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Council preserves independence and dedicated funding for arts and humanities in final action on FY2020 budget

For Immediate Release:
June 18, 2019
Matthew Nocella, 202.724.8105 -

Council preserves independence and dedicated funding for arts and humanities in final action on FY2020 budget

Washington, D.C. – The Council provided strong support for the arts and humanities today as it finalized the fiscal year 2020 budget with policy changes that preserve dedicated arts funding and improve the independence of the Commission on Arts and Humanities–both priorities for Councilmember David Grosso.

“The restoration of dedicated funding for the arts and humanities sends a strong signal that the Council is committed to a stable funding stream for our cultural institutions,” Grosso said. “It is especially important that we have provided a past due dedication to the humanities, which elevates the appreciation of our local history and culture.”

Last year, Councilmember Grosso worked with his colleagues to secure a dedicated funding stream for the arts and humanities in D.C.’s fiscal year 2019 budget. However, the mayor’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2020 repealed that dedication

“I am also excited about the restructuring of the Commission on Arts and Humanities that we passed today,” Grosso said. “These reforms will insulate the commission from political interference, ensure more equitable and reliable funding for the arts, and provide stability through the authorization of multi-year grants.”

“I appreciate Chairman Mendelson’s partnership in these efforts that put the arts and humanities on a path to become an even greater cultural force in the District of Columbia,” Grosso said. “I’m looking forward to where we go from here. I look forward to a productive hearing on the Cultural Plan and how we can work together over the coming months to focus on elevating arts education as a policy priority across the District of Columbia.”




First-ever cultural plan is a first step to fully supporting D.C.’s creative sector

For Immediate Release: 
April 5, 2019
Matthew Nocella, (202) 724-8105

First-ever cultural plan is a first step to fully supporting D.C.’s creative sector

Washington, D.C. – The following is a statement from Councilmember David Grosso on the release of the D.C. Cultural Plan:

“After nearly 4 years, I am excited to finally see the release of the District of Columbia’s very first Cultural Plan. The plan provides an assessment of the current state of our city’s creative sector, identifies gaps, and proposes recommendations to more fully embrace the arts and humanities and acknowledge their vital role as a major economic driver through greater financial, policy, and community supports.

“This is such an important moment for the creative community, our residents, and visitors to the District of Columbia–all of whom benefit when we promote and support cultural development in D.C. When I directed the investment in the FY2016 budget to make this plan a reality, it was my hope that it would enable the city to identify the current level of service for cultural groups in each neighborhood; detail the feedback from community outreach; establish a strategy to meet the specified needs of each community; quantify the economic impact of arts, humanities, and culture; and ultimately put forth a targeted approach to increase cultural activity citywide.

“I appreciate the work of the Office of Planning, the Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and most importantly, the engagement of D.C.’s creative community, especially ArtsAction DC, in the development of this plan. A plan, however, is nothing without action and proper investment. I look forward to working with all stakeholders to support the growth and development of our creative sector and deepen its immense contributions to the District’s economy and rich cultural fabric.”




Grosso FY2019 Budget Victories

Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large), chairperson of the Committee on Education, celebrated investments in his budget priorities included in the fiscal year 2019 budget for the District of Columbia, which was given final approval by the D.C. Council on May 29, 2018.

“This budget comes before us during a tumultuous time in the public education sector, but I believe the funding we have approved move us forward in education reform and toward closing the achievement gap,” Grosso said. “It makes new investments that put students in the best position to succeed by creating positive school climates, bolstering community schools, and expanding access to multilingual education in D.C.”

The Council’s full budget largely preserves or increases investments approved by the Committee on Education in Grosso’s education priorities and makes investments in other areas of focus for the councilmember:

  • Prioritizes students’ right to learn by reducing the use of exclusionary discipline: $3.4 million to fund the Student Fair Access to School Act to protect students’ right to an education, close the achievement gap, and foster positive school climates, including an increase to the at-risk weight of the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula.
  • Improves educational outcomes by meeting students’ non-academic needs: An increase of $1.4 million for a total investment of nearly $3 million to expand community schools, which set students up for academic success by addressing their academic, health, and social needs through community partnerships.
  • Invests in the mental and physical health of our students: Provides $3 million at the Department of Behavioral Health for school-based clinicians and $4.4 million at the Department of Health for school-based nurses.
  • Increases access to multilingual education in the District: $367,000 to establish the Office of Multilingual Education in OSSE, with dedicated personnel whose mission is to increase cross-sector access to high-quality multilingual education across the city.
  • Supports students with special education needs: Fully implements the Enhanced Special Education Services Act and includes $350,000 in new funding for teacher training in special education.
  • Creates a world-class central library: $1.5 million for opening day collections at the newly-modernized Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library, set to re-open in 2020.
  • Preserves our local history for future generations: $500,000 for the D.C. Oral History project, a collaboration of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., Humanities DC, and the D.C. Public Library, over the next four years.
  • Provides resources to combat residency fraud: Provides four full-time staffers and $300,000 to OSSE to aid its mission of investigating and reporting residency fraud in D.C. schools.
  • Expands equitable, high-quality out-of-school learning opportunities: Provides over $20 million for after-school and summer programming for students—more than double the current level of grant-funding for community-based organizations and unthinkable under the former D.C. Trust.
  • Supports early childhood education: Includes a new tax credit for families to offset the high cost of raising a child in D.C. and increased the reimbursement rate for subsidized childcare.
  • Continued investment in early literacy interventions: $1.6 million in continuing investments in the successful early literacy intervention program that gets students at or above reading level by third grade. 
  • Invests in Fair Elections: Fully funds Grosso's legislation that establishes a strong public financing system for campaigns in D.C., weakening the influence of large donors and corporations in our elections.
  • Fights homelessness and housing insecurity, especially for vulnerable populations: $15.6 million to combat homelessness including $1.6 million to fully fund the Interagency Council on Homelessness Youth Plan in 2019, with $300,000 from the Committee on Education to provide wraparound services at a new 24-hour drop-in center and additional youth beds.



Grosso, Evans collaborate to establish dedicated funding for the arts, humanities, and creative economy in the District of Columbia

For Immediate Release:
May 15, 2018
Matthew Nocella, 202.724.8105 -

Grosso, Evans collaborate to establish dedicated funding for the arts, humanities, and creative economy in the District of Columbia

Washington, D.C. – In a major victory for the artistic and creative sectors of the District of Columbia, Councilmembers David Grosso (I-At Large) and Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) have secured a dedicated funding stream for the arts, humanities, and creative economy in D.C.’s fiscal year 2019 budget, which the Council preliminarily approved on its first vote today.

“The arts, humanities, and creative economy have been major drivers of cultural and economic growth in the District of Columbia,” Grosso said. “The dedicated funding included in the budget will provide strong, stable investments that will continue to grow our thriving artistic and creative sectors for the foreseeable future. I truly appreciate Councilmember Evans’ partnership on this effort. Without it, and his persistent commitment to the arts, humanities, and creative economy, this would not have been possible.”

The budget dedicates 0.3 percent of the existing general sales tax to fund $30 million for arts, humanities, and creative economy grants annually.

“I am thrilled that dedicated funding for the arts and humanities in the District is now a reality,” said Councilmember Evans. “I have been a champion for expanding and funding arts programs since I joined the Council in the early 1990s and this yearly revenue will make a difference to ensure more grants are funded. Councilmember Grosso has been a great advocate for the arts and I’m grateful for his partnership in securing these funds.”




Exploring Cuisine and its Role in D.C.’s Creative Economy

By Zoe Fredrickson*

For as long as I can remember, cooking has been my passion. Early mornings were spent poaching eggs for breakfast, afternoons planning elaborate tea parties for my friends, and evenings decorating the dining room for family dinner parties. When I couldn’t sleep at night, I’d close my eyes and envision how I would one day open a world famous restaurant featuring my star dish. I would dream about what table cloths the restaurant would have and what my logo would look like, all at the age of 7.

Growing up in an urban metropolis like D.C., my love for the culinary arts was fostered everywhere I went. Going out to dinner was more than just a nice family outing-- it was a culinary expedition; sampling and critiquing, studying and assessing what I liked and meticulously picking it apart to see how I could recreate it. In my junior year of high school I began to work at Craft Kombucha at Union Market, the conflicting smells of sweet pastries, spicy Korean barbeque and salty salami greeting me whenever I stepped through the door. Since its restoration and reopening in 2012, Union Market has embodied D.C.’s commitment to culinary innovation and accessibility. Home to 40 vendors, including a mix of informal restaurants, fast-casual cuisine, and pop-up stalls, Union Market provides a place for chefs to experiment and flourish. Cutting out the need to buy restaurant space, it makes starting in the food industry far more attainable, and it reinvigorated my love of the D.C. food scene. 

The District of Columbia’s gastronomic character has become a blend of its roots in southern soul food, a distinct French backbone, seafood from the Chesapeake Bay and flairs from the many immigrant cultures prevalent across the city, all of which provide endless culinary possibilities. But the world of cuisine is an underappreciated and overlooked profession and is often thought of as a pit stop to other careers. By valuing the food industry for the true art that it is and incorporating it into the city's creative economy, we can provide meaningful jobs in cooking, catering, mixology, management, and serving to our young people.

With nearly 60% of the District's workers employed in the creative class, D.C. is one of the most creative cities in the United States. A recent study also shows the District is a top five "most inspiring city" for young artists. Councilmember Grosso has worked to support the creative economy through his ArtsActionDC initiative, which allows the creative communities of D.C. a space for open dialogue among themselves and with the government. Investing in our city’s creative economy-- the industries based on human innovation and creativity-- is about more than supporting the arts, it opens up pathways for job expansion, creative expression, cultural inclusion, and a general increase in quality of life for all.

Walking down the aisles of Union Market, I can’t help but think of an art gallery; vendors proudly displaying products they spent hours, maybe even years, working to perfect; each stall a rainbow of colors and smells. Just like WeWork provides a space for entrepreneurs to bounce ideas off each other and network, Union Market is a collaborative home to culinary creatives, promoting and building upon each other's work. And like the art world, the culinary one is a complex mix of culinary school professionals along with self-taught talents.

As an alternative to a four year college experience for students, the culinary industry provides many entry-level jobs that can lead to lifelong careers. Although as young people we are constantly told that college is the only successful way forward in life, for some, going to college is simply not their reality. This could be for many reasons to include: lack of support at home or in school, the exorbitant costs, or lack of interest. By showing these young people that there are other options for them and supporting them in school with cooking programs, we can provide more opportunities to succeed. In 2015, the culinary arts accounted for over 40,000 jobs District wide. With new restaurants popping up every day this is only increasing.

Shared kitchens and farmers markets are another option for entry points into the food world without much prior experience. MessHall, Taste Lab and Union Kitchen all provide communal commercial kitchens to small businesses who, without health department licensed kitchens, could not legally produce their food. Not only does this decrease the price for these businesses, but it also allows for collaboration and diffusion of ideas. In addition, this space encourages local employment, diminishing the possibility that these small businesses will be bought out by larger national food producers. Instead of the revenue going to businesses like Safeway or Giant, money stays in the hands of the community. Farmer’s markets also offer local entrepreneurial opportunities and in the Washington region, we enjoy more than 174 farmer’s markets. Although these goods are not as cost effective as those from national chains, by providing food stamps and other subsidies for low-income families to be able to take advantage of them, we can create a culture of local-minded conscious consumerism.

I’d consider myself a fairly academic person -- I’ve taken multiple APs in high school, I get pretty good grades -- but one of my favorite parts of cooking was being able to let loose and fully explore my more artistic side. Designing menus, elaborate plating, and coming up with new recipes were all ways I could use my imagination, without the threat of grades looming over me. I like to joke with my friends that “su cocina es mi cocina” (your kitchen is my kitchen) because whenever I visit their homes, I rummage through all the cabinets -- whipping up a quick stir fry, finding seven different ways to use ramen noodles and maybe even cooking their parents’ dinner. It is through my love of cooking and my exposure to the culinary arts that I’ve come to realize and fully appreciate one universal truth:  food has the powerful ability to bring everyone together.

Unfortunately, we don’t always recognize this power.  Across the District of Columbia there are distinct ethnic groups and yet, we often do not highlight them.  I think about this regularly because D.C. has the largest community of Ethiopians outside of Africa; in Columbia Heights, you cannot turn a corner without passing at least a dozen pupuserias.  The U Street corridor is littered with incredible soul food joints serving half smokes and mumbo sauce.  All of these communities, with rich histories and vast cuisines, are here in the District of Columbia for a reason, so why are we not highlighting them?  How is it that for the majority of D.C.’s culinary past, it has been known for mediocre steak houses and sandwich shops, when the potential for exciting and flavorful food is simply brushed away? By encouraging and educating young immigrants on entering the culinary workforce or how to start their own businesses, we as a city can foster a more diverse and accepting community. When it comes to employing young people, who better to hire than a person who grew up cooking certain food?

In addition to creating a new workforce and establishing a pipeline of jobs, helping students and youth to cook and appreciate food can provide other benefits as well. America's obesity problem and food deserts are issues facing our children. In the last few years DCPS has introduced programs to provide school gardens and nutrition support. When I was in middle school I remember joining one of these classes. It had amazed me that one of my fellow students went from refusing to eat anything remotely green and leafy, to becoming a full-fledged vegetarian, even to this day. By educating students on how to prepare cost-efficient and nutritious food, while also encouraging them to pursue a career later in life, we can inspire them to do more and teach their families. Although home economics classes were taken out of school curriculum to provide more productive instructional time, we are doing our children no favors when the alternative is malnutrition and lifelong health problems. Making an initiative to provide every DCPS school with their own plot of land to nurture and funding for a teacher to educate on health literacy, we can help end this cycle.

When I think of who I’d be without my love of cooking, I can’t separate the two. My organized and meticulous nature can only be explained from a childhood of meal prepping, double and triple checking recipes, and filling pages of notes from cooking shows I’d watch. Even my love of science and how things work comes from the countless failed baking attempts, and books I read on the science of food. Education, exposure and ensuring every child is in the best position to succeed are crucial to expanding and strengthening our city’s creative economy and I hope that others are afforded the opportunity to fall in love with food the way I have on this incredible culinary journey.

 *This post is part of an ongoing series of posts by Councilmember Grosso’s staff to support professional development. All posts are approved and endorsed by Councilmember Grosso. Zoe is a rising senior at School Without Walls and will be interning with the Office of Councilmember Grosso for 3-weeks.*



D.C. Budget Passes with All of Grosso’s Priorities

For Immediate Release

May 27, 2015

Contact: Dionne Johnson Calhoun

(202) 724-8105


D.C. Budget Passes with All of Grosso’s Priorities

Washington, D.C. –- Today, the D.C. Council voted on the bills that comprise the D.C. fiscal year 2016 budget–-the “Budget Request Act of 2015” and the “Budget Support Act of 2015.” Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) worked closely with his colleagues to ensure inclusion of his top priorities in the budget. 

“This particular budget and vote is significant as it is my first while chairing the Committee on Education. For this Council period, education and housing were designated as the Council’s two top priorities. I am pleased that a comprehensive budget to benefit District of Columbia residents was developed in the areas of education, workforce development, transportation, and health and human services, with historic investments for a strategic pathway to end homelessness,” said Grosso. 

Grosso’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Victories


Under Grosso’s leadership, the Education Committee approved a $2.4 billion budget that reversed proposed cuts to the library system, supported modernization of the Martin Luther King, Jr. central library, and brought a new, objective approach to determining capital funding for D.C. Public Schools, based on equity and data, not politics. In the coming months, the Committee will hold town hall meetings in every ward to share the analytical framework for determining school modernization priorities. Grosso allocated $1.6 million for a new literacy intervention program, targeted at 3rd grade reading success. Equipping these young students with the basic building blocks of learning—reading and writing—will ensure that they are on track to succeed throughout their academic careers. Grosso transferred $760,000 to the Committee of the Whole to restore funding to the University of the District of Columbia that the Mayor had proposed to cut. Grosso also allocated almost $700,000 to DCPS to make up for funding losses at schools such as Wilson and Ballou High Schools, and $450,000 to restore funding for SAT and ACT test preparation courses for D.C. high school students. Grosso included language in the Budget Support Act that broadens the scope of the Bullying Prevention Taskforce and extends its term until August 2018. Grosso also allocated $266,000 to expand the Community Schools program, which supports students and their families by providing wrap-around services. New language in the Budget Support Act also strengthens the program and expands the pool of potential applicants to include middle schools. Meeting the needs of these students and their families in a comprehensive way is part of Grosso’s vision to put every student in the best position to learn and achieve.

The Arts

As a world class city, Grosso believes we must plan and develop strategies to sustain a thriving artistic and creative sector.  To that end, Grosso identified and transferred $200,000 to the Committee of the Whole to fund a comprehensive, citywide cultural plan.  This plan, housed in the Office of Planning, will enable the city to identify the current level of service for cultural groups in each neighborhood; detail the feedback from community outreach; establish a strategy to meet the specified needs of each community; quantify the economic impact of arts and culture; and ultimately put forth a targeted approach to increase cultural activity citywide. 

Food Security & Recreation

Grosso believes a sustainable food system encourages local food production and distribution that makes nutritious food accessible and affordable to all D.C. residents.  For this reason, he introduced the D.C. Urban Farming and Food Security Act of 2014, which became official law on April 30, 2015.  Grosso worked closely with the Committee of the Whole to ensure that the intent of the legislation was preserved and funded to move urban agriculture efforts forward in the city. The funding allocated for the D.C. Urban Farming and Food Security Act enables residents using their property for urban agriculture purposes to take advantage of a 90% tax abatement program.  Additionally, the legislation enables those tax exempt entities that allow farmers to grow and sell produce on their property to maintain their tax exempt status.

An additional program that has proven its value and has Grosso’s support is the Produce Plus Program, which is a farmers market incentive program designed to increase access to healthy and nutritious food options for low-income D.C. residents.  The final budget includes $350,000 for this program to ensure that all our residents can afford to eat healthy.

Health & Human Services

As a strong supporter of reproductive and sexual health and rights, Grosso has worked to support programs such as peer-led sex education in schools and in this budget allocated $300,000 to the Committee on Health and Human Services for teen pregnancy prevention programs. This funding will help fill the gap left by the end of activities of a private foundation that supported such programs locally.

Throughout the budget process, Grosso has also been a vocal proponent of stepping up to the plate to end homelessness in D.C. He is very pleased that the Council’s approved budget builds on the Mayor’s proposed increases in homelessness and human services in line with the strategic plan developed by stakeholders.




Democracy, by Langston Hughes

I read this poem last night to kick off the DC Scores poetry slam.


by Langston Hughes

Democracy will not come
Today, this year
Nor ever
Through compromise and fear.

I have as much right
As the other fellow has
To stand
On my two feet
And own the land.

I tire so of hearing people say,
Let things take their course.
Tomorrow is another day.
I do not need my freedom when I'm dead.
I cannot live on tomorrow's bread.

Is a strong seed
In a great need.

I live here, too.
I want freedom
Just as you.



Politics and Arts: A Jam Session in the Wilson Building

Please join me and the Washington Performing Arts on Wednesday, November 19 from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. as we host "Politics and Arts: A Jam Session in the Wilson Building."  The event will showcase local musicians and also provide musicians from different genres and backgrounds with an opportunity to network and share their own passion for the arts. Special performances of the night will include SynchroniCity, Roof Beams, and for an added bonus a dance selection by SerendibDance.  

This spectacular event will be the third in a series of arts events that I have hosted. The events are used as an opportunity to showcase the thriving arts community and also serve as a continuing effort to provide community engagement opportunities at the John A. Wilson Building.  Prior events have been held in my office but I wanted to expand the event to welcome the arts community and members and staff of the D.C. Council.  The event will be held on the first floor of the John A. Wilson Building (foyer) and will consist of a "mix and mingle" with light refreshments followed by a program with local musicians.

My last event, an "Evening of Poetry" showcased D.C.'s artistic youth with selections from the D.C. Scores, Free Minds and the D.C. Youth Slam Team who won first place at the Brave New Voices youth poetry slam contest. To see a recap of the event, click here.

For more information, please contact my office at (202) 724-8105.



Grosso Announces Formation of Diverse, City-wide Arts and Creative Economy Coalition

For Immediate Release

October 30, 2014

Contact: Dionne Johnson Calhoun

(202) 724-8105

Grosso Announces Formation of Diverse, City-wide Arts and Creative Economy Coalition

Washington, DC -- Today, Councilmember David Grosso (I - At Large) is pleased to announce the formation of ArtsAction DC: Strengthening Our Creative Community, a coalition of 40 organizations representing performing and visual arts and the creative economy.  Grosso works with the group who meets monthly at Arena Stage.

“One of my highest priorities since I was elected to the Council is to bring together organizations from around the city to advocate with one voice on behalf of the arts and the creative economy.  I am delighted to announce that those organizations have come together to form ArtsAction DC, which will advocate on behalf of funding, support, and growth of the arts and arts education in D.C.,” Grosso said.

ArtsAction DC comprises a diverse group of organizations, both large and small, that drive the creative economy sector in Washington D.C., including: theater, dance, visual art, written and spoken word, music, fashion, film, and festivals. 

The group is developing a study entitled “Funding for a Cultural Plan for DC,” which the group intends to release prior to the FY16 Budget process next year with the goal of making the case for increased funding for the arts in D.C.

“ArtsAction, DC will be an indispensable voice for the arts and the creative economy in DC,” said Grosso.  “I am delighted that so many organizations from disparate arts disciplines have come together to advance the common goal of critical support for the arts.  I look forward to working with my colleagues to continue to work with this dynamic group in the months and years ahead.”

Learn more about ArtsAction DC here:, Twitter, and Facebook.

The members of ArtsAction are:

Anacostia Playhouse

America for the Arts

Atlas Performing Arts Center

Arena Stage


Artomatic, Inc.

Beltway Poetry Slam

Capital Fringe

Center for the Creative Economy



Dance Place

DC Fashion Foundation

DC Shorts

Dupont Underground

(e)merge art fair

Folger Shakespeare Library

Ford's Theater


Gay Mens Chorus

Idea Plex/Studio 202


Listen Local First

Pen Faulkner Foundation

Phillips Collection

Shakespeare Theater

Split This Rock

Step Afrika!

Studio Theater

Taffety Punk


Theatre Alliance

Theatre J

Ward 8 Cultural Council

Washington Performing Arts

Washington Bach Consort

The Washington Ballet

Woolly Mammoth Theatre 




Councilmember Grosso's Summer Gallery Tour

The arts help to make D.C. a culturally vibrant city. The District is filled with a creative community that welcomes all different types of people who take part in developing our unique neighborhoods.

Councilmember Grosso is a passionate supporter of the role the arts and humanities have in the overall creative economy. He believes that a robust arts community not only promotes economic development, but it also enriches the everyday lives of our residents by increasing the general safety, welfare, and outreach in their neighborhoods. During his “Summer Arts Tour,” Grosso will visit various art galleries and studios throughout D.C. to promote engagement and support of the arts.

Please join Councilmember Grosso at the following sites:

Thursday, August 21, 2014
4:30pm - 8pm

Hamiltonian Gallery 1353 U St NW

Foundry Gallery 1314 18th Street, NW 1st Floor

Longview Gallery 1234 9th ST NW

Monroe Street Arts Walk 625 Monroe St NE

Friday, August 22, 2014
4pm - 6pm

Anacostia Arts Center 1241 Good Hope Road SE

Touchstone Gallery 901 New York Avenue NW  

Flashpoint Gallery 916 G Street NW

Follow Councilmember Grosso’s Twitter for more information and for a quick glimpse of the Summer Arts Tour!



Councilmember Grosso's Opening Statement for the Finance & Revenue Oversight Hearing of the D.C. Commission on Arts and Humanities

Thank you, Chairman Evans. And thank you to the witnesses who are here today to testify for the annual oversight hearing for the Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

When a city has a thriving arts community, it signals support for, and recognition of, the value that a creative economy brings to a city.  A creative economy exists when the ideas of individuals generate public ideas, products, and services through financial assistance.  A creative economy integrates multiple artistic and entrepreneurial disciplines.  Investment in all stages of creation fosters innovative and artistic benefits for our homes, schools, offices, and streets.       

To cultivate a creative economy, the government must play a larger role because while we have the funding, we lack the mechanisms to support the distribution of funds.  Our city will have a thriving, artistically expressive, and vibrant community if it collectively supports all of the sectors that make up the creative economy.   There are at least four steps we need to take in order to do this successfully:

  • First, we need to have plans in place to fund the space where an artist works.  This means funding for studios, living quarters, theater space, galleries, and public outdoor spaces that can house large installations. 
  • Second, we must cultivate relationships with new artists and maintain on-going relationships with established artists in the city.  We must insist that art is present everywhere and in order to do this we must support the artists and musicians.   We should be able to easily track the artists in our city and what projects they are working on and what support they need.   There should be an identifiable connection between our community and the networks of artists in D.C.
  • Third, we must support the institutions that are already serving our city and have been for decades.  These theater companies and music and dance studios are already executing the production process.  The support they need is with capital projects, infrastructure, and wrap around services in order to sustain their businesses.  We should broaden our idea of what supporting the arts means and not only invest in the finished product, but also invest in what is necessary to sustain ongoing production.
  • And lastly, we need to finance finished products.  We have acres of government owned, unused or underutilized land throughout the city, particularly in neighborhoods that would greatly benefit from public art pieces.  We need to be financing music, dance, and performing art schools so that all of our residents can access it, learn about it, and participate in it organically.  Again, this should be the responsibility of the government and not the people of District. 

In order to accomplish all of the categories that I mentioned, we need a strong, capable, and willing Commission that can think broadly about how we can create these opportunities and will take on the burden to grow the creative economy in the District.   We need creative minds at the Commission, those who are thinking about ways to spend funds with vision and efficiency.  If DCCAH can execute a strong plan then it will be in the position to be a recognized leader in how arts and humanities support should look.  There is no reason why our jazz festival cannot compare to New Orleans’, our film festivals to Sundance, or our public art shows to Basel or the Biennale. 

I am interested to hear the Commission’s plans for its future and to know what they are doing in the community.   I look forward to the witness testimony and engaging with you in the discussions that follow it.  Thank you.