Can the arts transform Anacostia?

As the revitalization of the H Street Corridor proved, the arts can drive major economic improvement. But is H Street’s rebirth replicable? The City Paper looks at the possibility that Anacostia could become the next major arts corridor in the District, though it certainly faces big challenges (CP, 5/24):

That’s part of what’s going on in Anacostia: arts for its own sake…Which might be cause for excitement within the neighborhood, and surely much anxiety. All strata may participate in the arts, but in the lexicon of modern urban life, they often signify—fairly or unfairly—more disruptive changes to come, like skyrocketing rents and amenities more likely to appeal to newcomers than longtime residents.

The paper has four features on this subject, each one worth reading:

If You Build It, Who Will Come?
Stage of Development
What to Expect at LUMEN8 2013
Anacostia’s Arts Scene Is Growing

– By a gigundo margin, students in D.C. carry the highest student debt load in the country with an average of $41,230. Maryland comes in second with $26,310. That said, WAMU reports that our region has the highest proportion of graduate degrees in the country, and possibly the galaxy, though the Census doesn’t track that wide. (WAMU, 5/23) The article helps to validate this meme.

– As our  leaders on the Hill prepare to take off an entire week to celebrate Memorial Day, local school jurisdictions are getting ready to face sequestration-related budget cuts. (WAMU, 5/23)

– Chicago is a few hundred miles outside of our usual jurisdiction, but their school system experiences similar challenges to some in our region. To that end, it will be interesting to see what happens after the city executes the largest wave of school closings in the entire country. (Chicagoist, 5/23)

Though Enrolling More Poor Students, 2-Year Colleges Get Less of Federal Pie (NYT, 5/23)

Related event for WRAG members: Positioning Community Colleges to Effectively Train our Region’s Workers for High-Demand Jobs [More info.]

VETERANS | As our military engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq wind down, Rebekah writes about how local funders are preparing for returning veterans. (Daily, 5/23)

Tamara and Gretchen have both written about mission-driven investing in the last week, which includes using program-related investments (PRIs) to maximize impact. A new study finds that while PRIs have increased considerably over the past two decades, they were neglected during the recession. Also, funders might not be putting their money where their mouths are, and it’s not because money doesn’t taste good (Chronicle, 5/23):

There’s a disconnect between the amount of discussion about program-related investments in the foundation world and how many are actually made.

Operating Support Jumped 83% in 2011 (Chronicle, 5/23)

TEEN PREGNANCY | The Atlantic looks at the shifting geography of teen mothers in the United States. (Atlantic, 5/22)

The article notes that D.C. has the top rate among 15-17 year old girls, but be sure to check out our report Beyond Dollars to see how much progress has been made in the city in recent years.

BUDGETS | The DC Fiscal Policy Institute summarized the DC Council’s 2014 budget, which includes housing and children/family funding. (DCFPI, 5/22)

DAILY | In observance of Memorial Day, expected reduced readership, and lingering technology projects that require undivided attention, The Daily WRAG will return next Wednesday, May 29th.

The Cat Empire is an incredibly versatile and talented band from Down Under – easily one of the best live acts I’ve ever seen. I highly recommend checking out their new album Steal The Light on Spotify (and buying the album if you dig it). The whole thing is excellent, but my early favorite track is Wild Animals.

Since we’re going to be gone for a few days, here are TWO bonus items! First, breathtaking photographs from the first successful ascent of Mount Everest 60 years ago. Second, 15 hilarious GIFs of uncoordinated children. Give the animations a few seconds to load. Number 10 gets what he deserves.

Have a great long weekend, folks! – Christian