Community Forum on Community Change

Moderator Andrew Lightman addresses panelists (l-r) Arrington Dixon, Anacostia Coordinating Council, Shareema Houston, Historic Anacostia Preservation Society,  author and journalist John  Muller,  Christina Stacy, Urban Institute, Graylin W. Presbury, Fairlawn Citizens Association, and Courtney Snowden, DC Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic  Opportunity

Moderator Andrew Lightman addresses panelists (l-r) Arrington Dixon, Anacostia Coordinating Council, Shareema Houston, Historic Anacostia Preservation Society, author and journalist John Muller, Christina Stacy, Urban Institute, Graylin W. Presbury, Fairlawn Citizens Association, and Courtney Snowden, DC Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity

On Saturday May 9, 2015, Andrew Lightman, Managing Editor of Capital Community News led a discussion of the socio-economic changes facing neighborhoods east of the River with Arrington Dixon, Chairman of the Anacostia Coordinating Council; Shareema Houston, Chair of Historic Anacostia Preservation Society; author and journalist, John Muller; Graylin W. Presbury, President of Fairlawn’s Citizens Association; the city’s new Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity, Courtney Snowden and Christina Plerhoples Stacy of the Urban Institute.

The discussion began with various definitions of “gentrification” which many on the panel agreed is one of several terms used to describe the shift in a community’s population from a lower socio-economic group to a higher one that often, but not always, falls along racial lines.  Panelist definitions also acknowledged the multiple layers that form a part of the process. Gentrifiers and community members are not always separated by race. Additionally, the built environment of various neighborhoods, varying rates of home ownership, and the rationale behind city policies all play a role in determining the “winners” and “losers” in community change.

The transformation of a community usually involves the conflicting visons of many. Historic Anacostia Preservation Society Chair Shareema Houston pointed out that visions of transformation can fall along racial and socio-economic lines that do not take into account the spirit of communities already present. Arrington Dixon asserted engaging the community is essential in providing residents with the tools and education needed to make decisions that will benefit them in the face of community transformation.  Courtney Snowden echoed his assertion by pointing out, “Having $220,000.00 dangled in front of you can be a dangerous thing. Communities need to be educated on what they’re being asked to decide upon.”


Community Change BArrington Dixon’s emphasis on the creation of an educated, engaged community whose residents are ready to tap into their capacity, knowledge and experience to make the decisions that will best benefit them is only a part of an approach that can mitigate the possible negative effects of gentrification. If the community is to be at the table with developers and respected when decisions are made about its future, Houston stressed, city officials should help it achieve its goals. Such a role on the part of city government would call for a change in the tendency, according to Andrew Lightman, of the city to “give away” property to developers.  Deputy Mayor Snowden saw room for a new approach.  As a city, DC is ready to negotiate from a place of strength, and developers and communities need to be in accord.  The next steps will involve galvanizing all the resources available in communities in order to be more innovative and not falling into the trap of not realizing some of the current problems stem from solutions from the past. Dixon was also optimistic, highlighting the importance of being on time.  For him, the community is ready.  The critical step is to harness its potential, utilizing its historic value and the Anacostia River and park as a source of pride and spirit which can be transformed into job opportunities which will, in turn, create more options and economic ladders, allowing residents to make decisions that will best impact them and the fabric of the larger community.

The audience was made up of a large contingent of  ward 7 and 8 residents whose questions reflected a concern regarding the city government’s role in seemingly giving away not only property but also control over the futures of neighborhoods and an apparent lack of concern in regards to derelict city property.  Other residents pointed to the Anacostia River as an important resource that can be used as an economic and unifying source for city residents. Finally, some residents were curious about any current or pending comprehensive plans for development in wards 7 and 8.   Resident enquiries echoed many panelists concerns involving the need for more community engagement and stronger willingness on the part of city officials to advocate on behalf of residents in negotiations with developers.



Arts Along the Waterfront

#2 look  around by Bruce McNeil

“Look Around”, Bruce McNeil

In the third issue of the Urban Waterways project newsletter, we explore the impact of the Arts on the spirit of neighborhoods along urban waterways. The Arts have long reflected artists’ visions of the communities in which they play a role. Inversely, these interpretations are informed by the world around them, and the natural world, in its various forms, can often be an important source of inspiration.  What are the practical applications of the relationships between Art, artists, and the communities in which they live?

In this issue, our collaborators in Anacostia, Baltimore, and Louisville discuss how Art can be used as a force of social, economic, and educational change.  Local artists, Barbara Johnson, Bruce McNeil, and Terence Nicholson describe the role of the Anacostia River in their art and the role of Art in the communities surrounding the Anacostia. Kristen Faber, a Baltimore artist, explains efforts of The Charm City Circus, part of the social circus movement, to empower, educate, and heal neighborhoods in Baltimore.  In Louisville, The Waterfront Development Corporation discusses how art has played a role in establishing the Louisville waterfront as a place accessible to all and is an integral part of a revitalized commercial and residential area which had greatly improved quality of life for many residents, while Theo Edmonds and Josh Miller of IDEAS 40203 show how the arts can be used as a force by which communities can build a workforce from within.

As a whole, the contributors to this issue demonstrate the power of Art to reflect not only an artist’s interpretation of the world but also its power to shape what the world can be.

Our third issue   UW Newsletter 3

The ARC hosting Anacostia River Festival Fish Bike Parade April 12

konobori children's day

The ARC, which hosts a community gallery and ArtReach workshops for youth and adults at it’s 1901 Mississippi Avenue SE location is planning something special for the annual Anacostia River Festival. The festival, on April 12, 2015 held at the Anacostia Waterfront Park will be the site of the first Anacostia River Festival Fish Bike Parade.  What is a Fish Bike Parade?  Picture hundreds of bikes riding around the DC streets with colorful handmade fish windsocks like the one’s pictured above flying over the heads of the cyclists and convening at the festival to create an above water river display.

Over the next few weeks the ARTREACH will host workshops to create your own fish flags inspired by the Japanese tradition of creating carp-shaped windsocks known as “Koinobori.” The fish windsocks will then be attached to poles on the back of bikes for a flying fish performance at the festival.  The workshops are free and open to all regardless of creative experience. :

Wednesday March 11 @ The ARC’s ArtReach studio 1901 Mississippi Ave SE 6-8 PM

Saturday March 14 @ The ARC’s ArtReach studio 1901 Mississippi Ave SE 1-3 PM

Wednesday April 1 @ The ARC’s ArtReach studio 1901 Mississippi Ave SE 6-8 PM

Saturday April 4 @ The ARC’s ArtReach studio 1901 Mississippi Ave SE 10-1 PM

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 4.18.51 PM

For more information contact Melissa Green, Director of ArtReach at




Throwback Thursday: Whose Art Is It, Anyway?

Art is communal and the creative contributions of artists to a community are significant.  This concept was showcased and addressed by Anacostia Community Museum 1990 exhibition “Whose Art Is It, Anyway? | The Arts in Public Places” (July 15, 1990 – September 1, 1990). With record-breaking attendance and family-friendly activities; this stimulating exhibition attracted both freelance and professional artists from all walks of life.  Various forms of public art representing all four quadrants of Washington, D.C. were documented, which included murals and sculptures as well as personal artistic expressions by way of hairstyles, clothing and jewelry.


An array of workshops and programs associated with the exhibition included poetry, theatre and dance as well as classes by master musician Brother Ah (bamboo trumpet workshop), artist and educator Frank Smith (maskmaking), actor, poet and educator Douglas Johnson (children’s theatre workshop) and ceramic sculptor Attiya Melton (ceramic tile mural workshop).  Notable performances included the Kankouran West African Dance Company, local magician Myklar and storyteller Marvel Abayomi-Cole.


The exhibit concluded as it began – with a collective effort.  A finale mural project, created by the participants, reminded us that art walks, talks and lives with and around us!

De  Vida Gray

Free Panel Discussion on Photo Trends & Evolution Tuesday Dec. 9

I will be participating on an interesting panel discussing Photo Trends & Evolution in our digital age at the Martin Luther King Library Tuesday Dec. 9. This meetup is sponsored by Net2Squared DC.  Please join us and bring your thoughts and questions!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library, Digital Commons
901 G Street, NW, Washington, DC (map)

In this panel discussion we will be exploring how the world of photography has evolved from the days of the film camera to mobile phone cameras. It has evolved tremendously as an art form and as a profession. Camera technology is more accessible than ever. Everyone is a “photographer.” What are the implications of this for both amateur and professional photographers? Media outlets are now crowdsourcing photography from their audience. What does it mean to be a photographer in this age of “phoneography”? The event is free and open to everyone from hobbyist and professional photographers to photo enthusiasts.

o James Campbell, Photographer & Founder of InstantDC
o Joshua Cogan, Documentary Photographer
o Holly Garner, Mobile Phone Photographer & Instagram igdc Organizer
o Susana Raab, Documentary Photographer & Photographer at Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum
o Matt Rakola, Editorial Photographer & DC Chair of American Photographic Artists

Roshani Kothari, Photographer & NetSquared DC Organizer

Discussion Questions:
1. How are things evolving in terms of camera technology–DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, mobile phone cameras, etc.?

2. What are the online technology trends in terms of photo sharing communities, like Flickr, Instagram and other sites?

3. Now all media outlets are about multimedia. NPR has photography and video. An article on National Geographic’s website includes video along with images. What is the role of photography in a multimedia world, and how is the profession being impacted?

4. How is photography being used for social good? Everything from community photography projects to nonprofits using photography to enhance their online campaigns.

These are just a few of the many questions we will be discussing. We look forward to an exciting discussion about photo trends and evolution!

Artist Talk w/Sheila Crider @Honfleur Gallery Nov 15 PLUS PHOTOBOOK Exhibit @VividGallery

Volume by Sheila Crider at the Honfleur Gallery

Friend of the Anacostia Community Museum local artist Sheila Crider has an exhibit up at the Honfleur Gallery on Good Hope Rd SE called Volume. It features beautiful paper sculpture assemblages and mixed media prints.  Sheila is a lifelong East of the Riverite, and participated in several projects with ACM.  Please join her for an artist talk on November 15 @ 2 pm @Honfleur Gallery.  

Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

A sculpture in Sheila Crider’s Volume

Volume by Sheila Crider at the Honfleur Gallery

Volume by Sheila Crider at the Honfleur Gallery


My practice focuses on making objects that challenge notions of decorative and fine art, questioning what real value and purpose these objects and “the artist” serve in the 21st century.  It is centered by study of the varied languages of art movements since Modernism to construct contemporary pictures, using texture, pattern, line, color, form, sequence, and now, volume, with a goal of integrating image, object, and frame.

-Sheila Crider, September 2014


Also of interest is the PHOTOBOOK exhibit at Vivid Solutions Gallery next door in the Anacostia Arts Center.  PHOTOBOOK  asks how the presentation of a photographic image influences its effect on the viewer. How do we consider an image seen in a book that we hold as opposed to a photograph in a frame hanging on the wall? Featuring the work of 7 artists, the exhibit is  tightly curated and offers an easily accessible framework in which to ponder these questions.

In the last 20 years photo books have become highly collectible and coveted objects.  Martin Parr‘s and Gerry Badger‘s history of Photobooks in 3 volumes explores the use of photo books, the myriad way photographers have re-represented their work within them, the changes made in the advent of self-publishing, more affordable methods of offset publishing, and the rise in popularity of the handmade artist book.  The photo book allows affordable entry into the world of fine art collecting. And first and limited editions have been known to appreciate greatly in value. Ask anyone who has their hands on a first edition of photographer Robert Frank’s seminal photo book The Americans.

Kristin Gudbrandsdottir "Faces of the Fallen" handmade artist book at Vivid Gallery

Kristin Gudbrandsdottir “Faces of the Fallen”, KGB press, handmade artist book at Vivid Gallery

The books represented by the artists in Vivid Solutions Gallery’s PHOTOBOOK exhibit represent many of these ways of interpreting the photo book.   Kristin Gudbrandsdottir’s Faces of the Fallen is a handmade artist book utilizing an acordian fold and cut-outs to represent the human waste of war.  Leda Black’s Mimesis examines three categories of objects: plant, animal, and human-made.  She prints out inkjet prints and had them hand bound into a book locally, offering yet another version of the handmade artist book

Leda Black's Mimesis, Palabra Press, inkjet print on canvas.

Leda Black’s Mimesis, Palabra Press, inkjet print on canvas.


Luke Strosnider’s I Wish You Where Here depicts images made during a European sojourn.  His book appears to be one made from one of the many companies offering offset printing in small publishing runs, companies that include  Blurb and MyPublisher.


Luke Strosnider 's Images from the series Wish You Where Here

Luke Strosnider ‘s Images from the series Wish You Where Here


PHOTOBOOK presents the work of Anna Agoston, Jordan Baumgarten, Leda Black, Kristin Gudbrandsdottir, Jay Turner Frey Seawell, Tatiana Shukhin, and Luke Strosnider.

Honfleur Gallery

1241 Good Hope Road SE · Washington DC 20020 · 202-365-8392 ·
Hours: Tuesday – Friday noon to 5pm · Saturday 11am to 5pm

Vivid Solutions Gallery

1231 Good Hope Road SE · Washington DC 20020
(Inside Anacostia Arts Center)
Hours: Tuesday – Friday noon to 5pm · Saturday 11am to 5pm

Honfleur Gallery’s East of the River exhibition Artists Panel Wrap-Up

Exhibiting Artists in Honfleur Gallery’s East of the River show: Bruce McNeil, James Terrell, Malik M. Lloyd, Amber Robles-Gordon, moderator Susana Raab, Rik Freeman, Luis Peralta del Valle, Yvon Fleurival, and Lawrence Green. Photo courtesy of Samuel Margai.

On October 16, 2014 The Anacostia Community Museum (@AnacostiaMuseum) sponsored an artist panel featuring 8 of the 9 East of the River artists exhibited in Honfleur Gallery‘s annual juried show.  They were: Yvon Fleurival, a Haitian-born, Southeast Washington based painter with an MFA from the Maryland Institute and College of Art (MICA); Rik Freeman, a painter based in NE Washington whose murals can be seen at the DC Convention Center and Dorothy Height Library on Benning Road; Lawrence Green, a photographer, filmmaker and DJ based in SE Washington who graduated with a degree in Film and Media Arts from Temple University; Malik M. Lloyd, a SE based DC artist with a BFA in Illustration from the Philadelphia College of Arts; Bruce McNeil, a SE photographer who had documented the Anacostia waterway for years and hosts photo tours of the waterway with the Anacostia Community Museum; Luis Peralta Del Valle, another SE artist and muralist who has created a beautiful mural of SE spots with the Anacostia Community Museum Academy on display outside the library at Savoy Elementary, and who studied at the Corcoran School of Art; Amber Robles-Gordon, a mixed-media artist based in SE with an MFA from Howard University; and James Terrell, a multi-disciplinary artist based in NE Washington with an MFA from the Parsons School of Design and a BFA in Howard.

I can’t stress enough the value of hearing artists discuss their work.  Most artists work from a very personal place, and when they choose to reveal themselves and their inspirations you too may find yourself uplifted as I was, when for example I heard Amber Robles-Gordon discuss how her art employed the energy of color and that she saw everything she did, her art-making – her yoga and pilates instruction – as an integral component of her practice, each building upon the other to inform her work.

If you have the opportunity to attend an artist talk, whether in our East of the River communities or elsewhere, I encourage you to do so.  It’s a way we can all support each other, doesn’t cost a thing, and invariably will inform you and amplify your understanding of the art, and perhaps find resonance in your own life.

A few of the artists chose to share their work and words with us, and I post their images here, with their permission. The artists retain all rights to the reproduction of their work.

Rik Freeman presenting his work. Image courtesy of Samuel Marga

Rik Freeman presents his work inspired during a residency in Bahia, Brazil. Image courtesy of Samuel Margai.

ST. Kitts Field  by Lawrence Green. All rights reserved.

ST. Kitts Field by Lawrence Green. All rights reserved.

St. Kitts Tree  by Lawrence Green. All rights reserved.

St. Kitts Tree by Lawrence Green. All rights reserved.


Seasonal Reflections by Bruce McNeil. All Rights Reserved.

Seasonal Reflections by Bruce McNeil. All Rights Reserved.

I was visiting Kenilworth Park towards the end of summer 2014 and saw this  composition of lotus stems and the sky. The figures represented a salute to the seasons. Spiritually, it feels that every element is transcending and evolving into its space.- Bruce McNeil


Fishing by Bruce McNeil. All Rights Reserved.

Fishing by Bruce McNeil. All Rights Reserved.

This image was an assignment from the Anacostia Community Museum for the exhibition, Reclaiming the Edge: Urban Waterways & Civic Engagement. I was looking for a family activity that involved fishing. This particular anonymous family was fishing along the banks of the watershed of Anacostia River in Bladensburg, MD. They fished for survival to provide the basic need of food for the family. It doesn’t matter that the waterways are polluted. Many have stated, like the show, this is “our river” too. In their home countries, many rivers are more polluted and they fish for survival. What I found amusing was the daughter was taking pictures of me while I was taking pictures of them. – Bruce McNeil

The Creation of Adam by Malik M. Lloyd. All Rights Reserved.

The Creation of Adam by Malik M. Lloyd. All Rights Reserved.

Blackboard Series: The impetus for this series came as effort to educate black people of a variety of propaganda that we have been indoctrinated to through the years via history and religion. Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam has served as a major vehicle to influence billions of people’s perspective of the story of the first man. My intent was to use his very same bold and magnificent composition with text to expose the scientific and historical truth by altering the imagery from white to black. In addition to the full Frederick Douglass like afro of God, included are a few elements stereotypical to black men added in an attempt to make the imagery more distinctively black and digestible, such as the changing of the iconic finger touch into a fist-pump, the image of what could be considered a basketball into a globe resting on text books, indicative of past accomplishments. The most prominent stereotype associated with black men was changing Adams lifeless penis into an enlarged phallic symbol. Added to this school-related composition is “suggested reading” materials from two distinguished authors.

-Malik M. Lloyd

Home by Malik M. Lloyd. All Rights Reserved.

Home by Malik M. Lloyd. All Rights Reserved.

The impetus for the “Home” series came with visits to my Grandmother’s home in Columbia, SC over 25 years ago. The fields of vegetation would take on the appearance of cornrows, a hairstyle worn mostly by black people, and would set the stage for several artworks in the series. In addition to the fields, this artwork includes my Grandmother’s rusting red house and images of the Africa/Egyptian pyramids – another item that I associate with my concept of home.  -Malik M. Lloyd

Embrace Me by James Stephen Terrell. Acrylic on Canvas, 40 x 30 inches. All Rights Reserved.

Embrace Me by James Stephen Terrell. Acrylic on Canvas, 40 x 30 inches. All Rights Reserved.

At the talk I learned that James Terrell’s father is a preacher.  The stained glass which figures prominently in many of his works is a reference to this facet of his experience.

Hey Mr. DJ by James Stephen Terrell. Acrylic on Canvas, 40 x 30 inches. All Rights Reserved.

Hey Mr. DJ by James Stephen Terrell. Acrylic on Canvas, 40 x 30 inches. All Rights Reserved.


-7.Frutos do Mar.rik.freeman.jpg

Frutos do Mar by Rik Freeman. All Rights Reserved

Rik Freeman’s love of Santana and the group’s song, “Bahia,” inspired him to apply to an artist residency in Bahia, Brazil – where he created these two pieces.

Uma Cancao para Pelo by Rik Freeman. All Rights Reserved.

Uma Cancao para Pelo by Rik Freeman. All Rights Reserved.


On Luisius Model by Yvon Fleurival. All Rights Reserved.

On Luisius Model by Yvon Fleurival. All Rights Reserved.


New Work by  Yvon Fleurival. All Rights Reserved.

New Work by Yvon Fleurival. All Rights Reserved.


Thanks to the artists who contributed to the panel and show, and especially to Honfleur Gallery for supporting the work of these artists and many more.



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