by November 3, 2010 at 8:45 pm 3,898 1 Comment

Uptown Arts Overlay DC Government Arts District

Three potential names and four possible design schemes were unveiled Monday night at the fourth Arts District branding meeting. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Tom Hay

The first public look at the potential logos for the street banners and promotional materials of the Arts District were presented to few dozen attendees Monday night at the Long View Gallery on 9th Street NW. This is the home stretch for the marketing and branding project which hopes to give an identity to the Arts District centered around the 14th and U Streets corridor.

The first few public dialogues were peppered with some pointed questions from neighborhood artists and business owners who felt left out of the process. Monday night’s crowd was friendlier, but the number attending has dropped dramatically from the first standing room only event at Busboys & Poets.

The next meeting is Monday, Nov. 8 at 7:30pm at Hamiltonian Gallery at 1353 U St. NW.

Possible Names Announced

Feedback from the three public meetings and a professional intercept survey helped determine the three preliminary brands: Arts District, DC Arts District and Arts & Design District. Based on the survey the first two were deemed to be the most compelling and marketable brands. The survey targeted individuals from outside the neighborhood, since the goal is to draw new visitors to the area. Additional data is being collected before the final name is chosen.

Based on the survey, “Arts District” and “DC Arts District” were deemed to be the most compelling and marketable brands.

The Mid City name placed last in the survey question as to which name is most compelling.


by October 13, 2010 at 9:58 am 4,396 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.


by September 15, 2010 at 2:47 pm 3,549 0

Theatre J Arts District MidCity

The third public meeting on the Arts District that will encompass 14th and U Streets NW was held at Theatre J on September 13. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Tom Hay

Theatre J at the DC Jewish Community Center was the venue for the third public dialogue meeting on branding and marketing the Arts District centered around the 14th and U Street corridors.

Like the earlier sessions, Monday evening’s format opened with comments from Carol Felix, lead branding consultant, and Andrea Doughty, project leader. A panel discussion followed and the meeting wrapped up with questions and comments from an audience of about 50 people.

Felix again stressed the need for a simple, quickly understood brand to market the arts district and how it must act as an umbrella for the mini-brands that fall within the boundaries of the district (Shaw, Little Ethiopia, Logan, U Street).

Among the commenters were an artist associated with the Mid City Artists, and a business owner associated with the MidCity Business Association.  Both talked about the efforts over the years to build the Mid City name and the positive impact it has had for the artists and business owners.


by September 13, 2010 at 7:22 am 2,170 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. 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’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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