In January 2010, we launched East City Art to document the growing contemporary art movement in the eastern communities of Washington, DC. Increasingly, as the cost of real estate in Georgetown, Dupont Circle and Penn Quarter became prohibitive for emerging talent, artists and galleries began looking east to the neighborhoods in and around Capitol Hill, the H Street Corridor and River East.
While Eastern Market and the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop had provided venues for showcasing the talents of local artists in the area for over 30 years, more recently, neighborhoods East of the River and along the H Street corridor saw the unthinkable happen- the opening of fine art galleries. In Anacostia’s historic district it began with Honfleur Gallery and in the H Street Corridor, world-renown gallery Conner Contemporary Art relocated from the Dupont Circle area to Florida Avenue NE in Trinidad. Since then, over a dozen galleries have opened in Capitol Hill, the H Street corridor and River East.
Suddenly, by 2010, critical mass had developed and neighborhoods in “East City” became the focal point for visual arts in the region. At the time of this writing, two crowded H Street art walks have taken place which included over a dozen venues along the H Street NE corridor. In April 2010, Anacostia Now dubbed Anacostia “the center of the DC art world” after a month-long series of exhibitions, public art projects and fashion shows.
We have also chosen to include the Route 1 corridor in our publication as many of the artists, workshops and galleries located here are inextricably tied with their neighbors on the other side of Eastern Avenue. Many of the artists and curators who live or work in the Brentwood, Mount Rainier and Hyastsville Maryland neighborhoods, collectively known as the Gateway Arts District, exhibit, teach and live on Capitol Hill, the H Street corridor or in the River East neighborhoods.
Which brings us to the geographic focus of this publication- we are often asked why we do not cover all of DC proper or the entire metropolitan area. We cover Northeast and Southeast Washington as well as the Gateway Arts District exclusively for two reasons. First, we feel as though these communities are developing an autochthonous movement separate from what is happening in other parts of the region and second, simply put, by limiting the focus on a succinct number of neighborhoods, we can provide the most personal and accurate information to our readers.
Ultimately, we hope to share our passion for the visual arts and to help foster that same passion in our readers. We are incredibly fortunate to live in a community with world class-visual arts resources that are readily accessible to all. As residents of “East City”, we care deeply about our community and understand the critical role the visual arts play in shaping the unique lifestyle we have grown accustomed to in our neighborhoods.
From the 400 block of H Street NE
May 2, 2011
Phil Hutinet, Editor-in-Chief