It is with a heavy heart that the ARCH Family announces the death of one of its founders. Sharon Hughes Gautier who died on January 7th after a short, but devastating illness. Sharon was not only one of the original staff but also the one who inspired the development of ARCH Training Center and ARCH Family Services which over 25 years provided more than 11,000 DC individuals and families with job training, education and social services.
Sharon was also the originator and funder of the Honfleur Gallery “East of the River Distinguished Artist Award” which annually recognizes a living East of the Anacostia River artist for creative excellence as well as for having significant impact on the cultural landscape of Washington, DC.
ARCH Development Corporation [ARCH] is a small community development corporation whose entire focus is using arts, cultural and the small creative businesses to assist in the economic regeneration of the Anacostia community of Washington, DC.
The Mission of ARCH is: “To create, in partnership with the residents and stakeholders of the neighborhood, a home for arts, culture, and small businesses fulfilling our commitment to the revitalization of Historic Anacostia”
Its Vision is: “Anacostia should be a vibrant residential and commercial neighborhood that retains its historic charm and is filled with small businesses and cultural organizations, which serve Anacostia residents and is a destination for visitors.”
ARTS AND CULTURE PROGRAMS
ARCH will operate programs to meet its objectives of presenting high quality arts, helping arts and culture groups find a home in Anacostia, presenting programs that promote art by and for underrepresented populations, providing support to artists who live or work east of the river and bringing visitors to artistic events and disposable income into the neighborhood.
Honfleur Gallery is a contemporary art space located at 1241 Good Hope Road in Anacostia that focuses on offering high-quality visual arts exhibitions in a diversity of mediums; showcasing primarily artists who either currently live or are from the District of Columbia; and giving east of the Anacostia River artists a voice in their own neighborhood. It also showcases underrepresented groups. The curatorial team seeks exhibitions that have relevance/resonance for the District of Columbia and East of the Anacostia River communities. In 2021 it will hold six curated exhibitions.
Vivid Gallery is located within the Anacostia Art Center at 1231 Good Hope Road, SE in Anacostia. Vivid will present exhibitions that are experimental, environmental, unseen, and unusual. Vivid programs will be the high-quality, yet off-beat visual arts programming arm for ARCH. It will hold six exhibitions in FY2021.
Blank Space SE objective is to increase opportunities for artists to show their work with minimal curatorial gatekeeping while bringing in varied exhibitions to Anacostia Arts Center. ARCH uses the walls of its HIVE Shared Space to show this work. ARCH also its represented artists work in businesses offices in the DC metropolitan area.
Theater and Spoken Word Presentations. In FY 2021, ARCH is dividing its theater operations into two components.
The first is a change in the way ARCH’s Theater Incubation Program will operate. ARCH will be providing grants to DC-based theater groups and spoken word artists to develop new works or new reinterpretations of existing work. They will then perform their productions at the Anacostia Playhouse, which will become ARCH’s partner in this program.
The Anacostia Art Center Black Box Theater will continue to provide performance and rehearsal space for small DC-area artists and groups, as well as for book signs and other cultural events. ARCH, in response to the Covid-19 crisis’s social distancing and crowd size regulations, has acquired new studio quality cameras, sound and lighting systems for the theater which can be used not only for ‘live’ streaming performances but also recording performances for future showings.
Music Programs: The Art Center music program will continue its music series, presenting not only performances by its in-house “The Hut”, which is a metaphor for a meeting place for musicians and music lovers to convene in the “village” of DC. ARCH also will increase its music presentations to include Jazz, Zydeco, Reggae, and Blues. Performances will be streamed until regulations allow for “live audiences”. ARCH will present twice a month performances. Additionally, ARCH has added equipment which allow music groups to rehearse and /or record.
East of the River Artist Support: In 2017, ARCH launched a website, DC Artists East, a free directory open to all artists who live or have studios east of the Anacostia River. The East of the River community includes a robust arts community and the goal of the site is to increase its visibility and further connect artists to each other and larger art buyer audiences.
In 2020, ARCH, once again in response to the Covid-19 crisis, initiated an Artist Auction Site to promote and sell work by Ward 7 and 8 Artists. This project will continue with two auctions in 2021.
Artist Housing/Workspace/Residency: ARCH will continue to operate four units of artist housing/workspace.
East of River Distinguished Artist Award: ARCH will reinstitute this annual award that recognizes a living East of the Anacostia River artist for creative excellence as well as for having significant impact on the cultural landscape of Washington, DC. The award with a $5,000 prize is presented by Honfleur Gallery with funding from a board member’s family.
Economic Development Activities
ARCH operates in its self-designated “small business and creative economy incubation zone”, providing a tiered system of collaborative workspaces, technical assistance and educational services to the Anacostia Business Community
ARCH will serve at least 65 businesses and entrepreneurs in its shared space, The HIVE 2.0, located at 1231 Good Hope Road SE. ARCH also will continue to operate an ‘incubator without walls’ that offers the same range of business services, minus the physical location, and concentrates on assisting existing in-location and home-based businesses in the target area to assist them in maintaining and growing their businesses and profitability.
ARCH will serve more than 110 businesses with its technical and marketing services. Many of ARCH’s business support services are in partnership with the Anacostia Business Improvement District organization.
Anacostia Art Center Retail: In the Anacostia Art Center, ARCH provides space and support for creative economy small retail businesses which include a book store, an Afro-centric clothing boutique, a vintage clothing store, a health care facility, a healthy food store and a café.
Business Education: ARCH presents numerous general small business workshops as well as educational programs applicable to specific industries. ARCH partners with minority-owned DC companies to teach entrepreneurs and small businesses how to drive bigger sales and profit margins by analyzing and improving their sales process, operating systems and products/services.
The murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of the police have been a painful reminder of how prevalent violence against African Americans is in the United States.
We also realize that the great race-based economic, health, and educational disparities within our country must be addressed.
We stand in solidarity with local organizations strategizing to inspire positive change in our communities.
It is not enough to just speak out against the racist sentiments that permeate our country.
It is not sufficient to just say “BLACK LIVES MATTER”.
We must ACT on these realities facing our society.
Furthermore, it is critical that, on a local level, the voices of the community be heard and acted upon.
We challenge all not only to protest and speak out but to invest in Black initiatives, art, and businesses, especially in your neighborhoods.
We are so excited and humbly honored to be listed on The New York Times Five Places to Visit in Washington, D.C. With a Black Digital Storyteller. Thank you so very much!