David Grosso's Support for the Arts

David Grosso has a strong commitment to the arts as is demonstrated by the work he did while working on the staffs of Councilmember Sharon Ambrose and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton over an eight-year period. Some of the work David did at the Council and in Congress is listed below. When David is elected to the Council he will continue this strong commitment to the arts.  In particular, David would like to expand the Council’s commitment to cultivating the arts in D.C. through providing affordable artist housing, studio and theatre space. David also believes it is imperative to ensure that there is high quality arts education in every public school as D.C. builds out a robust arts economy.

  • Arena Stage:  During David’s time at the Council he worked to secure more than $30 million in public money for the complete renovation of the entire Arena Stage complex in Southwest Washington D.C.  The new complex is now the second largest performing arts center in the city after The Kennedy Center.
  • Atlas Performing Arts Center:  In 2003, while at the Council, David worked to create the H Street Overlay which divided H Street Northeast into three distinct sections.  The Arts and Entertainment section is anchored by the Atlas Theater and is known as the Atlas Theater District. The branding of this area of D.C. helped to put the Atlas on the map, stimulated development and revitalization along the corridor and increased housing values in the neighborhood.
  • Shakespeare Theatre Company:  During David’s time at the Council he worked on legislation that paved the way for the construction of the Sidney Harman Hall which, following three years of construction in the Penn Quarter neighborhood downtown D.C., was finished in 2007. The Shakespeare Theatre has played an integral role in the revitalization of downtown D.C. since it started at the Folger Library in 1986.
  • Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: The Woolly Mammoth was considered a “nomad” company until 2005 when a permanent home was built in downtown D.C.  David worked at the Council to ensure that the building where Woolly is now situated was built with the help of public money and that it would contain a permanent space for the arts.
  • Sitar Arts Center: During David’s tenure working for Congresswoman Norton he helped to secure federal funding for the Sitar Arts Center in Adams Morgan, recognizing that the center sits at the nexus of arts, education and the creative economy in D.C. 
  • Artomatic: While working for Congresswoman Norton, David helped publicize the event by organizing a conversation with D.C. bloggers at the NoMa lounge of Artomatic. The event generated more support and enthusiasm for the Artomatic Festival, which hosted over 50,000 attendees in NoMa, proving that the arts can be an effective promoter of new real estate developments in our city.
  • Corcoran Gallery of Art: David helped secure the sale of the Randall School in Southwest to the Corcoran for the school to expand its College of Art + Design.  The negotiations included the preservation of space for the artists who were using the Randall at the time of the sale.  Ultimately, the downturn in the economy defeated the Corcoran’s plans and the building was sold. Fortunately, the buyer was Corcoran friend and pre-eminent art collector Mera Rubell, who turned it into a mixed use hotel, local art gallery and community space.
  • The Phillips Collection:  David worked to help ensure passage of public financial support for the 2006 expansion of the Phillips Collection through the addition of the Sant Building and Goh Annex.
  • Studio Theatre:  The expansion of the Studio Theatre on 14th Street Northwest was accomplished with the support of Mayor Anthony Williams and the D.C. Council when David was working with Councilmember Sharon Ambrose. David developed public support for the project, championing the idea that the revitalization of 14th Street NW was dependent on not just the opening of the Whole Foods store on P Street, but also the enhancement and support of the arts.
  • The Howard Theatre: After the DC Preservation League listed the Howard Theatre on the “Most Endangered Places” list in 2002, discussions on the D.C. Council about how to save the Howard began in earnest.   Ultimately, David helped support an effort to ensure that there was public support to assist in the renovation of the theatre, the world’s oldest Black theater, out-dating the Apollo in NYC. The Council voted to support the Howard Theatre renovation project after he left the Council and was working with Congresswoman Norton. However, David’s support for the project continued while he worked in Congress. The renovations were completed in 2012, with a grand opening on April 10.  Today, the Howard Theatre is a key anchor in the U Street corridor, having restored its legendary reputation for presenting world class Black performing acts.
David Grosso for D.C. City Council in 2012
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