2016 and Beyond!

Written by Scott Kratz

As we begin a new year, we are super excited about 2016. We are planning all kinds of programming, art installations, community gardens and more. Read below for a list of our top 10 activities in 2016!

1. Our 2015 Anacostia River Festival was a huge success – and now we’re hard at work planning next year’s event in partnership with the National Park Service. The April 17 program will once again be the official closing event of the 2016 National Cherry Blossom Festival. Bring the whole family to canoe down the river, participate in hands-on art activities, ride in a bike parade and enjoy live music performances throughout the day!

2. This spring we are partnering with the University of the District of Columbia and nearby faith communities in Wards 6 and 8 to install community gardens on both sides of the river.  Urban agriculture will be part of the future Bridge Park programming which was requested in our hundreds of stakeholder meetings and incorporated into our 2014 design competition.

3. A key part of our Equitable Development Plan is to provide the resources for nearby renters to transition into home owners. In February, we are collaborating with the amazing non-profit MANNA to host a monthly East of the River Home Buyers Club for Ward 8 residents. For more information on the Home Buyers Club, call (202) 534-1038 or (202) 534-1039.

4. An important Bridge Park goal is to improve the health of nearby residents by offering a safe place to play. In 2016 we will begin a Health Impact Assessment to measure the potential benefit of the park in partnership with the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

5. For the third year in a row, we are working with talented students from Capitol Hill’s Cesar Chavez Public Charter School to develop prototype public art for the Bridge Park. Their amazing installations will once again be displayed at the ArtReach at THEARC’s gallery.

6. The 295 freeway has long been a barrier between nearby residents and the Anacostia River, which is particularly challenging at the Good Hope Road underpass. In an effort to turn this liability into an asset, we are collaborating with the Anacostia Arts Center to install a lighted mural under the freeway.

7. This spring, we are partnering with the Ward 8 Arts and Culture Council and talented artists at Ballou High School and Eastern High School to create a one of a kind giant mural along Anacostia Park’s flood wall. This artwork will celebrate the river, its history and communities who live along its banks.

8. Throughout 2016, we are partnering with our talented friends at Washington Performing Arts to produce programming featuring Ward 8 artists across the region. More to come soon on our first scheduled performances!

9. Working with our fabulous team at the District Department of Transportation, we will begin pre-construction for the 11th Street Bridge Park in early this year. This will include permitting, environmental assessment, load testing of the old piers and continued work with the community and our team at OMA+OLIN to refine the design for this new civic space.

10. Finally, we are exploring a concept to install a temporary Anacostia Beach next summer. You heard that right – a temporary Anacostia Beach. We still have funds to raise to make this idea a reality, but the idea is to build a destination along the banks of the river and bring folks down to Anacostia Park.

Now you can see why we are so excited about 2016. Here’s to an amazing year!