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Prince George’s County executive applauds Gateway Arts initiative

'Art Lives Here' campaign highlights economic development and cultural events in county's Gateway Arts District

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Photo by Wanda Jackson. On opening day at the Mount Rainier Farmer’s Market in the Gateway Arts District, a customer purchases fresh strawberries from Martin Valencia, who owns Valencia Farms with Maria Valencia.

Photo by Wanda Jackson. On opening day at the Mount Rainier Farmer’s Market in the Gateway Arts District, a customer purchases fresh strawberries from Martin Valencia, who owns Valencia Farms with Maria Valencia.

Published on: Monday, May 06, 2013

By Wanda Jackson

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker called efforts to revitalize economic development in Mount Rainier, North Brentwood, Brentwood and Hyattsville “amazing” during a panel discussion last week regarding the Gateway Arts District “Art Lives Here” initiative.

Art Lives Here, fueled by a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, is a 12-month campaign to showcase artistic projects, support creative business development and strengthen

visibility campaigns.

“In just over a decade, the Gateway Arts District has evolved from a great idea to one of the county’s best residential and commercial investment opportunities,” Baker said. “I want to thank the residents, businesses and artists of the Gateway Arts District.

“The $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts is a testament to the persistence and passion they have to continue the amazing growth of these wonderfully diverse and unique communities.”

During the discussion — moderated by Carole Bernard, executive director of the Gateway Community Development — at Urban Eats in Mount Rainier, Baker was joined by Peter Shapiro, executive director of Prince George’s County Revenue Authority, Theresa Cameron from the Americans for the Arts, and Brooke Kidd, executive director of Joe’s Movement Emporium.

Bernard applauded the county’s art initiative along with Baker.

“What an exciting time it is in the Prince George’s County Gateway Arts District. We have new mixed-use development on the horizon, wonderful and engaging cultural activities for all to enjoy and talented professional artists whose work enhances the vibrancy of our communities,” Bernard said. “The next 36 months are a critical period of transformation for the region as the economy continues to recover. The arts district is well-positioned to catch that next wave of economic progress.”

The $50,000 NEA grant allows the Gateway Arts District to conduct the first 12-month phase of Art Lives Here by engaging citizens through performances and public art projects; pairing artists with downtown businesses to create pop-up performances and installations; starting an Innovation Fund to support creative business development, and establishing a downtown arts season and a seasonal visibility campaign for the Gateway Arts District.

For the second phase of the initiative, the Gateway Arts District has applied for a $300,000 national grant from ArtPlace.

“It’s an exciting time for evolution and exploration in the creative placemaking field, and I look forward to the lessons that Art Lives Here will yield for communities in Prince George’s County and for the field as a whole,” said Jason Schupbach, NEA director of design.

The first of several Art Lives Here events was held Saturday with the opening of the Mount Rainier Farmer’s Market. The farmers’ market will continue every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through fall. Opening day featured Valencia Farms, which provides fresh fruits and veggies, and Tea 4 You Etc. Through the summer, the market will include bakery goods, crafts and gifts, and performing artists.

In the upcoming weeks, the Gateway Arts District will host more Art Lives Here events.

The Gateway Arts District Open Studios from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday offers a peek inside artists’ studios. The tour includes 17 venues, 70 studios and 120 artists working in home shops, storefronts and

warehouses throughout the arts district. The tour culminates with an after-party and opening reception from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the 39th Street Gallery in Brentwood.

The Mount Rainier Day parade starts at 11 a.m. May 18. This longstanding town festival and parade that blocks off one side of Rhode Island Avenue will be lined with soul food and a patch work of vendors,

community groups and children’s activities.

The 34th Annual Historic Hyattsville Homes Tour from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. May 19 is a self-guided tour that showcases the latest restoration and preservation efforts in homes, gardens, businesses and civic

organizations. Tickets are required for this event. Advance tickets are $10 and can be purchased from Franklin’s and the City Municipal Building. Tickets are $12 on the day of the event.

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