Housing Complex

Arts District Branding Project Still Running Into Questions

The latest draft design for the D.C. Arts District banners.

Not to bring up an old issue or anything, but the “D.C. Arts District” neighborhood branding project just keeps hitting speedbumps.

Initially, the project team said it would have the banners up by December 1, with a festival of sorts early in the month. That got pushed back as the design process took longer than anticipated. In addition, they need to get ANC approval to leave the street banners up for more than 90 days, and local civic associations like to be consulted as well.

ANCs 2F, 2C, and 2B signed off on the banners, but the U Street Neighborhood Association declined to endorse the initiative. And after some tough questioning at its Thursday meeting, ANC IB failed to endorse it as well, instead postponing the issue until its January meeting, which leaves the choice of whether to allow banners to stay up longer than 90 days up to a newly-elected Commission.

The unfriendly action came at the behest of the 9:30 Club’s Jean Homza, who apprised commissioners of the Midcity Business Association’s objection to the branding project—members believe that Councilmember Jack Evans supported the $200,0000 grant thinking it was going to the Business Association, when in fact it was going to a collection of residents associations.

“The Midcity Business Association was in the middle of its own banner project,” Homza said. “This is usurping all of that.”

Commissioners, who had approved the idea in concept some time ago, were surprised that the issue had gotten so contentious, and told project lead Andrea Doughty to try to reconcile with the Business Association.

“Leaders in our community are up in arms and very upset,” said commissioner Deborah Thomas. “I don't know why it's not working….Find a way. Get it together.”

Meanwhile, Doughty says that events planned to help launch the Arts District are still in the works.

“There are numerous activities planned as part of the grant project that will be taking place in December, January, February and March,” she wrote in an email later. “There will be public announcements about each of these at the appropriate time.”

  • http://www.twitter.com/joellawsondc Joel Lawson

    Varying disagreements entirely aside, I've never understood how banners and branding were the optimum path in a recession.

    I imagine what most establishments along the commercial corridors in this "district" could really utilize are projects that directly energize customer interest and flow. I imagine they'd more readily welcome collaborative advertising, events, add-ons to existing events, online coupons and other incentives (tied to both the events and advertising), and so forth.

    I'm not out to criticize the people on any side of these disagreements, I'm just frustrated that collaborative retail enhancement appears not to be emerging as a primary product of all the energy and dollars now expended.

  • Rick Mangus

    And how much is this city in debt and we are paying $200.0000 for this SHIT!

  • Rick Mangus

    Correction, $200.000, and the city debt is, ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILLION!

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  • Mayflower

    @ Rick Mangus -

    easy, boy. might wanna chew on a children's aspirin real quick just in case this is the big one.

    yeah. $200k is but a drop in the bucket my friend. and these funds are from fy 10 and got nothing to do with the current deficit.

    might wanna do a tad bit of research before you drop out on us.

  • DC Voter

    Word to the wise, if Andrea Doughy is involved, WATCH OUT,......add Wayne Dickenson and Carol Felix...scuttled many a worthy endeavor....think U St. Main Street Initiative after they elbowed their way to being charge....bamboozled Jack on this one....

    What little is left of the $200,000.00 that has not already been paid out to Doughy, Dickenson and Felix in consulting fees should be quietly returned and this
    white elephant allowed to slink back to the jungle to die.

    This was a badly dated idea from the get go! In the current economic environment it would be criminal to waste money on this, we will have to learn to live without banners.

  • dcvoterboy

    I did enjoy the disclosure by Andrea that banners on the west side of 14th Street, including those at the intersection of 14th & U, would NOT have the neighborhood name of "U Street" on it, so they would not upset the Ward 2 ANCs.

    Granted, nobody requested this, the Arts District team made this decision all on their own. Andrea was also unable to explain how the intersection of 14th & U is not part of the U Street Neighborhood...

  • LoganCirclite

    Thats how this gang operates. They finagle, hold back key information, manipulate the process, and bamboozle the public all the while serving their parochial and often secret Q Street agenda. This was a jobs program for Doughty, Dicksen, and Felix. The rest is just fluff.

    Connie Maffin must be turning over in her grave. People who have been around in Logan know that sometimes its a good idea to just cross the street.

    Jack - put a fork in this, its done!

  • DC Architecture Buff

    Are these the real banners in the graphic? They are pretty bad, dated, and derivative. They have a '96 feel to them like someone with their first MAC, like some parking lot signage or something from a construction site.
    Very business art and not a good reflection of the DC arts scene at all, more like a some off market Pandemania.
    I agree, this mess should be scrapped.

  • Mayflower

    wow - times must be really good around logan and u street if this is all you guys have to complain about!

    i guess the robberies and assaults have stopped, rats went south, parking is in abundance, and all is good!

    damn - get a life people!

  • Rick Mangus

    'Mayflower', do you want to tell seniors and children that there is no money because the elitist art snobs like you have their financial priorities, that don't include YOU! 'Mayflower', you and you're art friends are drinking too much white wine!

  • Mayflower

    @ Rick Mangus:

    Glad things are so great for you and the gang that this is all you have to complain about. However, you do find a way to complain about just about everything!

  • Mayflower

    @ Rick Mangus -

    Quick grammar lesson too.

    You're = you are

    "You're" art friends should read "your" art friends.

    DC schools?

  • http://www.Nameum.com Brad

    Branding your section of the larger city can be as important as re-branding a dying toothpaste brand. It's a way of making yourself current and to revitalizing the business that are there already and drawing in others.

    this critical mass of business is likely to draw in people and generate local tax review far greater then the $200,000 spent on banners. If done properly re-branding is a great way to reinitialize a district!