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AMBER ROBLES-GORDON is first Artist in Residence at DC’s The Nicholson Project

12 Sep
A room in 2310 Nicholson.

Linen & Lens

On the outside, it looks like any other single-family rowhouse in the District. But 2310 Nicholson Street SE will soon be opening up as a project unique to the street and rare for the city: a residency for artists, with a community garden in an adjacent lot tended by the neighborhood.

“[I’m interested in] looking at where you have rapid change in urban settings and how you can utilize a place to harness creative energy and build a revitalized community in a really inclusive way,” says Stephanie Reiser, a developer in the city who owns 2310 Nicholson and founded the artist residency. “My guess is that the artists who find us will have a great familiarity with this type of work.”

Reiser has christened the venture the Nicholson Project. It will have its opening event on September 14 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., featuring several art installations, a studio tour, and performances by East River Jazz, DJ Jahsonic, and Hirshhorn ARTLAB. (The event is free, and you can RSVP here). The gallery is also open for viewing by appointment through October 26. The project joins already-established art venues east of the river like Honfleur Gallery, Congress Heights Arts and Culture Center, and Anacostia Arts Center.

The developer says she started out her career flipping houses, and slowly became more and more concerned with issues of affordability and inclusivity. She debated for a time about what she wanted to do with the property on Nicholson, which she purchased in 2014, knowing only that she wanted to do something associated with “affordability and the arts.” Eventually, she says, it became clear to her that she wanted something more lasting than a one-time art show, for example.

“I want to have a conversation and dialogue around some of these questions of affordability, access, how development is done, and the way the arts and the creative classes can be part of revitalizing and strengthening the social fabric of communities,” Reiser says. “The idea of having a residency really rose to the front of the type of work we wanted to do. An artist residency program would help us to support artists as they advance their career. And it just resonated, it seemed to be the right for for Nicholson.”

The house itself is more restored than renovated, Reiser says, with much of the original architecture left in place. As well as offering installations, she hopes the home will become a community space that groups can use for meetings or anything else they might need. The garden in the adjacent lot, in particular, Reiser imagines as a community resource.

The artists in the residency will receive $2,000 per month and can live and work full-time in the renovated rowhouse, Reiser says. Reiser is currently funding that stipend herself, but has set up a non-profit foundation to raise money for it, she tells DCist. Applications to the residency will open up twice per year—the next round opens on October 1, 2019.

The first artist in residency at the Nicholson Project will be Amber Robles-Gordon, a D.C.-based visual artist who’s had exhibitions in six countries. She’s created public art installations in the region with the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association, Howard University, and other local entities. She hosted a workshop and created an installation for the #ifyoulivedhere project produced by the Pink Line Project and the Anacostia Smithsonian Museum, and has also created installations in Maryland.

Robles-Gordon began her residency in July 2019, and will create a room-sized installation that will debut at the opening of the residency on September 14.

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Available artwork by AMBER ROBLES-GORDON

 

Morton Fine Art

52 O St NW #302

Washington, DC 20001

(202) 628-2787

http://www.mortonfineart.com

mortonfineart@gmail.com