Building Bridges Across the River (Building Bridges) provides residents East of the Anacostia River access to the best-in-class facilities, programs and partnerships in arts and culture, economic opportunity, education, recreation, health and well-being.

Our Vision

Building Bridges Across the River (Building Bridges) envisions a future in which the residents East of the Anacostia River experience vital, thriving communities characterized by social, cultural, economic and racial equity.


Our Story

Building Bridges Across the River was incorporated as a (501-c-3) nonprofit organization in 1997. The idea of building a community center in Southeast DC was first conceived by Chris Smith, CEO of the DC-based developer WC Smith. Smith envisioned a nonprofit that would lead a state-of-the-art campus that would later become the Town Hall Education Arts & Recreation Campus (THEARC). With the support of community stakeholders, elected officials and an engaged board of directors, BBAR raised capital funds and oversaw construction of the now 203,000 square-foot facility. In 2005, THEARC opened its doors as Building Bridges’ first facility serving families east of the Anacostia River.  

As THEARC’s managing partner, Building Bridges is the engine behind all of the facility’s services and programs. The organization oversees and maintains the campus grounds, fosters collaboration between THEARC’s resident partners.

Today, Building Bridges is expanding its footprint, leading programming and partnerships at THEARC, THEARC Theater, THEARC Farms, Skyland Workforce Center and the 11th Street Bridge Park. Through these collaborations, Building Bridges provides access to high quality educational, health, cultural, recreation, and social service programs which contribute to the revitalization of the community in southeast Washington.

Want to learn more?

Check out an overview of our projects. 

Meet Our Team


Our Board  Our Staff