From Tom Hay
The last public meeting on the city-funded Arts District branding project took place Monday night at the Hamiltonian Gallery. The stewards of the grant, Andrea Doughty and Carol Felix, made the last pitch of a nine-week design charette that hopes to give a market brand to the Arts District centered on the 14th and U St. corridor.
The project has had three public dialogue meetings, two public design reviews, an online poll, an independent survey and numerous consultations with stakeholders and marketing professionals.
DCAD or A+DD?
The name for the District has been narrowed down to either DC Arts District or Arts & Design District. The graphics for the names present them in their artful form as DCAD and A+DD respectively. We are going to have to wait for the final decision on the name; the project leaders need to make the last round of visits to community stakeholders.
What About MidCity?
In her opening remarks, Doughty broke the news to the crowd that the MidCity name has been removed from use in any part of the final design. At last week’s event we saw designs that included the MidCity name as one of the neighborhood mini-brands. The surviving mini-brands are now Logan, Shaw and U Street.
Apparently, opposition to the use of the MidCity name has won out. Doughty noted that there was pushback on the name from the Shaw area and from Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1). Graham’s constituents in the U Street Neighborhood Association have a different opinion. The group sent a letter to Doughty last month calling for the area to be branded “MidCity Arts.”
The northern boundary of the Arts District sits in Ward 1, while the remainder falls under Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2). There were several comments from the audience expressing disappointment that the MidCity name had been dismissed completely. Doughty and Felix politely acknowledged the criticisms and moved on to present the updated graphics.
No Boundaries Design
Based on feedback from last week’s meeting, the team took the popular “no boundaries” design and ran with it. The design was tweaked, and this week, attendees were offered three variations on layout and graphics. Variations included circles, maps and tag lines that included buzz words like diverse, creative, historic and alive.
Once the design is finalized, production will begin and the banners will be in place in early December.