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Friday Question of the Day – What Should Become of the old Franklin School?

by Prince Of Petworth February 12, 2015 at 10:22 pm 71 Comments

franklin_school_art_museum
13th and K Street, NW

Today’s question is a reader request. A year ago we first learned about plans for transforming the historic Franklin School building into “exhibit space for contemporary art, sculpture, installations and performances”. Folks were pretty excited about the prospect and then plans were scrapped. The art critic from the Post eviscerated the decision by the Mayor:

“Little more than a month into her administration, Muriel Bowser has abruptly canceled one of the most promising cultural projects to take root in the District in decades, tearing up an agreement two years in the making with the Institute of Contemporary Expression.

The city’s office for planning and economic development has decided after a “top-to-bottom review” that it no longer supports the plan. And so we have a first, clear and painful indication that despite professed support for the arts and arts education, Bowser will prioritize the interests of commercial developers over the public well-being.”

So I guess the question is – what do you think should be done with the building? Should there be a preference towards a cultural institution like was proposed before? Or should top dollar win? Do you think a place like the Institute of Contemporary Expression could flourish in a place like the Franklin School? Do you think the decision to cancel the project was political? If a museum/cultural institution has no chance – what would be the next best thing?

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