ECAC’s activities truly reflect the spirit, desires and concerns of a diverse community. Rather than focus on any one particular activity or population, we allow the activities to attract the wide range of people that make up the community. As people are encouraged to come out of their homes and into the neighborhood, they discover people, cultures and heritage they may not have had the opportunity to encounter. Our core offerings include activities centered around
- The Arts (e.g. Tai Chi, Knitting/Crochet, Yoga, Capoeira Angola, Poetry Open Mic)
- Education (e.g. Youth Summer Program, Fitness, Natural Childbirth, Self Defense)
- Civic Engagement (e.g. Free Tax Preparation, Census Bureau Testing, Crime Prevention)
- Support Groups (e.g. Al Anon, Codependents Anonymous, Women’s Support Circles)
- Social Events: (e.g. Neighborhood Socials, Swap Meets, Thanksgiving Dinner, Cookouts)
- Environmental Awareness (e.g. Gardening, Composting, Rain Barrel Installation)
- Heritage Education (e.g. Children’s Heritage Program, Neighborhood History Sessions)
ECAC supports many non-profits, individual artists and educators who are discouraged from offering programs in this area due to lack of affordable space and marketing challenges. By offering a combination of reasonable hourly room rates and outreach, ECAC collaborates with over 70 organizations and individuals, to host over 100 activities annually. We regularly donate space to children’s groups, youth activities and civic activities.
Several themes have emerged in our programming which reflects the values we espouse at the center
In 2003 when renovation of the abandoned building at 733 Euclid St. began, we discovered that the building had a history of educating Black women and children since 1863. Today, visitors can browse our permanent exhibit, read our free booklet, and visit our website to discover this fascinating history. Partnering with Cultural Tourism DC in 2007, the ECAC organized a neighborhood group that worked for a year to document the history of Pleasant Plains, our target neighborhood, slated to become a part of the Georgia Avenue/Pleasant Plains Heritage Trail to be unveiled in Fall of 2011. We took our vision one step further in our Children’s Summer Heritage Project, where we taught local history to children ages 5-12 and have them draw or paint their interpretation of the stories on canvas. This project reached almost 200 children during the summer of 2009.
The ECAC now contains ten square foot gardens, five rain barrels, and three compost bins, all of which are community supported. Each installation is done as part of a hands-on workshop, using inexpensive materials. Weekly meetings are held to educate the community on environmental issues and plan workshops. Nine workshops were held in 2010 with 111 participants. At our most recent workshop, community residents built a spinning composter.
Residents are often at a disadvantage when it comes to participating in development of their neighborhood. The ECAC is playing a key role in making sure they have a voice in the process with the following initiatives:
- The "Pleasant Plains Neighborhood Network News", a monthly publication compiled and edited by the ECAC featuring articles on neighborhood events, volunteer opportunities, neighborhood history, environmental concerns, youth perspectives and civic issues.
- Howard University/Community Technical Assistance Projects, a collaboration with Howard University where students are assigned to do neighborhood research projects each semester.
- The Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force, a coalition of over 700 community leaders, businesses owners, churches, schools, residents and other Georgia Avenue stakeholders organized by the ECAC in December 2009 to create a neighborhood development plan that reflects the vision of all community residents, particularly those residents who are typically left out of the process.
- The Georgia Avenue Window Walk, a collaboration with artists, business owners and vacant property owners to create art installations in the windows of vacant properties on Georgia Avenue. The purpose is both to improve the look of the neighborhood and support the work of local artists.