Arts District Branding: What’s Next?

by October 13, 2010 at 9:58 am 3,904 0

Uptown Arts Overlay DC Government

Uptown Arts Overlay is the official name given to the area by the DC Government. (DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs)

From Tom Hay

Last month Borderstan reported on the $200,000 grant awarded by the DC Neighborhood Investment Fund for branding and marketing of the DC Arts District centered around the 14th and U Streets corridors. In a series of three public meetings project leaders Andrea Doughty and Carol Felix presented the project goals and the time line for introducing brand concepts to the public.

Panelists presented their visions for the Arts District and the audience was encouraged to provide feedback after the presentations. We thought it would be time to bring you up to date on the status of the effort.

Street Graphics Competition

Next up is the street graphics competition, with deadlines for submissions due October 15. More details on the competition and meeting minutes from thee public sessions may be found at the DC Arts District blog. Street graphics would include light post banners, building facade banners, street tattoos and storefront signage.

Deadline for street graphics competition is Friday, Oct. 15. Three design concepts to be presented at Nov. 1 meeting at Longview Gallery.

The design elements would be installed by first week of December for the public kickoff to the branding campaign. An RFP has also been issued for banner production and installation. The budget for this portion of the project is approximately $75,000.

MidCity Arts District, Uptown Arts District, Borderstan

The boundaries of the arts district on the project map. (Arts District map)

The public will be presented with three design concepts at a meeting scheduled for Monday, November 1 at 7 pm at the Longview Gallery, 1234 9th St. NW. Judging will be completed by November 3 and winners will be on display a few days later.

Poll on Potential Names

Visitors to the blog for the project are asked to vote on what name do you feel would be most compelling for marketing this arts district? The four choices are Mid City Arts District, The Arts District, Arts & Design District and DC Contemporary Arts District.

Choices at online poll: Mid City Arts District, The Arts District, Arts & Design District, DC Contemporary Arts District.

An earlier poll (now removed) with different potential names, showed 17 votes had been cast as of October 11. The leader in that poll was “Mid-City Arts District” with 8 votes, and “The Arts District” a close second with 7 votes. Nobody seemed to care for “Uptown Arts District,” which is the name given to the arts overlay by the DC Government.

Little Involvement from DC Government

Borderstan asked project leader Andrea Doughty about future involvement from the DC Government in the form of naming and governing the Arts District. Doughty explained there is no legislative or regulatory approval process for naming and branding the Arts District.

The project team is solely responsible for executing and branding the marketing concepts under the terms of the grant agreement. Further, there will be no regulatory or governing board, rather some form of non-profit advocacy organization may form to support the needs of the Arts District.

Project Criticism

The project has received some criticism in the press and at the public meetings. Some business owners, who are aligned with the MidCity Business Association, feel their efforts over the years to promote the MidCity name have been left out of the process. A story in The Washington Post quotes some of them who question the size of the marketing budget and the size of the proposed district, which stretches from 16th to 7th St. NW and from Florida to Massachusetts Ave. NW.

A Washington City Paper piece delves into similar concerns by business owners and artists. The Arts section at the new news site also had a story questioning the business interests of some of the project leaders.

Previous Borderstan Stories on the Arts District


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