About The DC Cultural Plan

The DC Cultural Plan is an eight-month effort to draft the District’s first-ever Cultural Plan. This plan will lay out a vision for how together we can strengthen and invest in people, places and communities that define culture within the nation’s capital. As part of the process, we are engaged in a citywide conversation around cultural production, expression and identity, and we need to hear from you:

 * What does culture mean to you?

 * How can we improve resources available to those who create and perform in the District

 * How can we enhance access to cultural activities for all residents?

We invite you to participate in one of our public meetings and/or to submit your ideas and thoughts online as we go on this cultural planning journey.

 

Why are we doing this?

Culture in the District is far-reaching and changing. In 2015, there were more than 10 million attendees of cultural events spread all over the city, with 400 events in District parks alone. On the cultural production side, there are more than 500 spaces listed for rent (these include venues such as black box theaters, rehearsal spaces, and other facilities); however, we recognize that the strong real estate market continues to put pressure on the affordability of such spaces. This is one of the key issues the Cultural Plan aims to address.

Culture can mean many things: arts, culture, humanities, heritage, and/or preservation. It is also experienced in different ways, including through cultural production, expression and consumption.

We will unpack what culture menas to District residents and what more we can do to build DC culture.

As part of this, we will need to understand the context and take a hyper-local focus. Culture in the District is far-reaching and changing. In 2015, there were more than 10 million attendees of cultural events spread all over the city, with 400 events in District parks alone. 

On the production side, there are more than 500 spaces listed for rent, though we recognize that the strong real estate market continues to put pressure on affordable production spaces.

The District continues to invest millions in cultural grants and facilities, including more than $56 million in 2016 for DC Public Library improvements, a key community-facing component of our cultural sector. And the more than 44,000 students in DC Public Schools enjoy exposure to the arts with opportunity for deeper engagement.

The goal for the plan is to inspire all Washingtonians to vievw the District’s built environment and infrastructure as a stage and all residents as performers. We want to understand how access to, and immersion, in cultural can improve communities and the lives of residents across the city. Key objectives of the plan include the following:

 * Stimulate cultural production, expression and consumption

 * Address equity issues across neighborhoods and increase cultural participation

 * Support artist and talent development

 * Understand the larger role of culture in the federal and local city

 * Inform cultural policies, decision making and investments

The final plan will be ready in Spring 2017 and our hope is that it will capture community insights and aspirations and provide the framework for a city that overflows with culture and vitality.

 

Planning Team 

Per the “Cultural Plan for the District Act of 2015,” the DC Office of Planning (OP) was designated as the lead agency to develop a comprehensive cultural plan. OP is developing the Plan in close collaboration with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) along with the Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment (OCTMFE), and with  you: community members, artists, cultural organizations, residents, and all others who have a stake in the future of DC's cultural landscape. 

OP is also managing a team of consultants whose deep experience and expertise is being leveraged to review opportunities to link with other major planning efforts, particularly the forthcoming amendment process for the Arts and Culture Element of the District’s Comprehensive Plan. These firms are providing robust knowledge and recognized skills in planning, design and engagement in the District and across the nation, with substantial experience in strategizing for urban economic development, supporting cultural production and building community amongst diverse populations. 

HR&A Advisors, lead consulting firm, excels at analyzing data and developing policy recommendations that address challenges at a regional, city and neighborhood scales. HR&A has a long-time commitment to DC, with deep local knowledge and a passion for the City and its unique cultural scene. Building Community [bc] Workshop, lead subconsultant, is a well-recognized community design non-profit that seeks to improve the livability and viability of communities through the practice of thoughtful and participatory design. [bc] has extensive experience in working in diverse communities and using design to strengthen emerging neighborhoods.