In March 2014 my husband and I were living in a small, picturesque English town where I had lived for most of my life. One very memorable day my husband came home with the news that his employer had offered him a job at their Washington, D.C. office. We were ready for a new adventure, so packed up our lives and moved here in September of 2014!
My expectations of Washington, D.C. were based on fuzzy memories of visiting as a tourist in 2005. (That was back in the days when you could actually get your photo taken right up against the gates in front of the White House!) I had been over in America visiting a friend in Pennsylvania when we went to D.C. for a day trip. My lasting impression of D.C. included the monuments, the Mall, and anti-Bush protestors. I could never have imagined that fast forward almost 10 years that I would be moving there. Pretty wild, huh?
I think when most people think of D.C. they think of politics, power, free museums, and the cherry blossoms. Those things are definitely a big part of D.C.'s identity, but I've also found it to be a surprisingly creative city. I think New York City will always be considered the creative capital on the East coast, but I would argue that Washington, D.C. has a lot to offer creative professionals too. It's impossible to really compare D.C. to NYC as they are such different cities, but I think you'd be surprised (like I was) by the wonderful, vibrant creative scene here. It is a smaller city with a much more accessible and close-knit creative community. Here are just five examples of where to find it:
A Creative DC
A Creative DC is a project that was started by Morgan H. West which 'promotes Washington, DC across social media, online, and IRL channels, shifting perception of DC creative culture from the inside out'. I strongly recommend checking out their hashtag on Instagram (#acreativedc), it's an everyday reminder that D.C. is an inspiring city with a lot to offer creative professionals. They also interview local creatives on their blog, and I love receiving their newsletter in my inbox.
Made in DC
I am an advocate for shopping local and supporting small businesses so was very excited when Made in DC was launched. The program 'promotes and supports businesses that design, make/produce, and/or assemble products in the District of Columbia.' Love how many talented makers call D.C. home! Again, get on Instagram for #MadeInDC to see for yourself.
The Lemon Bowl
I'm actually yet to go to The Lemon Bowl, but I'm planning to go to one of their events very soon! They offer a wonderful range of classes covering activities like terrarium making, knitting, weaving, block printing, and jewelry making. They're based in the Park View neighbourhood, about a ten minute walk from Columbia Heights metro station. Here's their calendar for July.
Blind Whino is a decommissioned church that is now a non-profit Arts Club and Event Space located in the Southwest Corridor of Washington D.C. The building itself is absolutely breath-taking (just look at it!): with a full wrap mural from Atlanta-based artist, Hense.
Torpedo Factory Art Center
Not technically in the District, but worth the short metro trip down to Old Town Alexandria, the Torpedo Factory is the nation’s largest collection of working-artists’ open studios under one roof. It's so fun to wander round the building (which used to be a munitions factory, hence the name), meet the artists and be inspired by their beautiful work. The Art League School also offers adult education classes at their annex on Madison Street in Old Town North - I'm dying to go to their ceramics class!
I know that this list does not even begin to scratch the surface of what D.C. has to offer. Fellow D.C.-area creatives: feel free to comment down below with your favourite places to find our creative scene!