by Borderstan.com November 10, 2010 at 7:00 am 1,659 3 Comments

MidCity Arts District, Uptown Arts District,

One of three logo design options. The final public meeting on the branding of the arts district was Monday night. (Tom Hay)

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.

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by Borderstan.com October 13, 2010 at 9:58 am 2,420 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.

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by Borderstan.com September 21, 2010 at 2:33 am 1,036 0

At 14th and P NW is the Mid City Deli, which is also called the Mid City Fish Market on the P Street sign. The MidCity Caffe opened more recently on 14th between Corcoran and R Streets NW. But there’s more! (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Tom Hay

The recent branding meetings for the Arts District centered around 14th and U NW includes discussion on a name for the district. The boundaries of the proposed Arts District stretch from 16th to 7th Street NW and from Florida to Massachusetts Avenue NW.

Among the potential names that have been tossed around is “Mid City” or “MidCity.”  The Mid City name is familiar to many in the Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods, since it is used frequently to identify with the 14th and U Street corridors.

So, we thought is would be a good time to give you a “Guide to all the Mid Cities” or perhaps it’s “MidCities.” Here is some background on the organizations, businesses, and even a blog, who have adopted the Mid City/MidCity name.

We would love to hear your thoughts on what the name means to you, how it should be written–and please let us know if we have left anyone out.

Mid City Artists – Nearly 40 artists who call Dupont and Logan Circle their home formed this group to promote their artwork and the neighborhood where they live. Mid City Artists sponsors a twice yearly “Open Studios,” which give visitors an opportunity to see the unique studio spaces in the area. The next one is November 6-7.

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by Borderstan.com September 15, 2010 at 2:47 pm 1,924 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.

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by Borderstan.com September 13, 2010 at 7:22 am 1,361 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.

TBD.com 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 TBD.com’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.

by Borderstan.com September 8, 2010 at 8:29 pm 1,363 1 Comment

14th Street NW Logan Circle Peregrine Espresso

Peregrine Espresso’s 14th Street store is slated to open this winter. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Tom Hay

Logan Circle coffee lovers will be happy to learn that Peregrine Espresso will be opening in the former Flowers on Fourteenth location at 1718 14th Street NW. Flowers on Fourteenth moved to larger digs a few doors down at 1712 14th Street, just a couple of months ago.

Peregrine Espresso has been operating a Capitol Hill location for about two years. Owner Ryan Jensen said he expects the 14th Street location to open sometime this winter. The storefront will have about a dozen seats and the menu will include espresso, filter drip, a few coffee micro brews, pastries and desserts.

One interesting service offered at the Capitol Hill location is the “Pedaler” service, which delivers whole bean coffee to your doorstep. Once the build out of the space is further along, Jensen will gauge interest in that service for Logan Circle. Jensen said, “the 14th St corridor has so many unique and excellent small businesses and we hope to contribute to that community.”

There seems to be a growing trend of independent coffee houses opening up in the Dupont and Logan circle neighborhoods.   About a year ago MidCity Caffe opened above Miss Pixie’s at 1626 14th Street.   Earlier this year Filter Coffeehouse opened at 1726 20th Street in Dupont Circle.

by Borderstan.com September 7, 2010 at 10:40 pm 1,119 0

MidCity Business Association 14th Street NW U Street NW

The boutiques are participating in Friday’s Fashion’s Night Out. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Tom Hay

Several MidCity clothing retailers are staying open late this Friday, September 10 from 6 to 11 pm for “Fashion’s Night Out” along the 14th and U Street corridors. It’s slated to be much like the popular Third Thursday events, but with a focus on fashion.

The event is being organized by several boutiques with support from the MidCity Business Association. Food, discounts,  drinks, prizes and music are among the offerings. Among the stores participating are Lettie Gooch, Redeem, Universal Gear, Caramel, Habitat, Rue 14, Stem and Palace 5.

You can check out the Fashion’s Night Out page for details.

by Borderstan.com September 1, 2010 at 3:48 pm 2,654 5 Comments

Mid City Arts Overlay District Borderstan

At the microphone: Carol Felix, lead branding coordinator for the arts district project, at Tuesday night’s townhall meeting at Busboys and Poets on 14th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Tom Hay

Area residents, artists and business owners packed the Langston Room of Busboys and Poets Tuesday night for the first of three townhall discussions on branding and marketing the Arts District centered around the 14th and U Streets NW corridor.

Andrea Doughty, project leader and Carol Felix, lead branding coordinator, opened the public dialogue with an overview of the project. (See PDF map with proposed boundaries.)

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, collectively called 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.

Neighborhood Investment Fund Grant

The only economic development program that the area qualifies for comes from the the District of Columbia’s Neighborhood Investment Fund (NIF), administered by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development.

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