The development of an arts corridor along Seventh Street NW has long been the stated aim of various local government agencies, the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corp. (PADC) and some private developers. The reality of Seventh Street differs slightly from those dreams. While a new development, Gallery Row, celebrates its opening tomorrow at Seventh and D streets, the Washington Project for the Arts continues negotiations to keep its space there. The old Lansburgh's building at Seventh and E streets -- home to a multitude of smaller arts groups -- must be cleared out for renovations by June 25.
Gallery Row, developed by Carley Capital Group, now contains two galleries, the Chase Gallery and the Zygos Gallery. As mandated by the PADC, 20 percent of its space must be dedicated to arts-related endeavors.
Meanwhile, the WPA is struggling. Director Jock Reynolds says "very delicate negotiations between the PADC, the city" and the WPA will continue into the summer.
"The only way nonprofit institutions can work down here is to have a partnership . . . The galleries that are going into Gallery Row are paying much more than we can pay," says Reynolds, who is preparing to launch a $1 million capital campaign. He's hoping to use some of the money raised to cut a deal with the city and the developers, who have a contract to purchase the WPA building lease.
"There have been some real moves on the part of the city," Reynolds says, "and I think the city and the PADC are trying to do the right thing." But he also cites disparities between the Seventh Street arts scene that is being marketed to the public and the scene as it now exists.
"There is this terrible irony. Here they are marketing this," Reynolds says, referring to Gallery Row, "and they cite WPA" to bring galleries into the area, while "potentially WPA is out on the street."
All was not gloom on the street over the weekend, though. The Progressive Club, a local social organization, sponsored a "Celebration of Washington Artists" Friday in the Gallery Row building. More than 100 works were exhibited.
"Washington is first and foremost a political city, but it wouldn't have a soul without the artists," says Bill Kaplan, one of the show's organizers.
Concert for Hunger Relief
Efforts by musicians, actors and artists to provide hunger relief for Africa have not slowed down. One such effort kicks off Wednesday at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall when the Paul Hill Chorale performs Australian David Fanshawe's "African Sanctus" in a benefit for the relief projects of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency International (ADRA).
"Sanctus" is a Latin mass juxtaposed against a background of taped traditional African music. From 1969 to 1974 Fanshawe traveled through north and east Africa, recording the music of more than 50 tribes. This music forms the core of his composition, which was first performed by the chorale in 1979 at the Kennedy Center.
Fanshawe will be present at Wednesday's performance -- not an easy accomplishment. He has been working in Papua, New Guinea, recording the traditional music of that island country. While he was taping "sacred flute music" near the Sepik River, a Roman Catholic priest approached him with a message from Washington.
"So I hitchhiked across the bush to Wewak, thinking that I was phoning the White House," Fanshawe recalls. He was not phoning the White House but the ADRA, which asked him appear at the benefit concert. (Ticket prices range from $7 to $35.)
He will be easily recognizable -- the one in safari gear. "I have no clothes to wear," says Fanshawe, "because I have spent the last five years in the field and have not been near a continent since 1980."
Fanshawe's work in Papua New Guinea will culminate in a composition called "Pacific Odyssey," tentatively scheduled for a premiere in 1988 during the Australian bicentennial celebrations.
A significant collection of 48 impressionist and post-impressionist paintings from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London will travel next year to five cities in the United States under the auspices of the Washington-based International Exhibitions Foundation. Unfortunately, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art is the closest the exhibition will come to Washington . . .
In Baltimore, the newly renovated Cone Wing for the Cone Collection opens next month at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The collection, assembled in the early 20th century by the Cone sisters, Etta and Claribel, features 42 Matisses that have been refitted with bronze frames, and Cezanne's "Mt. Ste. Victoire."