UrbanTurf attended the inaugural Shaw Art Walk last night to check out the art galleries, new and old, around the burgeoning boulevard of 9th Street. Six galleries stayed open on Wednesday until 9pm, and while the cold, drizzly weather didn’t really make it easy, there was a general optimism in the air about the neighborhood.
Two artists at the Touchstone Gallery at 901 New York Avenue NW said that while they don’t have too much foot traffic these days, they believe that new developments coming to the neighborhood like the massive City Center project will change that.
Lauren Gentile, founder of Contemporary Wing, a pop-up gallery in a raw warehouse space at 1250 9th Street NW (which used to house the now-infamous Fight Club event space), said their opening night last Friday attracted 900 people hoping to find a new kind of DC.
“People are hungry for something,” Gentile told UrbanTurf. “I had a friend from New York come who said ‘I feel like I’m in Bushwick’ [Brooklyn].’”
Drew Porterfield, director of the LongView Gallery at 1234 9th Street NW, told UrbanTurf that the foot traffic was good on Wednesday, even for a cold, rainy day. “People are here from Bethesda and Arlington,” he noticed. “It’s so cool to stay open and have [people drop by] on a Wednesday night.”
“I didn’t know they existed,” Scott Goldstein, a Mount Pleasant resident, said. Goldstein and Elizabeth Bergner made an evening out of the Art Walk and enjoyed getting a taste of the variety of arts on display. Bergner lives in Bloomingdale and likes the neighborhood, but feels slightly uncomfortable with new businesses that “scream of gentrification.”
“The new things don’t always feel like they fit in,” she told us, worried that new bars and restaurants don’t appropriately acknowledge the neighborhoods they are changing.
Speaking of change, there is a lot coming to 9th Street, a subject that UrbanTurf will examine in an upcoming article.
This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/art_walking_on_9th_street/5098
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