, Kenzo, and the House of Dior to create exciting new sculptural forms using found objects and mixed media.
Ibé Crawley
Crawley is a self-taught sculptor and storyteller, born in Danville, Virginia is now a resident of Washington, DC. A retired public school educator, Crawley uses her skills to convey visual stories. She is a sculptor in the tradition of Elizabeth Catlett, focusing on the black female maternal figure and heroine, creating a body of work and narrating the African-American story at IBe’ Arts and Education in Historic Anacostia. Whether she is telling stories at the Frederick Douglass House or carving marble sculptures in her studio, she understands that it is the story of healing, wholeness, and resolution that she is sharing with her audiences.
About Honfleur and Vivid Galleries 
Established in 2007, Honfleur Gallery is a contemporary fine art exhibition space located in the heart of Anacostia’s Historic district. Vivid Gallery is an exhibition space opened in 2010, formerly located inside the Anacostia Arts Center, Vivid Gallery has relocated to 2208 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. Both galleries are projects of ARCH, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the creative economy of Historic Anacostia. Learn more at and
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Good As Green comes to Anacostia.

A Vegan Pop-Up for a Food Desert

[Washington, DC.] Anacostia Arts Center (AAC) is thrilled to bring Good As Green to Historic Anacostia. In what has been a food desert for far too long, this nationally sought after vegan pop-up, will undoubtedly bring an alternative experience, to a community that is lacking in healthy options. Throughout the month of June, founder and former personal trainer Najla T. Williams, will prepare vegan breakfast and lunch dishes for customers who have eagerly awaited new food choices in the neighborhood.

AACaims to be a leader in this vibrant residential and, commercial neighborhood, while still retaining its historic charm. In November of 2017, the Center opened its doors to MahoganyBooks, the first bookstore East of the river in over twenty-years. With the same desire to provide much needed resources, Good As Green will join five other minority women-owned businesses within the Arts Center including: Nubian Hueman, Vintage & Charmed Consignment Clothing, The Den Reading Room & Artist Exchange and, Chirokei, LLC.

“In an area that is currently being developed from within and without, we’re embracing the vitality that has always been here, while bringing in new businesses and events that cater to the neighborhood” – Camille Kashaka, Director.

Passionately dubbed the New Black Wall Street, the business corridors of Good Hope Road, SE and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE are growing with young entreprenurial businesses and cultural organizations that serve Anacostia residents and, create a destination for visitors.

Good As Green will open, Tuesday through Sunday. Additional hours may run concurrently with the plethora of events which take place at the Arts Center. The address is 1231 Good Hope Road, SE 20020

About Good As Green

Good as Green, LLC was formed by Najla T. Williams to continually assist others in transitioning to healthier alternatives and incorporating plant-based items into their regime.As a personal trainer, she saw that her clients were experiencing difficulty adhering to the 80% diet portion of the training. She offered to assist them by preparing their meals for them. Many of her clients have successfully transitioned or added more plant-based dishes to their lifestyles. Many of the non-vegan clients raved about the flavors and how fresh the food was, and so Good as Green was established!

Their focus is on changing the perception of vegan food by offering plant and whole grain-based food and superfoods. They creatively remix vegetables and fruit into familiar comfort foods. They pride themselves on offering actual vegetables and fruit, not soy and seitan.

About Anacostia Arts Center

Anacostia Arts Center is a project of the ARCH Development Corporation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a home for small businesses, artists, arts and cultural organizations to fulfill its commitment to the sustainable economic development of Historic Anacostia.  The 9,300-square ft. arts center opened in June of 2013 and includes, a Black Box theatre, two clothing boutiques, a physical therapy studio, an artist exchange and book store.

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Media Inquires

Media Contact

Brendon Miller

Chief Development and Communications Officer (CDCO)
(202) 505-9954
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Anacostia Arts Awarded by NBC4

Anacostia Arts Center Director, Camille Kashaka receives the NBC4 2018 Working for the Community Award.

NBC4 Washington presented the Anacostia Arts Center with a “Working 4 The Community”Award. The award recognizes the Arts Center for its contribution to African American culture and arts in the community.

Last year alone, the Arts Center brought 26,500 people into the Anacostia neighborhood, provided 2197 hours of free programing to the community, provided space for 135 artists and supported 258 small businesses and we’re not done! Anacostia Arts Center is a project of ARCH, a small neighborhood-based nonprofit organization with its entire focus on the economic regeneration of Washington DC’s Historic Community of Anacostia.

Watch the NBC4 news story HERE


Athbheochan: Untranslatable Wisdom

by Meghan Walsh

(Washington, DC) Embracing her Irish roots, Meghan Walsh presents Athbheochan: Untranslatable Wisdom; an Irish Gaelic work which means “revival”. Each of the pieces in the series contain hidden, untranslatable words from all over the world embedded in a flowing and undulating series of three- dimensional relief mosaics of stone glass and other materials including tire scrap and a horseshoe crab carcass. Embedded in mortar and built to handmade substrates of mesh and mortar, each piece is a moment in the vastness of oceans – the vastness of wisdom that evolves with structured intuition.

Athbheachan runs January 26 – March 2, 2018 in Blank Space
inside the Anacostia Arts Center (1231 Good Hope Road SE,
Washington, DC 20020). The opening reception will be held on
January 26, 2018 5-8PM. Meghan Walsh will host an artist talk on February 7 from 2-4PM. Gallery hours are Tuesday – Saturday 10AM – 7PM and Sunday 8AM – 5PM.

A graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honors, Walsh also earned a Master of Agriculture degree from the University of Michigan and a Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate Finance from Georgetown University. She is also a multilingual, owner/principal Architect of MW Architecture, her firm since 2001. As well as Founder and President of AXIS-MUNDI a 501c3 organization, focusing on sustainable design in the US and Brazil. Walsh’s work has been exhibited across the world from San Diego to Ireland; and has appeared in publications such as the Washington Post, Washingtonian and Institute of Architecture Journal, to name a few. With over twenty years’ experience, Walsh has helped to cultivate the skills of other students, as an Adjunct Professor at The Catholic University of America and Howard University.

About Blank Space:

Blank Space is located in the lounge area of the Anacostia Arts Center. The center is a project of ARCH, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a home for artists, arts, small businesses and cultural organizations, to fulfill its commitment to the revitalization and sustainable economic development of Historic Anacostia. The 9,300-square ft. arts center opened in June of 2013 and includes a café, black box theatre, two boutiques, a physical therapy studio, an artist exchange and book store.

Anacostia Arts Center presents: East River Jazz Brunch

(Washington, DC) As a home for arts, culture, and creative expression, the Anacostia Arts Center in partnership with East River Jazz, hosts a monthly series of afternoon jazz through September. Guests can enjoy brunch at the Arts Center Café, before listening to cutting edge jazz presented by regional jazz musicians.

East River Jazz Brunch will take place on the second Sunday of each month, beginning January 14, through September 9, 2018 at 3pm. The event is free and open to the public. Brunch can be purchased at the Arts Center Café from 11am – 3pm. Anacostia Arts Center is located at 1231 Good Hope Road SE Washington DC 20020.

The first performance of this series, will present the East River Collective, an eclectic ensemble of Baltimore-based jazz artists featuring: Craig Alston (saxophone), Theljon Allen (trumpet/flugelhorn), Todd Simon (piano), Blake Meister (bass) and Dana Hawkins (drums). A creative mix of regional jazz artists, that are sure to entertain the residents of Anacostia and community at large.

About East River Jazz:

Vernard R. Gray, East River Jazz curator/director is a native Washingtonian whose career, from the mid-60s to present day has included documentary photography and videography, art gallery curating and management, wearable art designing, oral history recording, and jazz culture curation. Gray’s Miya Gallery project founded 1976, in downtown DC, led the Black Arts movement of the 1970s through 2000s. He has presented more than 300 jazz performances in the Washington-Baltimore region since 2008.

About East River Collective:

Craig Alston is a multi-instrumentalist from Baltimore who is best known as the saxophonist for ‘Fertile Ground’. He has traveled across Europe and Asia, sharing a unique blend of jazz, soul and world music. This broad exposure has allowed him to learn and grow from the various musicians and styles encountered. Alston also performs as an independent artist, playing the saxophone, bass or keyboard. He has played with jazz legends such as Larry Willis, David Murray, Oliver Lake, John Hicks and Jimmy Heath. Alston is the director and instrumental music teacher for the Maryland Summer Center; his program focuses on teaching gifted students the fundamentals of jazz. Although Craig is a jazz musician at heart, he also plays rhythm and blues, soul, hip-hop and gospel.

Theljon Allen was inspired by the legendary Jazz musician, Clifford Brown, to become a trumpet player. He heard Brown perform Joy Spring on the radio and thought it was the “slickest ever”. Allen began playing music around the age of 4-years old, experimenting with the violin. Listening to Jazz expanded his view of music and different possible genres. He’s stated that the trumpet can be a challenging instrument to play and requires daily practice. Allen’s dedication and mental approach, have crafted his skill to its current professional level. Allen’s musical life has been most impacted by saxophonist/ flutist and composer, Gary Thomas. He draws inspiration from Doobie Powell and considers Keyon Harrold as his current favorite trumpet player.

 Todd Simon is a highly sought-after musician, composer and arranger in the Washington, DC and Baltimore area who also served 4½ years for the United States Naval Academy Band. He studied piano and organ with Tim Murphy and saxophone with Gary Thomas at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. Upon graduation in 2007, Todd rose quickly through the ranks of the Baltimore/DC jazz scene. While enlisted, he performed for former Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and astronaut Neil Armstrong. Todd’s 2013 debut CD of all original compositions, Simon Says earned him a 2014 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award and a 2015 Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award.

Blake Meister. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Meister began playing electric bass, later honing his skills on the double bass and piano in college. A member of the first full class to matriculate to Peabody’s jazz studies department, he attracted attention as a student, receiving both the Alice and Leary Taylor and Richard Franko Goldman Awards in performance; as well as multiple development grants. He went on to earn a Master’s Degree in orchestral studies at Catholic University’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music. Before joining the Peabody Conservatory faculty, Meister began as a faculty coordinator in the preparatory division, helping to create a more comprehensive jazz studies program. As a recipient of many awards and grants, his debut album, Septagon was named album of the year by CapitalBop and Washington City Paper. Meister is quickly garnering recognition among musicians and critics alike.

Percussionist Dana Hawkins is a graduate of Berkeley College of Music and a DC resident. During a Master Class session led by Grammy-nominated artist, Meshell Ndegeocello, Hawkins was among a select few students, who were given the unique opportunity to play songs from Ndegeocello’s Cookie album. Her guidance has followed him throughout his career. After Berkeley, Hawkins came upon a fortuitous opportunity in New York City to work with the solo bass/electronic compositions of Evan Marien. The pair worked with Grammy Award winners and nominees including: Jack DeJohnette, Stanley Clarke, Meshell Ndegeocello, Esperanza Spalding; they have also been featured in Modern Drummer (US) and in Bass Player Magazine (US, UK, Japan). In 2013, they released an album titled Collections featuring live recordings.  With their music being compared to the melodies of Squarepusher, the textures of Weather Report, and the tranquility of Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy series composer), this progressive collaboration of bold bass artistry, dynamic electronic production, and prodigious drumming, has paved a new path in electro jazz.

About Anacostia Arts Center:

Anacostia Arts Center is a project of the ARCH Development Corporation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating a home for small businesses, artists, arts and cultural organizations to fulfill its commitment to the revitalization and sustainable economic development of Historic Anacostia.  The 9,300-square ft. arts center opened in June of 2013 and includes a café, a black box theatre, two boutiques, a physical therapy studio, an artist exchange and book store.

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