by Mary Beth Ray
President, VNMS Board
Fall in Van Ness has started with a bang – Barks and Brews was a tremendous success. But there’s more in store – from fun events to long-term projects to improve our retail and streetscape. Here’s an overview, which we hope will entice you to join in our work!
Barks and Brews
Van Ness Main Street’s Barks and Brews was such a hit that people and dogs alike asked to make this an annual event!
More than 100 people, with and without their pups, joined the fun the evening of Sunday, September 17th. The Calvert Woodley parking lot was transformed into a party space.
Look at these adorable pooches.
Live music by After the Flood, on-site fresh baked pizza by Timber Pizza, a choice of beers or cider from Capital Eagle and all those pups needing pats added to a festive mood. Bread Furst donated delectable dog treats.
AARP grant for placemaking
Van Ness Main Street is not just about great events. We recently won an AARP grant for a temporary placemaking project, during which we hope to bring together neighbors of all ages to activate and beautify the plaza on the west side of the Van Ness Metro station at 4250 Connecticut Avenue. AARP selected only 88 winners out of almost 1,200 applications. And Van Ness Main Street was the only awardee out of 18 submissions from DC.
The project goals are to improve social connections through the built environment for people of all ages and backgrounds, and drive community engagement. Potential changes include additional seating, landscaping, and activities such as outdoor chess. We are soliciting community feedback and will hire noted local artist Philippa Hughes, who describes herself as a social placemaker and cultural strategist. The project will culminate in a Community Engagement Day on October 28th. Stay tuned for invitations to our community outreach meetings.
Public Art at Van Ness
Also on the subject of placemaking, on Saturday, September 9th neighbors came WAMU to exchange ideas with three artists/teams who are the finalists in another public art project. The finalists will each receive $1,000 from VNMS to develop a proposal for any or all of these three sites: Van Ness Street and Connecticut Avenue on the south end, Albemarle and Connecticut on the northern end, and Windom Place in between. These finalists were chosen from eight submissions:
If you didn’t have a chance to attend the community meeting and you are interested in submitting your ideas, please email Theresa Cameron at firstname.lastname@example.org. Van Ness Main Street will continue to provide input and ideas to our three finalists. Once a final selection decision is made, additional funding will be sought from various sources, including Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3F, the city, and foundations.
New Look at Albemarle Street corner
Our design committee has spent a lot of effort uncovering the original art deco detailing of 4481-4483 Connecticut Avenue. With the blessings of the business owners and Borger Management, Inc., first the green awnings came down…
New signs went up recently…
The old signs have since been removed. The final step is adding lighting.
Next comes design work for the southern end of our Main Street on the east side of Connecticut between Veazey and Van Ness. Van Ness Main Street is partnering with UDC Master Architecture students to come up with a creative new look.
Ongoing work with local businesses
Our Economic Development Committee continues to work with our local businesses to help them become more successful, and to find creative ways to activate our empty retail space. Another holiday pop up market is in the works.
Enjoy our ongoing events at the Van Ness farmers market and Jazz@VN.
The bounty at the Saturday market includes Made in DC vendors, musicians and on September 17th, Chef Jonathan Bardzik, who once again helped bring our market to life with some great new recipes and a lively demonstration using fresh-from-the-farm produce. By the way, if you’re a picky and thrifty foodie like me, the eggplant, tomatoes, squash and basil are exceptional this year, and our VN prices can’t be beat!
And Jazz@VN lines up live music for a different business on the final Thursday of each month. Join us at these events for live music, a drink special or two, and the pleasure of the company of your fascinating neighbors!
Van Ness Main Street loves volunteers!
Would you consider helping with an event or serving on a committee? Please contact Theresa Cameron at email@example.com. We also appreciate your donations which keep us going. So please donate.