Project Create, an arts education organization long-run from an office at Western Presbyterian Church in Foggy Bottom, has opened a studio in the heart of Anacostia – half a block from the Big Chair and three blocks from Anacostia Metro.
For over 20 years, Project Create has run arts education programs in partnership with other organizations such as Miriam’s Kitchen and Sasha Bruce Youthwork. At long last, Project Create – dedicated to providing access to high-quality arts education to children, youth, and families who are experiencing homelessness and poverty – finally has a home of its own.
Project Create moved into permanent studio space at 2028 Martin Luther King Ave, SE in January 2015. The studio is a second floor walkup just above Mama’s Pizza, with an entrance on V St, SE.
East City Art visited the studio, and rang the doorbell to be welcomed by the studio manager. At the top of the stairs, we found the studio to be inviting, large, and well lit. The studio is decorated with art work, including a large poster proclaiming, “Home is Where the Art is.”
Floor to ceiling shelves are filled with bins of art supplies. Large card tables can be grouped together to provide working space for students. The space can also be used for film screenings and other programs.
Project Create offers free after school and weekend programs, weekly studio classes, and open studio time – all for youth and children. Workshops and family art events are also among the offerings. Classes in the new studio began in March 2015.
“All of our classes are taught by working artists, professional arts educators, or art therapists who have a strong commitment to the students,” Executive Director Christie Walser told East City Art. “Our lesson plans are all based on common core standards.”
Project Create instructors work with all skill levels. Afterschool classes include collage, capoeira, drawing, painting, spoken word and videography, and typically run from 90 minutes to 2 hours. A mural class is offered on weekends.
Project Create also offers open studio times so that kids who are interested in classes can drop in. Although students must register for classes, Ms. Walser said, “We make enrollment as easy as possible.” The studio is open Monday and Friday from 3 to 6 pm and Tuesday through Thursday from noon until 8 pm. Although summer plans are being finalized – contingent upon funding – a summer camp is in the works.
The organization works mostly with middle and high school students, but youth can participate up to age 24. “We … believe in our young students: their talents, their inherent creativity, and their abilities,” Christie Walser said. “We believe that creative experiences can be transformational.”
The new studio will allow Project Create to better serve children, youth, and families in Wards 7 and 8. Ms. Walser told East City Art, “We chose Anacostia as a location for our new studio so that we can be accessible to the population of children, youth, and families that we have served for over 20 years, and so that we can include a new population of local kids who might not otherwise have access to free, high-quality arts education.”