Former DC church is transformed into art space

A former church that has been sitting empty in SW D.C. for two decades is now drenched in color & will reopen as an art club.

The project started last fall when two guys with a passion for art began restoring a 138-year-old building into a community center. They began by draping the outside with a mural, and now the inside is getting the same creative love.

Every inch of this former church at the corner of Delaware Avenue and H Street SW is coated in color, and it can be seen from 395 and I Street – according to one individual who describes the building as looking “like Starburst.”

Middle school students are in awe of the building’s transformation, and now they along with adults can soon enjoy it primarily as an art club – no membership required.

“We'll be doing art classes, we'll do be yoga classes, we'll be doing all types of community programming because you don't have that type of accessibility in this particular quadrant of D.C.,” says Ian Callender, the club’s co-founder. Last fall, he and his business partner brought over a contemporary artist from Atlanta who is now making history here – the building has the only full mural wrap in the D.C. region.

As for the inside, the 15,000 square ft. space once reserved for worship is now becoming a space for self-expression and imagination.

“We don't want to limit it to just one specific genre,” adds Callender. “It can be an event space. If you want to do theater, we have a stage.”

Across the street, the former Randall School bought by a noted art collecting family is slated to become an art museum with retail and residential space – more redevelopment turning a once-abandoned block into an artistic wonderland.

Anyone from the public will be able to enjoy free art classes and events at the club, set to open in September with a month-long art summit called “G-40.”

Fundraising is currently underway to help offset the restoration costs. For more information or to donate, visit their website.