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Mayor Announces “District Innovation Zones” and New Arts Mapping Tool

Friday, May 22, 2015

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) announced two new resources to support local artists and grow the District’s creative economy.

The “District Innovation Zones” (DIZ) is a unique program developed by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the Office of Planning to temporarily activate locales across the District to test new ideas, conceptual art projects, and technologies. DCCAH Innovate DC grant will be we awarded to individuals and institutions that enhance the public realm by encouraging people to connect with each other in ways that are innovative, creative and ultimately enhance the public experience in District neighborhoods.

Mayor Bowser also launched the District’s Comprehensive Environmental Survey of Arts Resources (CESAR), a new geospatial web-based mapping tool that will provide both the agency and the public a comprehensive view of arts and cultural resources in the District, which will serve to inform future arts funding and investment opportunities by DCCAH.

“These programs build on our commitment to the District’s creative economy and ensure that residents across all eight wards can benefit from the arts – including the job growth  and neighborhood improvements fueled by these innovative opportunities,” said Mayor Bowser.

“The District Innovation Zones give us the opportunity to showcase the work of grantees in a new setting,” said Kay Kendall, Chair of DCCAH. “In particular, we can highlight the creativity and innovation that our local artists and organizations put into their work that benefit the entire District.”

Today’s launch took place at Canal Park in Ward 6, which will be an innovation zone activated by recipients of DCCAH’s recent Innovate DC special arts initiative grant, which support projects that encourage and maintain the long-term development and impact on the arts, humanities and creative activities in Washington, DC. Recipients utilizing the first zone will be the Atlas Performing Arts Center, Capitol City Symphony, and Teach of Change.

CESAR will be the first of its kind among state arts agencies in the US. Aligned with Mayor Bowser’s vision for a fresh start and an open and transparent government, CESAR will also provide an integrated mechanism for the public to more readily access information on DCCAH grant programs and activities. 

“CESAR is an important step forward in how we can best serve our arts community and DC residents,” said Lisa Richards Toney, Interim Director of DCCAH. “Using the data we collect from this tool, we will be able to create future plans and initiatives that will have the most significant positive impact in our city.”

DCCAH also is working with the Office of Planning to present future District Innovation Zone activations around the city in the coming months.

The announcement is part of  InnoMAYtion, a pioneering initiative launched by Mayor Muriel Bowser that will showcase innovative programs during the month of May that create jobs, engage residents and position the District as a hub for innovation.

For more information on the District Innovation Zones and CESAR, visit: dcarts.dc.gov.