Correction to This Article
The article about the Gateway Arts District said Tim Tate is the owner of the Washington Glass School. Tate co-owns the school with artists Erwin Timmers and Michael Janis.
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State of Prince George's, Md., Arts District? So-So.

Tim Tate, who owns the Washington Glass School, moved his operation to a 5,000-square-foot warehouse just off Route 1 in Mount Rainier about three years ago, after his building in Southeast Washington was displaced by the construction of the Nationals Park baseball stadium.

Tate said Mount Rainier has three things in its favor: housing affordability, proximity to the District and a collection of artists, all of which have allowed it to become a "serious artist community," drawing collectors, art lovers and students from across Washington.

"It's more of an arts destination," said Margaret Boozer of Red Dirt Studio. "People know about [the area]. It's not some scary place across the [Prince George's County] line."

Novie Trump, a sculptor from Northern Virginia who works in ceramics, opened a studio not far away from Tate's warehouse so she could be a part of the new community. "I could have built a studio out in the country and lived and worked by myself, but I chose this, where there are over 100 artists within a few square miles," she said.

Franklin's General Store and Brewery, which completed a $1.6 million expansion in 2002, is one of many restaurants and stores that display the work of local artists.

The first phase of EYA's development in 2008 included the restoration of the Lustine Chevrolet showroom into a community center, gym and space for artists to work and show their pieces. And ezStorage opened a 10,000-square-foot self-storage facility last year that includes studio space.

But Chris Brophy, who has lived in Hyattsville for 11 years and opened his Rhode Island Reds cafe a year ago, said he worries about the pace of the revitalization.

Brophy looks no farther than outside his front door to find the source of his frustration.

There is no sidewalk. There is little street lighting. A neighboring auto repair shop amasses junk. The conditions make his business appear unappealing to potential customers, he said.

Brophy has complained to Hyattsville officials, but they lay the burden on the county government, he said.

Alan Binstock, an architect who has lived in Mount Rainier for 20 years and was a leading proponent of the arts district, said he realizes that some efforts have fallen short.

For example, he said, among the businesses that have shut their doors in the past couple of years were two in line with the vision for the arts district: a bookstore and a coffee shop that became a showcase for nighttime spoken-word performances.

Binstock said the district needs more daytime customers to help sustain some of the businesses. Without foot traffic, their demise is almost certain, he said.

"Bringing in artists, just themselves, we need more than that," Binstock said. "We have a foundation started, but we have to move to the next step."


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