In recent years, DC’s creative economy has hit its stride as entrepreneurs in the culinary arts, the visual arts and technology have added innovation to the city’s historic landscape. However, as each economy grows, they can become easily segmented.
Morgan Hungerford West, founder of A Creative DC, is using her fast-growing media platform to help foster relationships among DC’s most fascinating individuals by building a cohesiveness that represents DC’s creativity in all forms.
Since its inception in January 2015, A Creative DC’s Instagram account has attracted over 22k followers, while the accompanying hashtag #acreativedc has generated almost 80k posts. The photos are documented by people who live in and frequent each of the city’s four quadrants. “They can use their perspectives to show what their DC looks like and that’s a little different for every person, which I think is really a great thing about DC,” says West.
While many gravitate to the Instagram feed, West hopes the platform’s other initiatives allow audiences to dive deeper into the creative pool. The platform’s website has helped readers get to know photographers like E. Brady Robinson and Kevin Wilson, plus a slew of bartenders, filmmakers and creative directors through more in-depth profiles and interviews. Fans of the platform who want a more personal connection can meet Morgan and her tribe of creatives in the H Street NE Corridor at Maketto, during a monthly series titled In Real Life.
Launched Friday, June 29, the event now recurs on the last Sunday of each month. “We love meeting everyone who’s been able to come out to the last two events. It’s a great mix of people who are showing up ready to meet and chat,” says West. “We have gotten a lot of feedback about it being a great place to put a face to a name or entity.”
For professional development, the platform also hosts workshops to help individuals, brands and businesses better understand the tools needed to reach DC audiences. Most recently announced, a partnership with the DC Public Library Foundation will provide another space for creatives to co-work and be inspired on a monthly basis.
West’s personal affinity for the city began at an early age. “My family were DC small business owners. They had a print shop in Shaw for about 40 years in Blagdon Alley and then for about 12 years they were in Anacostia,” says West, who grew up in Alexandria, Va. So when it came time to live on her own, she headed straight to the District.
“There are amazing things to do and there are amazing cultural things to immerse yourself in,” she says. “There’s so much opportunity here and so much room for connection and collaboration—that’s really a beautiful thing.”
Since 2005, West has flourished as an artist and creative consultant while living in Adams Morgan. “It’s changing a lot more in the last two years than it has in the eight prior, but I love Adams Morgan,” she says. “My art studio is in Brookland so it’s an easy metro ride. I love that a lot of the things I want to get to are walkable—otherwise the buses are great. I love my street, it’s so green and beautiful. I feel lucky to live here.”
Like its founder, A Creative DC isn’t going anywhere. In the future, West hopes to continue to fill-in the gaps in DC creative culture by bring individuals together for in-person collaborations.
“We love the idea of educating and empowering because the more we can all do for each other, the more we’re doing for the city at large,” she says..
For more information about A Creative DC, visit their website at www.acreativedc.com