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TONIGHT: Arts District Branding Meeting at Theatre J

by Borderstan.com — September 13, 2010 at 7:22 am 0

MidCity Arts District, Uptown Arts District, Borderstan

The boundaries of the arts district centered around the 14th and U Streets corridor are 16th St. on the west, Florida Ave. on the north, 7th St. on the east and Massachusetts Ave. on the south. (Arts District map)

The third public meeting on branding and marketing the arts district centered around the 14th and U Streets NW corridor is Monday, September 13 at 7:30 pm. Location is in Theatre J at the DC Jewish Community Center, 16th and Q Streets NW.

A panel discussion will feature Theatre J Artistic Director Ari Roth; Drew Porterfield of Longview Gallery; president of Western Development Corp.; two senior reps of L.A. Inc., an international branding and marketing company in Toronto; Veronica Jackson of the Jackson Design Group; and; and the former head of DC’s Office of Planning.

Topics on the agenda include:

  1. What do you think are the unique/special characteristics of this district?
  2. What does “ART” and “ARTS DISTRICT” mean?
  3. How do you think the district should be named?
  4. Do the proposed boundaries capture the intensity of the marketable arts assets in this district?

There will also be an update on the street graphics competition.

Disagreements Aired at First Meeting

The first meeting was August 31 at Busboys & Poets on 14th Street (see Borderstan’s wrapup) and the second was at the Warehouse Theater on New York Avenue NW.Minutes from each of the first two meetings are available on line at the group’s blog: Minutes from August 31 Public Input Session and Minutes from September 7 Public Meeting. Tentative dates for additional meetings are October 12, 18 and 25.

TBD.com covered the first meeting and wrote a follow-up story, Disagreements evident over ‘MidCity’ branding campaign, which covers concerns voiced by some business owners over the direction of the branding campaign. One of the concerns noted in TBD.com’s article is the size of the proposed arts district along with the identity some business owners feel has already been established for the 14th and U Streets corridors.

$200,000 Grant

Last year ANC 2F-Logan conducted a study to examine the zoning and economic development needs of the 14th, U and 7th Street NW corridors, which the city calls the Uptown Arts District. Among the noteworthy findings of the study was the desire for more daytime foot traffic, to help struggling arts and retail establishments, and the need for a strong, visual brand at street level.

Earlier this year $200,000 in grant money from NIF was awarded and pooled by four non-profits, Cultural Tourism DC, the Logan Circle Community Association, the Constance Maffin Memorial Fund, and the MidCity Residents Association. Approximately $75,000 is budgeted for street graphics, light pole banners, billboards and street tattoos. More information is available from the group working on the branding program at their blog.

In addition, The Washington Post has a story today, “Arts District planning sparks disagreements over funding, marketing,” that delves further into the scope of the project as well as allocation of funds. Several business owners and galleries proprietors are quoted in the article and a breakdown of how the $200,000 is to be spent is explained.

MidCity Name

One possible name for the arts district is MidCity and the working group used the it on its grant application. However, one of the main purposes of the branding initiative, and the public meetings, is to determine what name would be used for the arts district. The MidCity Business Association and Mid City Artists group have been using the MidCity / Mid City moniker for several years. Neither group is officially part of the branding and marketing group.

The boundaries of the arts district centered around the 14th and U Streets NW corridor are 16th Street on the west, Florida Avenue on the north, 7th Street on the east and Massachusetts Avenue on the south.

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