Yesterday Brookland was treated to a pop-up street art piece from artist Theodore Carter. The electrical box at the corner of 9th and Monroe was adorned with his 5-foot tall tentacle sculptures. The pieces, made mostly from recycled materials, are a part of an ongoing street art project called Tentacle Tuesday that will pop up at different locations across the city during summer. Thanks for stopping through Brookland, Theodore! You can follow the project on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Since 1986, Dance Place has been more than our local dance training and performance venue. It has provided the Brookland community with free artsy activities as well as after-school programs and summer camps.
This August, Dance Place founder Carla Perlo will step down after 37 years leading the organization. In early September, Dance Place will welcome its new executive artistic director, Christopher K. Morgan.
A dancer, choreographer, and arts educator, Christopher will be responsible for the Brookland area-based institution’s overall vision. He’ll also curate over 40 weeks’ worth of performances and programming.
As Christopher prepares for this next stage of his creative and professional career, we caught up with him for a chat about his background and future plans for this cultural institution.
How did dance become your artistic passion (as opposed to, say, painting)?
As a child I danced the hula and dances of Polynesia with my family. Both of my parents were born and raised in Hawai’i but had moved to Southern California during their service in the U.S. Marines. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, they gave my brothers and sisters and I the opportunity to connect to our cultural heritage through the dance and music of our ancestors.
I came to Western-influenced forms of dance (ballet, jazz, modern dance) at the age of 17. While participating in high-school theater, a choreographer suggested I take a ballet class. Recognizing a talent in me I didn’t know I had, the ballet teacher invited me to take classes from her for free. Before I knew it, I was consumed by this passion I felt for these ways of moving my body and expressing myself.
I studied in a studio throughout my senior year of high school. I had been studying dance and writing at the University of California at Irvine for two years when I was offered my first full-time job as a dancer for Malashock Dance & Company, a modern company in San Diego. I leapt at the opportunity, as dance had become my all-consuming passion – and has been ever since.
How did you first get involved with Dance Place?
I first learned of Dance Place in 1998 as a young dancer living in San Diego preparing to move to D.C. to dance for what is now The Dance Exchange. A few months later, in January of 1999, I found myself onstage at Dance Place in an evening of dancer-choreographed works.
Of course, I’ve attended many performances at Dance Place over the years, but since I began my dance company, Christopher K. Morgan & Artists, in 2011, Dance Place has played an important role in presenting our work multiple times. Most significantly, Dance Place was one of the two lead commissioners and the site for the world premiere of my 2016 work, Pōhaku, which has now toured to nine venues around the United States.
Over the last 10 years, I’ve felt a growing call to arts leadership emerging in my life, which drew me to the executive artistic director role at Dance Place. In order to achieve equity for under-represented artists, diverse representation must be at the decision-making tables. As a person who identifies with multiple marginalized groups, I take very seriously my role to serve artists, students, and audiences of all types.
What are your hopes for the future of Dance Place?
I’m approaching this new role with a philosophy of inclusivity and service, which is essentially continuing Dance Place’s existing mission. I’m excited how this evolution in my career will allow me to support and serve artists, students, and audiences.
One thing I hope for is to help Dance Place and the greater D.C. dance community increase their visibility on the national scene as an important center for dance. After all, we’re in our nation’s capital, and D.C. has the second-highest concentration of choreographers in the country. The work being presented and made here is noteworthy, and it should be recognized more.
What should the relationship be between an arts organization and its surrounding community?
Nothing exists in isolation. I like to use the image of concentric circles. The concentric circles of community Dance Place inhabits begin with the Brookland and Edgewood neighborhoods and expand from there out to D.C., and from there to the region, and from there to the nation.
Dance Place’s relationship with Brookland and Edgewood has to be strong in order for the organization’s role in the greater D.C. community to be strong. In turn, that creates an open environment that’s ready to receive what the artists who come from outside this particular community bring to our neighborhood. The circles can be porous when they’re strong, allowing ideas and information to flow inward and outward.
What do you like most about the Brookland and Edgewood neighborhoods?
As someone who’s worked at and patronized Dance Place, I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Brookland and Edgewood. It’s amazing to see how the neighborhood has evolved since I first set foot in it back in 1998. I hope it can continue to keep its long-time residents while it grows and embraces new neighbors. I’m a big fan of the nearby Busboys and Poets location, and I love grabbing a beer over at Brookland Pint and seeing the Arts Walk alive with people.
As I step into this new role, I’m looking forward to getting to know the residents and local business owners around here. In fact, if you’re reading this and want to meet, let’s do so in the neighborhood. Or better yet: Stop by a performance at Dance Place when our new season starts in the fall and say hi!
Ever thought about how changes in decor can effect the energy of your home? Then check out the event page for this upcoming workshop:
Join Award Winning Washington, DC area Designer, Author and Feng Shui expert, Sherry Burton Ways of SBW Aligned Expressions, as she shares useful info for getting your sacred space together! Priceless info on the ancient Chinese Art of Feng Shui and how to use it to place art effectively to create good energy and personal transformations in your apartment, condo or home.
If you have an interest in arts and crafts and haven’t checked out nearby Artist and Craftsman Supply, you probably should. Located at 1201-1203 Brentwood Road NE (in the shopping center behind the Giant and Home Depot) it has a wide variety of products – there is something for pretty much anyone, from paint, canvas, and brushes, to decorative paper, stamps, stickers and games to knitting supplies and glitter. They also conduct classes, a few upcoming ones are listed below. You can keep track of upcoming events via their Facebook page. Call (202) 526-4446, email
(firstname.lastname@example.org) or stop in to sign up.
Saturday 5/13 2:00-4:00pm- Beginning Paint Class
Learn to paint a seascape in this instructor-led, two hour class! Class is $25 and all supplies are included. Acrylic painting technique will be taught. Students take home their own piece. Open to all levels! (Teacher: Joelle Hanton)
Sunday 5/14 3:00-5:00pm- Beginning Watercolor Class
Spring is here and to most that means flowers! We can’t forget however that it also means moms! Join D.C. area painter and illustrator Martin Swift on Mother’s Day for a two hour watercolor class and learn how to paint roses. We will cover the basics of watercolor technique through a step by step process detailing how to reproduce one of nature’s most iconic gifts. Materials and light refreshments are provided! Price for 2 hour class is $40.
Saturday 5/20 1:00-3:00pm- Kids Paint Class
Paint class just for kids! Using acrylic paint, instructor will lead students to paint an outdoor, panda bear scene! Great for kids ages 5 and up. Students get to take home their very own piece! Parent or guardian must remain on premises. Class is $10 and all supplies are included. (Teacher: Joelle Hanton)
Sunday 5/21 3:00-5:00pm- Stencil Class
Learn how to make your own stencil using X-acto knives and stencil paper. You’ll be able to make the stencil and use it to make your own stenciled piece. Class is $10 and all supplies are included. (Teacher: Darren Soto)
Sunday 5/28 3:00-4:30pm- Kids Art Time
Craft time for kids! Bring your kids for a fun time of crafts! Check in ahead of time to see what the craft is for the day. Craft time is $10/child to cover the cost of supplies. Parent or guardian must remain on premises. (Teacher: Tony Johnson)
Visit the artists and makers at Off the Beaten Track Warehouse during the first weekend of May for Spring Open Studios!
Artists in our building make and do just about everything, including: painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, encaustic arts, mosaic, fine woodworking, blacksmithing, papermaking, jewelry, candle making, letterpress, flower arranging and more.
Throughout the weekend check out artist talks + demonstrations, plus shop Made in DC goods just in time for Mother’s Day.
Our neighbor Good Food Markets will be popping up with coffee and snacks, and sharing their mission to bring fresh, local produce to food desert communities.
Saturday, May 6 from 12-6
Sunday, May 7 from 12-6pm
Check out more here. Off The Beaten Track is located at 2414 Douglas Ave. NE, a couple of blocks from nearby Langdon Park.
We thought readers would be interested in this upcoming art show exploring the roles and identities Black women entrepreneurs play in society. From the event page:
C A T A L Y S T was created in an effort to shatter the glass around the roles women have been assigned in contemporary society; who they can be, what they can wear and how they choose to carry themselves.
Local porches and stoops are transformed into stages for an afternoon of music, dance, and poetry that brings together neighbors, business owners, and artists in a casual and fun display of creative expression!
Maps will be available in person at each Porch location during Porch Fest or you can download the map HERE…Check out Facebook for performer details and other insider scoops HERE
We thought neighbors would be interested in a free stand up comedy show tonight from the Power of Positive Drinking, an interactive open-mic comedy concept which combines stand-up and drinking games. From the event page:
No more games. It’s time to get real with you guys. There’s a lot of f*ckbois and f*ckgirls out there who still haven’t recognized that their shenanigans do have consequences. Luckily, we at the Power of Positive Drinking appreciate the patience and talent it takes to discretely but unequivocally tell these clowns to go eat the appropriate amount of horse feces. So we’d like to gather our favorite comedians together to honor everything from side eye to slight, awkward laughter. Come join us for a night craft beer and laughter at those who are beneath us. And remember: never let anyone get away unscathed.
Doors Open: 5pm
Comedy Show: 7:30pm
Right Proper Brewing Company Production House and Tasting Room is located at 920 Girard Street NE.
Here is a great deal for those looking to check out a ‘paint and sip’ event. From the event page:
On March 3rd, join us for Art Enables’ first ever paint-and-wine night in the Studio Gallery! Local artist Alice Park will be leading a cherry-blossom themed acrylic painting workshop. Your $25/$30 ticket includes paint, a canvas, and two drink tickets (additional wine is available for purchase.) Aprons/smocks/casual clothes are highly encouraged. Doors open at 6, with the workshop running 6:30 – 8:30pm.
Get your tickets here. Art Enables is located in nearby Woodridge at 2204 Rhode Island Avenue, NE.
Here is a great way to enjoy an affordable live musical performance right here in our backyard. Catholic U’s spring musical is Little Women, running from Friday February 17th – Sunday, February 26. From the CUA School Of Music Facebook page:
Based on Louisa May Alcott’s classic 1869 semi-autobiographical novel, the musical focuses on the four March sisters — brassy, Jo, romantic Meg, pretentious Amy, and kind-hearted Beth — and their beloved Marmee, at home in Concord, Massachusetts while the family patriarch is away serving as a Union Army chaplain during the Civil War. Intercut with the vignettes in which their lives unfold are several recreations of the melodramatic short stories Jo writes in her attic studio. At its core it is a musical about family and the love that binds them together against all odds.
Performances will take place at CUA’s Hartke Theater, 3801 Harewood Road. You can get your tickets here. For more information on shows put on by the CUA School of Music, many of them free, check out their calendar here.
All about Washington DC's Greater Brookland neighborhood