Artists at the Table

Written by Irfana Jetha Noorani

When Bridge Park staff, residents and community partners began working on the Equitable Development Plan in 2015, there was a great emphasis on economic factors including housing, workforce development and small business growth. Through the process of implementing these recommendations over the past year, it became clear that the absence of cultural strategies from the plan was a major challenge to addressing equity in our neighborhood.

The effects of development in Washington, D.C. can be accounted for through escalated economic displacement over the past ten years, but also through a rapid shift in the cultural fabric of the city and the residents that now occupy neighborhoods west of the Anacostia River. Residents of the once famed “Chocolate City” are disappearing in neighborhoods like U Street and Shaw where there is an annual decline in the African American population. East of the Anacostia River, 92% of residents are African American and 47% of the District’s total black population resides there. While effects of displacement are tracked in rising poverty statistics east of the river, there is little information on how new projects will impact neighborhood identity and cultural output.

Over the past few months, the Bridge Park has been asking residents, artists and cultural leaders to identify these less tangible aspects of neighborhood change—what makes people feel a sense of belonging in a neighborhood and what changes signal cultural shifts. By identifying some of these signals of change, residents and stakeholders will be able to clearly outline opportunities for action, programming and engagement that will enhance neighborhood pride and a sense of belonging.

We’ve compiled the recommendations from our community HERE and invite you to add your thoughts and feedback directly to this document. Let us know the recommendations that you would prioritize. Tell us what is missing. We look forward to integrating your feedback into this draft plan.
Here are the folks that helped to build the draft cultural strategies:
Phil Pannell
Kimberly Douglass
Ronda Chapman
Benjamen Douglas
Khalid Randolph
Jen Hughes
Courtney Spearman
Erik Martinez Resly
Shay Stevens
Hannah Jacobson Blumenfeld
Adele Robey
Camille Kashaka
Anika Hobbs
Demetrius Brown
Renan Snowden
George Koch
Michael Chambers
Samir Meghelli
Tendani Mpulubusi El
Kymone Freeman
Joseph Bailey
Donna Bondvia
Roberta Looper
Janet Griffin
Grace Ann Robert
Amber Robles-Gordon
Malik Vanto
Shantelle Neal
Joyce Cacho
Misty Brown
Bruce McNeil
Joseph Hawk
Earl Rodriguez
Imania Price
Denise E. Gilmore
Jason Anthony
Ascala Sisk
Adriana Mendoza
Beth Emelson
Lewis Carroll
Melissa Christensen
Meche Martinez
Chez Jackson
John Johnson
Maranda Ward
Devin Vines
Donna Roberson
Art Slater
P. Coleman
Andrew M
Kalik Housen
Ebony Kirby
Tiffany Townsend
Jamar Johnson
Brian Page
Beth Ferraro
Carla Perlo
Jha-Gnessa Audena
Levita Mondie
Wanda Nettles
Russell Klein
Bill Carsen
Elizabeth Jacob
Dayvie J. Paschall
Andrew Fordham
Avril Claytor
Aria Baker
Kim Lee
Lawrence Green
Larry Johnston
Muna Conten
Jane A. Harvey
Alyce Murrell
Simona James
Caitlin Caplinger
Everett Bellamy
Melani N Douglass
Anita Bryant
Daniel Essrow
Erin Garnaas-Holmes
Selina Brown
Mike Golds
Ana Cardoso
Mary Howard
Shelby Garrett
Denis Chestnut
Shannon Youngdood
Kim Harrison
Mike Klult
Sarah Cissna
Ron Greer
Lorraine Pettit