Published on BrownGirlsMuseumBlog.com – November 26, 2017
The newest art org to join the fray of contemporary arts spaces across the landscape of the District occupies particularly odd territory, previously solely utilized by uninviting office space. Artechouse, a new arts space opened in Washington, D.C. in June, recently presented “Spirit of Autumn” (October 1 – November 5). It was the follow-up installation to its debut show, “XYZT: Abstract Landscapes.”
The building, unremarkable in any way, features a sandwich and pizza shop among an array of unmarked business suites tucked within. The location, however, is interesting. Prior to about 3 years ago this precise sliver of the SW quadrant of the District saw little to no foot traffic – or any traffic outside the comings and goings of the 9-5 federal crowd. Known as Washington’s business district, it was assumed that retail, restaurants, let alone art, couldn’t thrive past 5pm with the mass exodus of the population, i.e. federal workers, leaving to return to their homes in the northern quadrants and the burbs. Then the SWBID (Southwest Business Improvement District) swooped in to “improve the business climate” of the quadrant. Focusing on the section of the quadrant connecting the federal buildings to the residential neighborhoods and Wharf further south – a walkable area through highway underpasses – the BID has worked to flip the impression of this area from staid and stuffy to lively and entertaining. Enter: Artechouse.
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