The historic neighborhood of Anacostia has been home to the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum for nearly 50 years, where it’s focused on African American history and culture. In the past decade or so, cheaper rents East of the River have drawn artists and arts organizations to the area, including the Anacostia Playhouse, which relocated from H Street NE. We explore the arts scene, and what increasing development and property values will mean.
- Amber Robles Gordon Visual Artist
- Camille Giraud Akeju Director, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum
- John Johnson Playwright
Robles-Gordon cobbles together sculptures and canvas collages from scraps of paper and fabric she finds in the neighborhood’s trash cans and storefront windows. She’s shown her work at the Honfleur Gallery. Right now, she has a striking wire and fabric mesh artwork on view near the Deanwood Metro stop. Read More
But as ARCH Development Corporation continues to expand its constellation of arts destinations in Anacostia—the latest is the Anacostia Arts Center on Good Hope Road SE—Robles-Gordon wonders if her neighborhood will still have room for her.
There’s a tendency to see Anacostia, long on talent and struggle but short on just about everything else, as a blank canvas. With the right kinds of art and advertising, the thinking goes, Anacostia can become a hub for the creative class. But who gets left out?