By Diana Nash of the Pink Line Project on July 12, 2012
There is a buzzword circulating in the DC arts scene that I had not heard about until I returned to the city two months ago. While the concept of using the arts to spur economic and community development is not new, DC is getting attention for the success of its “Arts and Culture Temporiums” since the first one launched along the H Street NE corridor in 2010. Temporiums fall under the larger category of the Temporary Urbanism Initiative, a project undertaken by the DC Office of Planning. The goal behind the initiative, and more specifically, temporiums, is to activate vacant or underutilized spaces by using them to showcase the talent of local artists and other creative entrepreneurs, along with the retail potential that lies within emerging neighborhoods. Think of them as “Pop Ups” that stay around a little longer and have greater potential benefits for the communities where they take place. Jessica Scheuerman, of Partners for Livable Communities, explains that temporiums allow people to “take risks, explore partnerships, and to commit to something” without the burden of a long-term commitment. Temporiums connect creative people seeking affordable space in their neighborhoods with landlords who have the available space that they haven’t been able to lease. It is a smart and increasingly popular concept that lays the groundwork for longer-term collaboration between property owners and neighborhood entrepreneurs.
Building on the success of earlier temporiums, the Office of Planning is targeting four emerging creative neighborhoods to benefit from a $250,000 grant to the city from ArtPlace, an unprecedented new private-public organization. ArtPlace is part of a national “creative place-making” movement that aims to drive revitalization across the country with arts at the center of economic development. The launch of DeanwoodxDesign marks the next step in the OP/ArtPlace grant initiative.