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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

East of the River Reopens This Fall!

Anacostia Arts Center
Ward 8’s Anacostia Arts Center showcases local talent including musicians, performers and visual artists. The center boasts an 80-seat black-box theater, two restaurants (E Life and The Fresh Food Factory), a visual arts gallery with rotating exhibitions and several independent businesses. The businesses include Nubian Hueman, a lounge and clothing boutique; Vintage and Charmed, which specializes in vintage clothing; and Mahogany Books, one of a handful of independent bookstores operating in DC. In addition, Chirokei LLC offers affordable physical therapy.

Outside the Anacostia Arts Center. Photo: ARCH Development

The center is now open during regular business hours from Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and stays open later during special events. One such event planned for this fall is a wellness open house, which will feature producers of local lines as well as workshops and talks by subject experts. This fall, the black-box theater will feature open mic and musical performances by local artists. Stay tuned for the holidays, when the center plans to hold seasonally themed events.

Anacostia Arts Center is located at 1231 Good Hope Rd. SE.
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Anacostia Gallery and Boutique
Buzy Bee is back! Juanita Britton’s Anacostia Art Gallery and Boutique has a new Ward 8 location in Congress Heights. The eclectic business centers on African and African diasporic themes. Britton offers a wide array of products from paintings and sculptures to skincare products, jewelry and even home goods. She also consigns the works and products of local artists and makers. Sales at Anacostia Art Gallery and Boutique help support the community and the local economy.

Anacostia Art Gallery and Boutique’s new location is
119 Raleigh St. SE. Contact the gallery at 202-550-7060
or visit the website for a schedule of in-person events.

Anacostia Playhouse and Theater Alliance
The Anacostia Playhouse and its resident theater company, Theater Alliance, are planning in-person performances this fall.

Anacostia Playhouse is located at 2020 Shannon Place SE;
phone 202-290-2328. https://www.anacostiaplayhouse.com

Theater Alliance is at 202-241-2539 and info@theateralliance.com.

Craig Kraft Studios
Renowned for colossal neon-light sculptures, Craig Kraft creates award-winning works right in the heart of historic Anacostia. Located in a converted rowhouse, Kraft and his team fashion the works in a large studio space accessed from the street. Just recently, Craig Kraft Studios completed a large public art commission which will be installed at the Tucker Road Ice Rink in Fort Washington, Maryland. A studio visit provides a chance to experience an artist’s workshop environment, to see the tools and materials used to create neon and aluminum sculptures and to catch a glimpse into the artistic process. While public visits are welcomed, the studio requests scheduling an appointment ahead of time.

Craig Kraft working in his studio. Photo: Craig Kraft Studios

Craig Kraft Studios is located at
1239 Good Hope Rd. SE
(between Honfleur Gallery and the Anacostia Arts Center); phone 202-588-9655.
Studio hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and by appointment.

Honfleur Gallery
Honfleur Gallery will host a series of exhibitions this fall including one featuring local veteran artists. The gallery is located at
1241 Good Hope Rd. SE (two doors from the Anacostia Arts Center);
phone 202-631-6291; arts@archdc.org.
Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.

Nicholson Project
The Ward 7 venue will offer in-person activities centered on fine arts and urban farming. Nicholson Project consists of a converted residential home serving as part art gallery and part artist residence. Outside, vegetables and herbs grow in a professionally maintained community garden. This fall, the project welcomes live-in resident artist Hoesy Corona, a self-identified “queer artist of Mexican descent.” During his residency, Corona and Smithsonian curator Adriel Luis will create a body of multimedia work that examines how immigrants adapt and flourish despite the challenges found in a new environment. In addition to the fine-art programming, which will include workshops and exhibitions, the project plans a series of activities centered on community farming and food preparation.

Nicholson Project is located at 2310 Nicholson St. SE;
info@thenicholsonproject.org. www.thenicholsonproject.org

Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum
Pandemic restrictions by DC government did not deter the Anacostia Community Museum from moving forward with its exhibition schedule. The organization pioneered the creation of large-scale, weatherproof outdoor exhibition installations. The first, “Men of Change,” was installed at the Deanwood Recreation center this winter and allowed the community to connect with an exhibition while observing social distancing. Building on its curatorial success, the museum created a second outdoor installation for the current exhibition, “Food for the People: Eating and Activism in Greater Washington,” on the grounds of the museum. The exhibition examines food production and consumption while probing the inequities the system produces. With the Smithsonian Institution writ-large reopening to the public, the Anacostia Community Museum’s public programs resume as well.

The Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum is located at 1901 Fort Place SE;
phone 202-633-4820. Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Dec. 25. https://anacostia.si.edu

THEARC’s Theater
Looking beyond fall and the holiday season, THEARC (Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus) will resume its in-person theater program in January 2022 and will feature the following programs:

  • “Young, Gifted, and Black.” THEARC Theater’s team partners with Ward 7 artist/advocates Pour Girls in a podcast centering on community youth in candid conversation about reimagining creative spaces. The program will feature in-person pop-up events on THEARC campus by Pour Girls.
  • “Living History Featuring Animatron Frederick Douglass.” THEARC Theater will showcase resident animatronic historical figure Frederick Douglass. THEARC Black Box is home to the only Frederick Douglass animatron, which recites speeches and answers questions about his life and times with specially curated messages for the Congress Heights and Anacostia communities.
  • “DC Black Theatre & Arts Festival 2020.” Center for Black Excellence & Culture will highlight both local artists and nationally recognized talent.

Visual Art
Through Nov. 26, the ArtReach GW gallery at THEARC will host a solo exhibition, “I Know You See Me,” by native Washingtonian Simone Agoussoye. Presenting work created while in isolation during the pandemic, Agoussoye gives voice to those who are often rendered socially mute. The artist explains that the exhibition is about “seeing and living life as a Black woman, which sometimes is difficult to understand and hard to explain. Through my paintings, I am exposing the identities of Black women of all ages and all backgrounds and exploring how the media often depicts them, while also providing a new perspective by shining a light on their beauty and strength.”

THEARC is located at 1901 Mississippi Ave. SE; phone 202-889-5901. The center is adhering to strict pandemic protocols, so advance notice is advised for public visits.
Theater: https://bbardc.org/thearc-theater
Visual Arts: https://bbardc.org/arts-culture

Phil Hutinet is the publisher of East City Art, DC’s alternative art source. For more information visit www.eastcityart.com.      

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