Theatre Shaw has three or more theaters (with actors and all) such as the Studio, the Source, and Warehouse Theaters. Does that make Shaw an artsy neighborhood?Discuss.
9 thoughts on “Theatre”
IMHO, No. For the same reason that Broadway is not an “Artsy” neighborhood. A neighborhood is artsy if artists/musicians/actors live there.
That’s what made the old SoHo, Grennwich Village and Tribeca artsy (before the yuppie scum like me moved in).
Besides, I don’t think DC could ever be considered artsy. Name one famous NY artist (Warhol, Peter Max, Lichtenstein etc.). Quick, name one DC artist…see?
DC is like the parties at the the High School chess club. Just because there is music and people who are ostensibly datable, doesn’t make it a hip-happening place.
Ok, then are we “arts friendly”? Theater friendly?
I agree with the first post. Theaters are not enough to draw people to our neighborhood. And if outsiders don’t know about the theaters in our neighborhood, they have no reason to appreciate the art is here. If I think of a real artsy neighborhood in any city, there is typically a place nearby to linger …coffee shop, restaurant, gallery space, etc. I’ll apologize in advance for the digression, but our neighborhood is NOT “arts friendly” if it won’t allow any of those supportive-role business to come in and be profitable (e.g. Vegetate would be a great place to eat, have a drink and then walk over to see a show. )Maybe when the businesses are finished at the Convention center, there will be more availble to draw people over to discover the Studio theater or Warehouse. Right now, my speculation is that the only people who go to these theaters are the performers and our neighbors.
Warehouse is also a coffeeshop. The black box theater is in the rear.
Studio has a restaurant across the street, one sharing the same block, and on the next block over there is Logan Tavern, a Starbucks, a bistro, Halo, and another restaurant.
Vegetate is too far from Warehouse so the best to be hoped for is a quick bite from it’s coffeeshop or something in the new convention center.
Thinking of it, I don’t think the area around the Kennedy Center (Foggy Bottom) is condusive to hanging out. It is bounded by two roads of death, there is only one coffee shop that I can find open and not expensive. There are some other dining options but nothing in the price range I want to deal with.
Now my Maryland Auntie has been to the Studio Theater and had subscribed to one year. So people in the area aren’t the only ones going. I’ll admit it has been a while since I’ve been to the theater and I’ve got a boatload of excuses why (friends too cheap to go with for one, haven’t been to a movie much less a play, etc).
It is easy to name reasons one thinks a neighborhood is not artsy, but if we agree on some of the things that make a neighborhood artsy, I think we would see that it’s all relative, and that 14th & U Street is relatively more artsy than many neighborhoods, and by the same token there are not many neighborhoods in the country that are artsy compared to the meccas for professional artists in NYC.
That being said, if we said that being artsy could be correlated to the number of jazz clubs or gay residents in the neighborhood, 14th & U would be damn artsy. If we measure it by the number of famous art colleges and the sheer amount of money spent on art thereby drawing professional artists from around the world (like Warhol and Peter Max), then 14th & U isn’t so artsy at all, and most places aren’t.
One thing I will say is that DC doesn’t have it’s own unique culture of food, music, etc. that people are drawn to. So unlike places like downtown New Orleans, Calle de Ocho in Miami (which has decayed), some NYC neighborhoods, etc., it is harder to think of some of our neighborhoods as artsy. However, I think the folks that hold onto the legacy of Black Broadway or are proud of Go-Go music originating in DC would say that 14th & U does indeed have (or had) a unique culture, but that it is not widely recognized or embraced by everyone. It is my understanding that many rap artists come to the studios around Howard University to record in the interest of keeping it real (and show up to the Howard homecoming for the same reason). So in that respect is the U Street/Howard neighborhood artsy?
So having several theaters means nothing? Yes, compared to NYC, we can’t compete but NYC is NYC. If NYC was to get swallowed up by the Atlantic because of melting polar ice caps, and the only thing left was Newark and Yonkers, then, on our own could we be artsy? If not, then what are we?
First of all, the amazing artist’s complex on the unit block of O St NW is probably one of the artsy-est things in DC! I stumbled onto thewir open house last fall– they’re terrible at publicity but it’s an incredible space–I felt like I was in DUMBO in the early 1990s!
The DC Gov has, in the past, subsidized some housing for working artists, for example they put aside a certain percentage of the condos on G St above the Flashpoint Studio and across the street from the library. It would be great if our ANC Commissioners could approaching some developers and the city about doing something similar in our neighborhood.
I wonder what it would take to implement something in Shaw or Truxton Circle like the Gateway Arts District plan in Mt. Rainier, MD? Maybe approaching these guys http://www.artspaceusa.org/ qould be one way to go?
Let me clarify my position on Shaw – I think we’re relatively artsy, but I didn’t list out why because anyone from NYC, Paris, etc. will just say “no you’re not”.
sometimes i wonder if i live in the same dc as other people.
I find DC very artsy. I know artists in Shaw. This city is jumping in the arts.
Maybe that as an artist, i’m tapped into this scene. Maybe its a bit hard to see form the outside. Still, I cant imagine there are many other cities that have the culture we do, especially other cities that have less than 600,000 residents.
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