We are writing to express our concern regarding case #15-19 which would displace artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs currently occupying the Union Arts Building.
Our concern is not merely with change; change is inevitable. Cities are increasingly faced with political, economic, and social challenges, challenges to maintain the viability of its citizen and to stimulate growth. However this endeavor must extend to all citizens, and we must do our best not to give the hope of our city to the highest bidder.
We write to you as graduate students, museum professionals, and culture workers. We are not naïve to our role as “transplants” to DC. We are gentrifiers. The city is changing to accommodate people like us who come here for employment, educational purposes and like a revolving door are on to the next city. But who will you have left when you’ve pushed the life of the city to the outer edges?
The irony of “revitalizing” an art enclave to make space for art is not a new agenda for city developers but here we have a critical opportunity to do it right. Consider what part in the revitalization process can and should artists play in enhancing the vibrancy of the city. Cities have a habit of going back to “recover” what was destroyed by earlier development, lets cut out the middle step and not only preserve the art, but the artist that create the city we love.
If nothing else you are taking away the very work that so many us inspire to do by moving to DC. This letter is not only an outcry to you, the city officials, but to the many museum professionals that take space in this city. We will and must protect the arts. We are prepared to do so.
Ravon and Amanda
Brown Girls Museum Blog