By Cecile Oreste
Cultural Development Corporation is a non-profit organization that makes space for art. But what exactly does that mean?
This year Cultural Development Corporation will tell the story of what they do every day through a series of pop-up art spaces, two of which are located in the U Street area. The various projects have resided in the city for the last two weeks and will come together on Saturday at their annual gala at Long View Gallery on 9th Street NW.
Cultural Development Corporation created teams of artists, architects and developers to make space for art. Each team responded to a key word–live, work, play and create, which could be interpreted as literally or figuratively as each team wanted. According to Morgan Greenhouse of Team Work, their team took the key word ‘work’ quite literally.
Team Work is comprised of representatives from Lakritz Adler, Sorg Architects and artist Edgar Endress. They collaborated with residents of the Shaw and U Street neighborhoods to create their pop-up project, which plays with the idea of value. They asked residents to provide objects that represent how they make a living in exchange for a Shaw Buck, redeemable for discounts at local outlets like Dukem Ethiopian Restaurant.
The mementos were organized in a wooden crate at an empty retail space below Moderno at 12th and U Streets. After the gala, the team intends to ship the crate with a letter of explanation to a local institution, essentially elevating the value of the mementos.
When asked about how they came up with the concept, Greenhouse said it was a collective team effort. “There were varied levels of physical and intellectual contribution, but it was a constant collaborative effort,” she said. “We thought about the context of the space and what the vacant retail space meant. We came up with the idea of adding value which became central to the project.”
“It was interesting talking directly to the residents when we knocked on doors to collect the objects,” said Endress, who is part of the Floating Lab Collective and also the artist collaborator for Team Work. “The project started as questioning the nature of art in the context of development, but has become more about community and culture–how do you define yourself, what stays and what is memorable.”