Arts Desk

ToDo ToDay: Whither the DIY Space?

Gold Leaf Studios is gone. Subterranean A held its last show this past weekend. Hole in the Sky is on-again, off-again. The fate of O Street Studios is still iffy, but its residents recently staved off the construction of a hostel on the first floor. Artist and DIY spaces lead a precarious life anywhere, but seem especially endangered in D.C.: The astronomical rents for residental, work, and live/work spaces in our relatively small, not-so-dense city are maligned, but no one has quite figured out how to make such spaces sustainable—or wrangled with whether they even should be. Tonight, the National Building Museum’s ongoing lecture series, D.C. Builds, will tackle the challenge of supporting artist space within city limits. A panel of experts—President and CEO of Abdo Development Jim Abdo, Interim Executive Director of CulturalDC Travis Bowerman, Associate Director of Citywide Planning at the D.C. Office of Planning Kimberly Bowman, and artist Maggie Michael—will be moderated by Rebecca Sheir, host of WAMU 88.5’s Metro Connection. Expect jokes about how the rent is “too damn high,” if not a stunningly innovative conclusion on just how to prevent creative-class displacement. “Creating Space for Artists” begins at 6:30 p.m. at the National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. $20 for nonmembers; $12 for members and students. (202) 272-2448. (Alex Baca)


Swampy, arty blues-rock outfit The Torches headlines at Fort Reno, alongside Musicband and The NVs. 7 p.m. at Fort Reno, 3800 Donaldson Place NW. Free.


Ping Pong Dim Sum kicks off its Chinese Dragon Boat Festival today with the launch of beer buckets (or "beer boats). Order one boat of 6-10 Tsintao beers, and get a second boat free.  The festival, which celebrates the moon during its strongest point in the summer solstice, will include a hands-on demonstration from 5-7 p.m. this evening of how to make Zongzi (sticky rice), which you're supposed to eat for good luck. The guests with the best Zongzi-making abilities will win prizes. Ping Pong Dim Sum, 900 7th St. NW. (202) 506-3740.  (Jessica Sidman)

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  • Begla

    They are charging for admission to a discussion on how to support DIY spaces? That's... odd...

  • Begla

    I'm sorry, wait. That's a developer on the panel.

    LOL. Does no one else find this batshit insane?

  • PTRQ

    Wow, this is a joke, right? They don't seem to understand what a DIY space is or how to set up and run DIY events. If you want a valuable panel on creating and maintaining a DIY space, come to Fort Reno tonight. Or any other Monday or Thursday through the end of July. That's a masters-level class in DIY right there. The best way to learn about setting up and maintaining DIY spaces and events is to just do it. Don't $20 to listen to some trust fund developers tell you how to monetize art. Get out there and do what you can and jam econo.

  • ColonelK

    "I'm sorry, wait. That's a developer on the panel. LOL. Does no one else find this batshit insane?"

    This is why we're all gonna attend this joint

  • Begla

    I'd go and throw rotten fruit and/or talk shit but, hilariously, I'm going to a meeting to talk about a DIY space.

    Light it the fuck up, anyone who makes it out. And total agreement to PTRQ.

  • Begla

    Also, people have wrangled with the question of whether spaces should be sustainable/sustained. There was a very good lecture series presented at the DC Radical Space by the Brixton Space Invaders on the subject of moving from permanent squats to temporary space takeovers, as far as setting up social centres and the like. It was amazing and way more productive than this could probably hope to be.

  • joel

    Unless folks step forward and make sustained, serious, and non-cynical commitments of funds and more importantly volunteer efforts and actually come out to see the shows, these efforts do not sustain. I say this as one of the folks who helps run the Electric Maid in Takoma Park.

  • joel pomerantz

    If folks don't step forward with serious, dedicated, and ongoing volunteer efforts and funding and actually ATTEND the shows, this is all for naught.

  • joel pomerantz

    I say this as someone who help to run the Electric Maid in Takoma.