Creative Life in the Gateway Arts District

Special Announcement: Presenting the Art Lives Here Magazine

In the winter of 2012 I was approached to be a part of Art Lives Here. Stuck in a lonely office doing database entry for a worthy, but not arts-related, non-profit I jumped at the offer. In January 2013, Art Lives Here launched.

Tamara Wellons during Beauty Built on Love

Tamara Wellons during Beauty Built on Love

Art Lives Here has allowed me the privilege of getting to know a few of the great minds and creative talents that make the Gateway Arts District (GAD) tick. I’ve been in artists homes & studios, lingered in administrative offices of community development corporations and arts organizations, attended meetings, presentations, reflections, coffees, happy hours, openings, receptions, and more. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of incredible arts opportunities the GAD offers.

Out of the hundreds of artists and organizations that live and work in the Gateway Arts District, Art Lives Here has only been able to touch a small section. There’s so much more Art Lives Here has yet to touch. However as the momentum continued, more and more artists and organizations began to seek out Art Lives Here and become a part of a powerful brand which is owned by all of us.

Preparing to march the Mt. Rainier Circle Better Block Night 2014

Preparing to march the Mt. Rainier Circle Better Block Night 2014

At its most basic, Art Lives Here sought to fund and assist artists with powerful ideas to enact change in their hometown of the Gateway Arts District through their work. Through a request for proposals process, we had the opportunity to see just how big these artists can dream. Some proposals were for small changes that would create big impact, others sought to fulfill a big picture vision with little thought to executive details. At the end of the day, projects were chosen by a panel of representatives based on artistic merit, sustainability, and viability.

ALH logo1Art Lives Here also funded a small but powerful communications team, led by Michelle Lee of Mingus Communications who first suggested “Art Lives Here”. Under Lee’s direction, a recent graphic design graduate, Justin Bost, was hired to create the Art Lives Here logo and style guide. Colors, fonts and arrow styles and sizes were chosen with a careful deliberation to represent the powerful grassroots movement of artists who were dedicated and inspired to do their work in this community of the Gateway Arts District.

Throughout the next two years, Lee leveraged resources and worked with the creative minds of the Gateway Arts District to come up with and execute some pretty spectacular brand strategies. These included, but were not limited to, developing a style guide for the brand, setting up free artist photoshoots an creating a robust and active social media presence.

Trans Action, Photo by Shaun Schroth

Trans Action, Photo by Shaun Schroth

One of the most rewarding experiences during my time with Art Lives Here was organizing and participating in the Gateway Arts District photo shoots. In an effort to celebrate the core of the GAD, our creative ones, we kicked off a series of free photoshoots in July of 2014. What started as a thin response turned into a torrent of incredible artists. Touting instruments, paintings, costumes, jewelry, paintbrushes, pens, moleskin notebooks, books, antlers, and more, they rolled in to our photo shoots where they smiled, frowned, moved, grooved, grinned, laughed, and expressed themselves. Local photographers Matt Carl, Marketa Ebert, Evan Wilder, Krista Schlyer, Charles Steck and Valerie Phillips helped us photograph over 125 artists in locations throughout the GAD. After each photoshoot we were able to share the high-quality digital portraits with the participating artists for their use.

Arts-friendly local development company, Landex, partnered with Art Lives Here to display many of these portraits in a fence-wrap on the site of the future Studio 3807 located next to the Gateway Arts Center on Rhode Island Avenue. Tweets, Facebook posts and emails came rolling in with photos of artists posing with their larger than life portraits. Artist and photographer Matt Carl used the portraits to create a mosaic poster and Lee and local graphic designer Courtnye Koivisto included all the portraits in the Art Lives Here magazine.

I am proud to present the result of months of work, planning, meeting, and detailed work: the Art Lives Here magazine.

Please download the PDF here:

Many of the articles and bios were shortened for the print publication, you can read the in-depth versions here:

By Neena Narayanan, Art Lives Here Coordinator


About neenajoe

Joe’s Movement Emporium is a cultural arts hub that acts as a catalyst for creativity and economic opportunity for all through productions and programs in education, artist services and work readiness. Located in the town center of Mount Rainier, Maryland within the Prince George’s County Gateway Arts District, the organization supports and promotes creative projects of local artists and community groups. For additional information on programs and events, please visit

6 comments on “Special Announcement: Presenting the Art Lives Here Magazine

  1. Ellyn Weiss
    June 17, 2015

    Neena, this is really terrific! You are the man. Peace and love

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Alonzo Davis
    June 18, 2015

    Keep doing it Neena – Art Lives Here 2015

    Sent from my iPhone


    • neenajoe
      June 18, 2015

      No worries, Alonzo, I’m sticking around 🙂

  3. Nicole Burton
    June 19, 2015

    Mazel tov, Neena. You rock! Joe’s rocks!!

    Sent from my iPhone


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Most Clicked

  • None
%d bloggers like this: