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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Anne CorbetT, 37

Executive director, Cultural Development Corp.

You might call Anne Corbett a space cadet. Even though there is nothing remotely flighty about her. ¶ The type of space to which she is devoted is of the bricks-and-mortar variety: the real estate available in Washington for artists to go about their business. As executive director of the Cultural Development Corp., the 37-year-old Corbett has made her nonprofit agency indispensable to the artistic life of the city, through the preserving and rehabilitating of living and working quarters for painters, dancers, actors and designers. ¶ Corbett's group acts variously as consultant, dealmaker and landlord, bringing together developers and arts organizations to ensure that the next phases of the city's construction plans include room for studios and theaters. More and more the CDC is taking on the role of rehabbing and running spaces itself. ¶ Flashpoint, the gallery, experimental black box and dance rehearsal space in the bottom of a condominium on G Street NW, is a CDC project; so is the newly renovated Source Theatre on 14th Street NW, which was rechristened in June with a virtually sold-out festival of short theater works. The CDC's efforts ensured the storied Source would remain a place for plays. ¶ On Corbett's drawing board are even more ambitious proposals: a 48-unit building in Brookland where artists would work and live, and the conversion of another building into a visual arts center, modeled loosely on Alexandria's Torpedo Factory. These days, she says, "there's a much greater awareness of the role the arts plays in the livability of our community."

-- Peter Marks


© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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