Capital Fringe Festival Moving from Gentrified Mt. Vernon Square to Gentrifying Trinidad

From current Capital Fringe home at 607 New York Ave, NW

From a CONNERSMITH gallery press release:

“Leigh Conner and Jamie Smith are pleased to announce they are seeking the next DC home for CONNERSMITH gallery and the (e)merge art fair office. Recently, Smith and Conner accepted an offer from the Capital Fringe Festival to purchase their art space in NE Washington, DC.

Smith and Conner moved their business from Dupont Circle NW to the Trinidad neighborhood in NE DC in 2007 when they purchased an auto body shop at 1358 and 1360 Florida Avenue, NE. The art entrepreneurs converted the two-story building and courtyard into an arts space at a time when the area was known for multiple homicides and police checkpoints.

In the renovated space, CONNERSMITH presented, free to the public, 56 solo exhibitions and 10 group shows of art by established, mid-career, and emerging artists, including Leo Villareal, Zoë Charlton, and Wilmer Wilson IV. A gallery hub formed with the arrival of neighboring galleries, demonstrating the transformative power of art within a resilient community. While based in Trinidad, CONNERSMITH supported its artists’ exhibitions in museums and biennials nationally and abroad and made over 32 presentations at international art fairs. In 2011, Smith and Conner launched (e)merge, DC’s own international contemporary art fair.

“This transition is a natural evolution for us,” said Conner, “We programmed the Dupont Circle space for eight years and our Northeast space for seven years. Now, we are excited to expand our international presence and digital reach while establishing a new exhibition base in DC.”

“Strengthening our international relationships will advance the missions of CONNERSMITH and (e)merge,” explained Smith. “The gallery and the fair are competitive in the global art market and both strive steadily to contribute to DC’s growth into a world destination for contemporary art.”

Smith and Conner are very enthusiastic about Capital Fringe’s acquisition of the property and look forward to the space’s continued arts usage with the realization of Fringe’s vision for their festival’s new permanent home.

CONNERSMITH will celebrate its last exhibition in the Florida Avenue, NE space with the opening of the annual student show, Academy 2014, and pre-fair party for (e)merge, on July 12, 6-9 pm.”

12 Comment

  • Mt Vernon Square is apparently gentrified now? Uh huh.

    • Same thought… there seems to be a lot of room for more businesses, retail, etc to move into the neighborhood.

  • well, yeah… it kind of is when your building has a market value in the millions, no?

    • A couple million dollar buildings doesn’t make a gentrified neighborhood. Mt Vernon Square is definitely still in the fairly early stages of gentrification. Period, full stop, end of discussion, period!

      • You’ve got to be kidding me. It might as well be part of the downtown core. I work for a major international company and we spend our time meeting with dc offices of other international companies… tons of their offices are within spitting distance of Mt Vernon Square*.

        *- I do not have any financial interest in Mt Vernon Square whatsoever. I dont even work there. However, I am near there all the time and drive through it multiple times a week. If this is “early stages of gentrification”, Logan Circle is still a hotbed for prostitution, drugs, and violence and there are still riots in Mt Pleasant.

  • It’s somewhat interesting how arts often lead the way for gentrification. I hope the Fringe folks are self-aware regarding their role in the process.

  • damn, i will miss connersmith in that space

    so does that mean the functional art gallery upstairs(and i believe next door) will be no more as well?

  • Ugh. I hope the weekend public transit access to get there improves sometime in my lifetime.

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