District Announces Cultural Plan

Mayor Bowser rolls out DC Cultural Plan at the launch event on April 4. (Photo by George Kevin Jordan)
Mayor Bowser rolls out DC Cultural Plan at the launch event on April 4. (Photo by George Kevin Jordan)

By George Kevin Jordan

District of Columbia officials from three different agencies came together April 4 to present the first ever “D. Cultural Plan” a hearty initiative to invest in the arts community in the nation’s capital.

The launching of the plan was held at the Anacostia Playhouse, 2020 Shannon Place, S.E., where participants tasted on food from local vendors and businesses.

The plan is a collaboration of three main entities, the Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment and the Office of Planning along with Mayor Muriel Bowser and her team.

“This is an exciting moment,” said Andrew Trueblood, Director of the Office of Planning. “It’s really years in the making.”

“It’s the first cultural plan that the District of Columbia has ever done. Arts and culture and our makers and creators are really what give the District of Columbia our heart and soul. This plan is a recognition of all of that.”

The Cultural Plan was pioneered by the D.C. Council via the Cultural Plan for the District Act of 2015, which allowed the Office of Planning to develop the plan across the three agencies and community support.

“Our city is over 700,000 people now,” said Mayor Bowser. “We haven’t been this big since the early 1970s.”

“People are moving and living in places they haven’t before- working and going out to dinner and celebrating the arts in many different ways. They are taking different types of transportation. And the vibrancy that we’re generating from the rich diversity of our city is supported by our wonderful and growing arts and culture in Washington D.C.”

“But we know we have to be intentional about preserving that culture,” the mayor added.

Bowser said the plan had 23 policies and 8 investment recommendations. The overall budget for the cultural plan is $13.3 million, which has been earmarked in the mayor’s FY 2020 budget proposal.

The plan explains, “The District’s Cultural Economy supports $30 billion in annual spending, generates $1.1 billion in tax revenue, and employs 150,000 workers.”

Some recommended investments include:

  • Creating a cultural innovation and entrepreneurship revolving loan Fund
  • Expanding capacity building grants through partnerships
  • Invest in marketing

“The cultural plan addresses issues of affordability, access and sustainability,” Bowser said. “What we hear from arts organizations across all eight wards across the District of Columbia is ‘how can we afford to stay in Washington D.C.?’ And it echoes what we hear from residents across all eight wards of Washington D.C.”

Delé Akerejah of The Dopamine Clinic, who had an interactive live art installation during the launch event hopes the cultural plan will decreasing the siloing of different artists and organizations saying, “I think there needs to be more open channels exchanges of communications between members of the artistic community.”

“I think it’s going to improve the level of synergy. I’m just glad I can do my part.”

To see the full plan go to https://www.dcculturalplan.org.

This article originally appeared in The Afro

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