Honfleur Gallery Celebrates 10 Years, And The Community It Calls Home
With only half a roof and no back wall, the Anacostia building that Duane Gautier was eyeing for an art gallery needed work. After significant renovations, opened in 2007. Balloons dropped. Applause echoed through the District. Reviewers flocked across the Anacostia River to see the latest addition to D.C.’s art scene.
The gallery was met with incredulity and even contempt from residents of the very community it hoped to serve. The month Honfleur opened, The Washington Post and people who said Anacostia needed jobs and schools, not an art gallery.
“There was some legitimate concern by residents saying ‘why an art gallery? Why here? It’s never been done before. What’s it going to do to the neighborhood?’” Gautier recalls. “I basically said it’s an experiment to see if we can bring arts and culture east of the Anacostia River.”
But culture does of course exist independently of art, and both the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site and Anacostia Community Museum already provided the neighborhood with the former. The Smithsonian museum celebrates its 50th anniversary next year, but while it sometimes hangs art on its walls, the curatorial focus is on culture. Honfleur Gallery brought art to the historic neighborhood, and as Duane clarifies, brought the cultural element closer to downtown Anacostia.
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