Placemaking grants awarded

March 15, 2014

Photo courtesy T. Carter Ross.

BY JENNA HECKER — Two Hyattsville artists were among the 2014 grant recipients announced by Art Lives Here at Urban Eats Cafe on February 27.

The 19 projects that received grants were selected from nearly 50 proposals, each coming from individuals that live, work or are connected in some way to the Gateway Arts District of Prince George’s County, a state designation established in 1996, includes four municipalities- Brentwood, North Brentwood, Hyattsville, and Mount Rainier.

In its first phase, Art Lives Here began engaging citizens through performance and public art, by matching local businesses with artists, developing an official arts season for the Gateway Arts District, and creating an Innovation Fund to support the development of creative businesses. Over 2,000 people attended program events in 2013.

In May 2013, Joe’s Movement Emporium received the America’s Creative Placemaking Grant of $240,000 from ArtPlace America to initiate the second phase of Art Lives Here, a collaboration of businesses and artists in the Gateway Arts District.

“[Art Lives Here] is a good mix, it is a blend of different organizations with different strengths,” said Justin Fair, economic development coordinator for the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation (CDC). “It encourages activity.” Fair works with the Hyattsville CDC in collecting local artists into a database on www.MyGatewayArts.com, making it easy for local businesses to connect and work with them.

 At the Urban Eats event, grant recipient Tamara Wellons performed a piece from her pop-up musical performance series, Beauty Built on Love, which combines music and the art of physical beauty. She will be performing the series at beauty salons throughout Hyattsville on May 3.

“I strongly believe that beauty begins from within. This has always been the premise of my message as a singer, embracing love, celebrating each other, and being confident in who you are,” Wellons said about her upcoming performances. Wellons and her manager, Jayne Pryce, hope to encourage inner-beauty while promoting Hyattsville’s local beauty salons both financially and culturally.

 Daniel Burkholder, a Hyattsville improvisational artist, received a grant for Acts of Arriving, a series of interactive performances that will take place over eight hours moving between five locations. These performances are intended to examine community through individual effort and group collaboration, and will be performed this fall.

“The work is exploring how we find and nurture our sense of community. I hope residents of the whole Arts Gateway District, including my fellow Hyattsville residents, take advantage of both the workshop and performance we’ll be presenting,” said Burkholder,  “it will be a fun way to engage and think about what makes us a community.”

On Saturdays this spring Leslie Holt, resident of Hyattsville and artist at Red Dirt Studios, will encourage Bunker Hill Laundromat visitors to turn their laundry lists into poems.

“These activities are designed to demystify the art experience and make it fun and accessible to explore creativity during otherwise mundane chore time,” said Holt.

This fall, these poems transcribed on laundry bags will become permanent installments at the laundromat.

More information about the organization and upcoming performances are available at www.artlivesheremd.wordpress.com