“Culture and community have always been who we are,” says Ramunda Young, one half of the couple behind the beloved 11-year-old online retailer Mahogany Books, which opened its first brick-and-mortar shop late last year. The bookstore, situated in Washington, D.C.’s Anacostia, is the predominantly black neighborhood’s first in more than 20 years—a fact Ramunda herself calls “unfathomable” in what is widely considered the country’s most literate city. Read the full article here.
Anacostia Arts Center is so proud of our resident theatre company Factory 449 on winning TWO awards for Lela & Co! See all the award recipients here.
With Nubian Hueman, owner Anika Hobbs has created something of a safe haven, a space in which black people can celebrate Pan-Africanism and the global reach of their blackness, and do the Wakandan salute in peace. Southeast D.C. proved to be the perfect place for Hobbs to showcase the beauty of black culture in the city. “Anacostia was one of those places where it just felt like the heart of Nubian Hueman, which is community,” Hobbs said in an interview with Live Anacostia. “We felt at home here.” Read full article here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(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 Change– Workshop 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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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.
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
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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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
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.