Housing Complex

Historic Franklin School Will Become an Art Museum


The vacant Franklin School on 13th Street NW will become an art museum after that proposal was selected by the city today over three competing bids.

The Institute for Contemporary Expression, led by art collector Dani Levinas, submitted one of four proposals for the ornate, crumbling 1869 building last year. The proposal promised a contemporary arts center and "international cultural destination." According to the city's announcement today, the Institute for Contemporary Expression will rehabilitate the building and use it as an "exhibit space for contemporary art, sculpture, installations, and performances." The space will also include a restaurant, cafe, and arts bookstore.

“With the completion of this selection process we are now a step closer to revitalizing Franklin School and giving it a new life,” Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Victor Hoskins said in a statement. “It will create new jobs and provide educational and mentoring programs as well as new retail amenities. It will also create a new destination and tourist attraction in synergy with Franklin Square Park.”

Hoskins' office selected this proposal over bids from Douglas Development, the CoStar Group, and Lowe Enterprises.


Renderings from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development

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  • tntdc

    Great location a block up from the women's museum and across from Franklin Park where art sculptures can be displayed. The sculptures in the median of NY Ave in front of the women's museum really are great.

    This type development makes the area much nicer and existing places more valuable.

  • Chris hauser

    I'll believe when I see it.

    But, I suspect it'll end up being a great place to have a piece of cheese.

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  • Ward 6

    Another potential income producing property taken off the tax rolls and turned over to a non-profit. Soon they will be applying for grants to operate the facility. I guess we didn’t learn from the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. and the Carnegie Library building. I love art, but this is not the BEST use of the property.

  • Typical DC BS

    @Ward 6: Exactly. Love the "job producing boast". Please, they'll pay the artists peanuts and piss any grant money away on ridiculous administrators salaries.

  • DCRez

    What a lost opportunity. This is precisely what the District doesn't need.

    This area of town is screaming to be activated at night. Hospitality or residential would have been an excellent choice, for both the neighborhood and tax basis.

    Absent hospitality or residential or office (which WOULD work here pretty easily)a school would have made better sense. Expect whatever form this kunsthalle eventually takes, I expect it will be a under programmed and underperforming mish mash of weird hours with far between exhibits that will, for all intents and purposes be an enormous waste and lost opportunity to the neighborhood, and will likely need yearly DC taxpayer funds to operate (ala Lincoln Theater).

    DC has more museum space per capita than any city in the world. More exhibition space isn't what we need.

  • V

    Great choice!

    And thank goodness it is not more residential. Way too many condos and apartments going up in the city.

  • gimbels lover

    V, that comment is so insane, I bet you're living in Franklin park.

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