Why the DC Metro Area?

Community Art for Everyone (CAFE)'s mission is to create a "living" culture in the Washington D.C. metro area by using the community art (public art) genre as a platform to create, express, and highlight the people who live there.

We chose Washington D.C. because it is a global political city. It is the home of all three branches of the American federal government, 177 foreign embassies for diplomatic missions in the United States, countless international non-profit organizations, and many national monuments and museums which promote education. If we can create a living culture of community art locally in the District, we believe the domino effect that follows can have a tangible and positive impact across the nation and the world.

Choosing a Project Site

Through a four-part workshop series, we determined to focus our efforts on downtown Annandale.

Annandale is a census-designated place (CDP) in Fairfax County, Virginia. As of the 2010 census, there were 41,008 people, 14,184 households, and 9,790 families residing in the community. The sharp decrease in population from 54,994 in 2000 was due to the splitting off of the CDP's western portion to form the Wakefield and Woodburn CDPs. The population density in 2010 was 5,219.0 people per square mile (2,015.1/km²). There were 14,715 housing units at an average density of 1,872.1/sq mi (721.3/km²).

Most notably, the racial diversity of the community was above average: 50.4% White, 24.6% Asian, 8.6% African American, 0.5% American Indian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 11.6% from other races, and 4.1% from two or more races. Hispanics and Latinos of any race were 27.6% of the population. The white community is largely working class, and is one of the few remaining areas in Fairfax County where the group has a notable presence. Downtown Annandale is known as Koreatown. There were roughly 929 Korean-American owners’ businesses as of 2006 and 67 Korean restaurants as of July 1, 2010.

As our mission is rooted in the development and sharing of culture through art, we believed Annandale would be the perfect location to start.

Defining the Problem

During our workshops, participants were quick to note that Annandale is not beautiful. From the context of a city, beauty is derived from the landscape. In other words, it is the visual landscape of a city that forms its image. An expert urban planner, Kevin Lynch, reported that people understood their surroundings in consistent and predictable ways by forming mental maps with five elements: paths, edges, districts, nodes, and landmarks (The Image of the City, 1960). We decided to examine these five elements, and realized that Annandale doesn’t have many landmarks.

Instead of building landmarks without the appropriate context, we drafted a timeline to get to know the community first.

Our Timeline



Focus Groups

Community Art Workshop

Exploring Annandale's Community

  • Children's workshop
  • Public piano
  • Pop-Up park art day
  • Community dance; gang-gang sulae

Research

  • Community survey and focus groups
  • Urban design analysis

Partnerships and Promotions

Community Engagement

  • Annandale drawing event
  • TBD community event

Placemaking

  • Gallery street project
  • Art market
  • Public art