by Tim Regan July 5, 2016 at 10:15 am 0

BloomBars, photo via Facebook / BloomBarsAn arts nonprofit in Columbia Heights is asking its neighbors to help fund the repair or replacement of a broken air conditioner.

BloomBars (3222 11th St. NW) launched a GoFundMe page yesterday to help raise the $6,000 needed to buy a new air conditioner.

“Not to be to alarmist – global warming is real (to us rational sane folk) – but it is about to hit BloomBars especially hard,” the GoFundMe page reads. “Our A/C unit went caput this week.”

A heat wave is expected to hit the D.C. area later this week, according to the Washington Post, and the lack of air conditioning could force BloomBars to close its doors on especially hot days.

So far, supporters have raised nearly $1,000 to aid the nonprofit’s cause.

More information from the GoFundMe page:


by Tim Regan August 31, 2015 at 2:00 pm 0

BloomBars, photo via Facebook / BloomBarsMore than two dozen D.C. residents have offered support and donations following a break-in that left Columbia Heights art nonprofit BloomBars with a broken window and missing hundreds of dollars earlier this month.

BloomBars founder John Chambers launched a GoFundMe campaign last Thursday to help recoup some of his organization’s losses. So far, residents have raised more than $1,220.

“There’s been an outpouring of support,” Chambers said. “The things that people have written have really pulled at your heart.”

Chambers added that 26 people have contributed to the fundraiser since it started. Sweet Honey in the Rock co-founder Dr. Ysaye M. Barnwell is among the people who have donated so far.

“Some have lost the art of discernment while some have used art to discern essential truths of what we have lost, what we have gained and who we truly are,” Barnwell wrote. “Thank you BloomBars. I regret what happened, but am glad that I can help art to conquer.”

“I want to frame that quote,” said Chambers.

Chambers hopes to use the raised money to replace the broken window and donation boxes and invest in a new security system.

“It’d be great to knock it out in the next week,” Chambers said. “Then we could get moving.”

Image via Facebook / BloomBars

by Tim Regan August 26, 2015 at 1:40 pm 0

Several recent burglaries at businesses in Columbia Heights and Park View may be related, say D.C. Police.

On Aug. 9, a man wearing a ski mask threw a rock through a window at arts nonprofit BloomBars (3222 11th Street NW) and allegedly took two donation boxes and change from a swear jar. A week later, a similarly dressed man was filmed smashing a glass door and entering a business on the 3200 block of Georgia Avenue NW.

Now, Colony Club (3118 Georgia Avenue NW) and Meridian Pint (3400 11th St NW), just blocks away, say they may have been hit by the same burglar.

Colony Club co-owners Ben Heller and Max Zuckerman say a masked man broke into their business last Sunday.

“He broke in at 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning,” Heller said. “He used some sort of mallet type hammer to break through our back door, which is a glass door.”

The alleged burglar was filmed by surveillance cameras swiping a handful of beers and a bag of tools.

“There was a moment yesterday where we maybe thought it was the same person [as the BloomBars burglar],” Zuckerman said. But the mask and the grainy footage make it hard to positively identify the man, he adds.

“In terms of what he actually stole, it’s probably no more than a couple hundred dollars,” Heller says. “The main expense for us is having to replace the back door, or at least the glass on the back door.”

Meridian Pint general manager Heather Kendrick says her business was burglarized just this morning.

“At approximately 3:40 in the morning, [the burglar] smashed the window in,” Kendrick says. “He made off with some booze from here. Super infuriating.”

Meridian Pint’s surveillance cameras were rolling as the alleged burglar raided the bar and restaurant.

“To my sleuthing self, the guy looks like to be the same guy as the BloomBars thief,” she adds. “Same time, same mask, same gloves.”

The Metropolitan Police Department’s Third District Commander Jacob Kishter said that although the burglaries are “most likely related,” police are still investigating the possible link.

Surveillance videos courtesy of BloomBars, MPD and Colony Club

by Tim Regan August 25, 2015 at 2:10 pm 1 Comment

The founder of a Columbia Heights arts nonprofit had plenty to curse about earlier this month.

BloomBars founder John Chambers says a thief broke into his organization’s art space at 3222 11th Street NW and stole two donation boxes and change from a swear jar on Aug. 9 around 2:25 a.m.

“He threw a rock through the window,” Chambers says. “That guy must be a pitcher or something because he really wound up.”

The organization’s surveillance cameras filmed the alleged crime.

In a video Chambers uploaded to Youtube yesterday, a man can be seen donning a ski mask and gloves, then hurling a chunk of pavement through a glass window. The man then appears to scoop up loose change from an overturned jar and nab two metal donation boxes.

“He probably made away with and three hundred dollars, and the window was about three hundred and fifty to four hundred dollars,” Chambers says. “We’re coming up onto Columbia Heights day, we need to get brochures printed and there’s a lot that needs to happen. That’s seven or eight hundred dollars we don’t have now.”

Chambers says he reported the theft to police, but hasn’t heard if any arrests were made.

A spokesperson for D.C. Police was not available to provide more information about the crime.

In the time since the burglary occurred, the chunk of cement thrown by the burglar and the window it broke have both been turned into art installations on display at the gallery.

BloomBars will launch a crowdfunding campaign to recoup some its losses later this week, Chambers says.

Video via BloomBars


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