Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Michael Berman's studio returns to F Street (Downtown Arts District)

I first became acquainted with Michael Berman as a result of my documentation of the 2005 Downtown Holiday Market which may be viewed at the Eastern Market Newsletter. However, I did not meet Michael Berman, face to face, until the 2006 Downtown Holiday Market at Penn Quarter.

A nationally recognized and collected artist Berman, for many years rented an artist's studio in the historic Downtown Arts District in Washington DC, in the 900 block of F Street, NW. But, as a result of the redevelopment of downtown DC many artists, including Berman, were forced out.

Relocating his studio to 29 Kings Court on Capitol Hill, in 2001, and while an exhibitor and organizer of the Eastern Market Flea Market, in recent years, Michael Berman has been very active in preserving artists' studios in DC. He is President of the Downtown Artists Coalition (DAC), formed in order to preserve and foster artists' studio space in Washington. The DAC has been instrumental in re-establishing artists' spaces on the 900 block on F Street, as well as promoting live/work studios in the Historic Mather building on the 900 block of G Street and other areas in the traditional arts district of downtown DC. Michael is also an active member, and currently serving on the Board of Trustees, for the Committee of 100 on the Federal City, the oldest civic planning organization in DC. In addition to displaying artwork, Michael also organizes, curates, and promotes exhibitions. Michael is co-founder of the unique art organization Project BRASAS and the inter-disciplined artists' collective, CAOS (Coalition of Artists on the Shore), based in Cambridge, Maryland. Both organizations focus on alternative exhibitions done for and by artists.

Additionally, Michael operates an artists property management business, Arts Enterprises LLC, a Washington D.C. company that offers a variety of real estate products and services to the arts community. As Managing Director, he is active in promoting and creating new opportunities for artists to acquire real estate and flourish in D.C.

When out taking pictures on Tuesday afternoon, along F Street, I ran into Michael. Pointing to the 3rd floor of a building that he was standing in front of he said that, if things go as planned, he will soon return to his old studio on F Street, in the Downtown Arts District.

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