Guerilla Arts Summer 2013

Washington, D.C.
Dates Of Project: 
June-August 2013
D.C. Commission on Arts and Humanities

How do affordable housing policies and gentrification relate to racism in D.C.?

The D.C. Commission on Arts and Humanities and Critical Exposure jointly offered a summer program through partnerships with Guerilla Arts, a community-based arts and education organization, and Hands on the Future, an organization that trains youth in multimedia communications and internet technology. The youth chose to investigate gentrification and racism in D.C.


Contradicting the popular view of gentrification as “progress” that simply makes neighborhoods safer, youth looked critically at the displacement of long-time residents by new condominiums in Columbia Heights and the U Street Corridor. Students challenged the idea that displacement is an inevitable consequence of economic development by brainstorming potential action steps, such as advocating for stronger affordable housing laws, to create a society in which neighborhoods can be strengthened without forcing old residents out.


The program’s final exhibit was held at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, where students spoke about their project and exhibited their photos to hundreds of community members. Khadijah W., a Critical Exposure Fellow and now first-year student at the Corcoran College of Art & Design, co-facilitated this program as part of our first Summer Youth Facilitator Institute.