hipchickindc lives in the Bloomingdale neighborhood in NW Washington, DC. She is a mom, a real estate broker and a professional artist. More of her artwork can be seen here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hipchickindc/collections/72157602023407003/
Many years ago, fresh out of art school, I moved to the DC area for access to world class museums. While I will never tire of spending an afternoon at The National Gallery or The Phillips Collection, I find myself getting much more excited about the small independent arts venues that are evidence that DC’s local art scene is thriving.
With the success of a number of independent local businesses, coupled with solid architectural stock and a vibrant community, Bloomingdale is a neighborhood perched on the brink of being recognized as a cool, artsy enclave. The presence of 87Florida, located literally at the very tip of the neighborhood, brings us that much closer.
About a year ago, in passing, I had seen a gathering of people at 87 Florida Ave NW. There were flag-like signs out in front for the event, and it was one of those places I planned to check into more. It wasn’t until May 2008, that I finally got a closer look. Continues after the jump.
Instead of holding the annual Winter Blues Silent Auction at Trinity College, the North Capitol Main Streets organization looked to local business, Big Bear Café, to host this year’s big fundraising event. Touted as “Art at The Bear”, it soon became apparent that the number of people planning to attend, and the number of artists participating, would overwhelm Big Bear. The natural solution was to create a second gallery half a block away at 87Florida. The event took place on a balmy Spring evening in May, which made for a perfect flow between the two spaces.
Ceci Cole McInturf is the artist/owner of 87Florida. Located at the busy corner of Florida Ave NW and 1st St NW, the property houses both Ceci’s studios, as well as an open, well lit showing and performance area. On the website, http://www.87florida.com/home.html, Ceci notes that the space is currently used for public shows only a few times during the year. The vision, however, is for 87Florida to become part of the “Art in Community” movement as a potential resource for other arts organizations, such as after-school arts programs. Ceci describes 87Florida as an “Urban Art Space with a Mission”.
If you’d like to check it out, 87 Florida will be hosting two shows of renowned jazz artists this weekend as part of the 4th Annual Duke Ellington Jazz Festival. On Friday October 3rd at 9pm, Michael Bowie, an internationally recognized electric and contrabass player will perform with several other musicians. Chuck Redd, a seasoned drummer and vibraphone player will perform on Saturday at 9pm. Seating is first come, first served. Doors open at 8:30pm. $20.00 at the door. Cash only.
Above pic: My friend, David, spokesmodelling in front of my artwork at 87Florida during Art at The Bear in May 2008.