A Call for Collaborators

Calling all collaborators!  We are seeking collaborators to create and implement a temporary, creative action that promotes community building, reflects the Ivy City neighborhood’s rich heritage,  and declares residents’ vision for the future of Ivy City.

Artists who apply for the Crossing the Street: Activating Ivy City initiative should demonstrate a strong interest in social justice and desire to work collaboratively with neighborhood residents to formulate project proposals which unite residents from diverse economic and cultural backgrounds.

LISC DC and buildingcommunityWORKSHOP (bc) believe that it is critical that any creative placemaking project is resident and artist-led. We approach our creative placemaking work with a set of overarching and fundamental principles.

This includes supporting artists as leaders in the transformation of communities and promoting racial equity, so that people of color and people from other historically marginalized groups are at the center of transforming their lives and their communities.


In addition, it is imperative that equitable development is fostered by taking action to increase development without displacing residents.  Also, we must ensure that community development work is community-driven, comprehensive, and collaborative and that residents are able to influence the future of their communities by building their capacity to withstand the finite nature of a grant period.

A couple of weeks ago, we held a community meeting at the Trinity Baptist Church in Ivy City. Just off of New York Avenue NE, Ivy City is a tight-knit community with a rich and strong history. It has been home to predominantly African-American families since a few years after emancipation.

Ivy City is a small, residential, and industrial neighborhood in northeast Washington, DC that has recently seen a boom in development. This has resulted in a bit of alarm among long-term residents that worry that after having survived years of disinvestment, high poverty rates, and high unemployment rates, urban transformation will cause them to no longer be able to afford to live in their community.

Mrs. Banks of the Trinity Baptist Church was gracious enough to lend us a room to brainstorm ideas for bringing a creative placemaking project to Ivy City.  She was among the nearly 20 people in attendance that came to learn about our Crossing the Street project, and how Ivy City community members could get involved in bringing creative ideas to fruition. Known as the Local Arts Committee (LAC), these key stakeholders will shape the project strategy and artist proposals.

Our project’s concept for collaborative action empowers local youth to build capacity and advance well-established community goals through resident and artist-led creative placemaking. We have partnered with #TheRealIvyCity, a youth-led initiative, which aims “to call attention to the real needs of Ivy City residents amidst the recent gentrification boom in the community.”

At the onset of the meeting, the committee was asked, “What is the most important thing you wish would come to Ivy City that isn’t already here?” Overwhelming, it was agreed that spaces for recreation are desperately in need in the neighborhood and would be a huge benefit to the community.

Next, the committee split up into three small groups. Each group watched a short video that focused on the current utilization of open space, residential areas, or industrial areas.  After discussing the pros and cons of creating a project in each type of area, group members rotated to a different table, so that everyone had the opportunity to weigh in on creative placemaking in each setting.

At the conclusion of the meeting, each group reported back on what was discussed and future plans were made so that the selected project could be shaped by the LAC.  Now, we are at the stage in which we are seeking collaborators. Check out this link to learn more and help us spread the word! The proposal deadline is July 28th.