Life Pieces to Masterpieces, an innovative and creative arts-based educational program, was established in 1996 to mentor boys and young men in Washington, D.C. Many of its participants are from Southeast Washington. Photograph by Susana Raab / Anacostia Community Museum 'A view of the U.S. Capitol Building from the Anacostia River near the Nationals’ Baseball Stadium in Southeast Washington, D.C., 2011. Photograph by Susana Raab / Anacostia Community Museum Alive In Christ, Dancing With A Purpose Ministries, Inc. is located in Southeast Washington, D.C., and is directed by Pastor Lois A. Void. Photograph by Susana Raab / Anacostia Community Museum Charles “Coco” Bayron creates a tattoo on the arm of Q Monts at Nu Flava Ink tattoo parlor on Martin Luther King Avenue SE. Photograph by Susana Raab / Anacostia Community Museum


Arts and Creativity East of the Anacostia River

Citified: Arts and Creativity East of the Anacostia River looks at creativity, identity, and community in Far Southeast Washington, D.C., neighborhoods. Presented in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum, it highlights the connections among residents of urban communities as expressed through arts and creativity. Citified alludes to the fact that many African American residents living east of the Anacostia River have parents or grandparents who migrated from the rural South, particularly North and South Carolina, and who continue to maintain connections with their southern (although often no longer rural) heritage.

Citified also refers to the ongoing transition from cultural and performance traditions shaped primarily by rural agrarian environments to those shaped primarily by wage work in urban industrial environments. Here, in place of rural quilting bees, quilters like the Daughters of Dorcas & Sons get together in churches and community recreation centers to pass on shared traditions. It is here, too, that the sounds of rural church choirs and musicians, as well as blues and country music traditions, transform into urban popular music and become the foundation of go-go music.

The Citified program is part of a long-term Anacostia Community Museum initiative, Call and Response, which explores arts and creativity through exhibitions and installations, museum collections, and community-focused programs. The Anacostia Community Museum is dedicated to a mission centered upon contemporary urban communities, and to research, documentation, and programming that are community-focused. At the core of the museum’s work is the belief that active citizen participation in the recovery and preservation of community historical assets, cultural and arts activities, and community advocacy are important and powerful instruments for creating and maintaining a sense of community and civic ownership.

Join the Anacostia Community Museum staff and Festival participants in celebrating the creativity and cultural expression found in schools, churches, community organizations, businesses, and other venues in East-of-the-River neighborhoods. Meet master artists and creative, inspiring residents from this part of Washington, D.C. Enjoy performances by line dancers, African dancers and drummers, church choirs, hip-hop artists, comedians, and go-go bands. Listen to storytellers; watch demonstrations of tattoo art; learn how to make quilt blocks from members of a multi-generational quilting guild; and participate in craft activities.

Featured Video

Click to watch video

Citified Program Introduction
Curator Portia James and artist Jay Coleman describe the 2012 Festival program Citified: Arts and Creativity East of the Anacostia River.

click to enlarge and view captions

“I was raised by Southerners.... It was all family and it was Southern hospitality. We had gardens. Even if we had a little patch of dirt, [we] would make a garden. You could take them out of the country, but you couldn’t take the country out of them. So I like to say, I’m a country boy from the city.”
— Dr. C. Matthew Hudson, Matthews Memorial Baptist Church

“[We] are the keepers of our culture, and as long as our culture is kept, we will survive.”
— Melvin Deal, African Heritage Dancers and Drummers

Related Content

Visit the Anacostia Community Museum Web site for more information about their mission, history, and programs.