In the fall of 2015, ground was broken for the Phase III expansion of the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC), an 110,000 square foot, state-of-the-art campus located in Ward 8. A new 92,000 square foot building will be added on the west side of the campus.
The new facility will feature a black box theater and four partner organizations – AppleTree Institute for Education Innovation (an early learning public charter school), The Bishop Walker School for Boys (an all-boys private school), The Phillips Collection (an art museum), and the Children’s National Health System.
LISC DC is a longtime funder and partner of Building Bridges Across the River (BBAR), the nonprofit that owns and manages the THEARC.
Because the THEARC is located in Congress Heights, a neighborhood of targeted investment for LISC DC, we continue to provide operating support for the staff of BBAR, which enables other programming, events, and community outreach to occur at the THEARC.
LISC DC has made investments in the THEARC’s Organic Community Teaching Garden, which builds knowledge and experience about organic urban farming, healthy cooking and eating, and entrepreneurship. Congress Heights’ youth are hired to harvest the garden and their vegetables are sold at the THEARC’s Farmers Market.
We have also provided funding for the “I Can @ THEARC Theater” internship program, a year-round paid internship program aimed at helping youth gain the tools necessary to obtain employment in theater management. The internship includes instruction on the fundamentals of production and stage management, participation in interactive field trips, workshops, and seminars, and the opportunity to serve as ushers during theater events and to present one’s own production.
To help improve educational outcomes, we supported the family engagement efforts at the Washington School for Girls (WSG), also located at the THEARC. Our funding covered the cost of a new web-based information system that allows WSG parents to check their children’s grades, attendance, assignments and activities, which enables parents to have a role in their daughters’ education while simultaneously reducing the digital divide.
With the expansion of the THEARC’s campus, more resources – education, health, and the arts – will be coming to the neighborhood community. LISC DC will continue to support the THEARC in achieving its mission of working to improve the quality of life for residents of Ward 8.