“We make space for art.”
CulturalDC held true to their word yesterday with the launch of VisionDC at Arena Stage. The all-day summit championed the arts in ways I haven’t experienced since graduate school. Speakers empowered audiences to use the arts to fuel urban development, a concept with powerful implications for city planners and artists alike.
What I loved most was how interdisciplinary it was; artists, real estate developers, architects, policymakers and business leaders attended. Their different perspectives made for discussions that were deeply insightful. VisionDC proved that diversity, if approached openly, actually brings people together.
For example, the keynote speech by Jamie Bennett, the executive director of ArtPlace America, focused on ways we could reframe the conversation around creative placemaking. He encouraged us all – real estate, arts and business professionals alike – to use our expertise to come up with strategies for change within our communities.
The rest of the day featured panelists such as Isabel Castilla, landscape architect of the High Line in NYC; Philippa Hughes of the Pink Line Project; Julia Kaganskiy, director of the NEW INC New Museum; and Kate Goodall, CEO of the Halcyon Incubator. Sessions were interspersed with music, theatre and spoken-word performances from local artists.
For a first annual conference, I’d say CulturalDC hit it out of the water. People filtered in and out of Arena Stage all day, and most sessions I attended were standing room only. The speakers were some of the best in their fields, making the summit an invaluable learning – and networking – event.
I know this review is short and sweet, but hopefully it gives you a sense of how…well, big, the day was. Keep this on your radar for next year. Whether you’re in real estate or just love the arts as much as I do, VisionDC will inspire you to explore the arts and urban development in new, innovative ways.