The Week Ahead….And The Coffee Siphon Arrives on H Street, NE

Maketto raises the bar for Capitol Hill coffee shops with its coffee siphons. The brewing method, invented in Europe in the 1830's, is finding new fans in the US since the late 1990's and is reputed to produce a superior cup of coffee. Maketto, 1351 H Street, NE.

Maketto raises the bar for Capitol Hill coffee shops with coffee siphons. The brewing method, invented in Europe in the 1830’s, has been finding new fans in the US since the late 1990’s.  Maketto, 1351 H Street, NE.

The Week Ahead….And The Coffee Siphon Arrives on H Street, NE

Tuesday, April 28

ANC6B Executive Committee meets at 7:00pm in Hill Center to set the agenda for the next full ANC6B meeting on May 12.

Wednesday, April 29

Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee will meet at 7:00pm in North Hall of Eastern Market.

Among items on the agenda:

Status of preparations to move the Hine Flea Market to 7th Street, scheduled tentatively for May 16.

Update on the Hine construction plans.

Thursday, April 30

The D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development holds a Ward Six community meeting to solicit feedback and suggestions from residents on affordable housing in the District from 6:30pm until 8:30pm, at Southeast Neighborhood Library, 403 Seventh St. SE.

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First Look at Plans for Development of Capitol Hill’s Buchanan School/IGU Site

Before and Preliminary After Rendering of the Redevelopment to the Two Historic Buchanan School Structures

Before and preliminary after rendering of the redevelopment of the two historic Buchanan School structures

Current Layout of Buildings on the Buchanan School Site.  Note the non historic auditorium attached to the left of the center building and the newer structure on the lower left, both scheduled to be razed.

Current layout of buildings on the Buchanan School site. Note the non historic auditorium attached to the left of the center building and the newer structure on the lower left, both scheduled to be razed.

First Look at Plans for Development of Capitol Hill’s Buchanan School/IGU Site

40 Townhomes and 41 Condos Planned for Site

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday night, Insight Property Group Partner Sarah Davidson met with some 40 Capitol Hill residents to discuss Insight’s plan for redevelopment of the 2.13 acre site currently occupied by the former Buchanan School and the International Graduate University.  The plan calls for 81 residences – 40 townhomes priced around $1 million, and 41 condos priced between $300 thousand and $1 million.

Layout of Insight's Plan for Residential Units on the Buchanan Site.  (See text below for explanation.)

3.  Layout of Insight’s Plan for Residential Units on the Buchanan Site. (See text below for explanation.)

Using the illustration above for orientation, and starting in the lower right, the large structure represents the two oldest structures on the site dating to 1895 and 1921.  These will be combined into one building by razing the interstitial structure and replacing it with a new entry way and elevators.  The condos will reside in the combined structure and will range in size from studio to three bedrooms, providing options for singles as well as larger families who desire a one level living space.  14 – 16 parking spaces will be provided.

Moving clockwise to the upper right corner of the illustration locates nine large townhomes on D Street on the site’s northeast corner.  The more recent auditorium on the north side of the north historic building will be razed to make room. These three story townhomes will be built as a matter of right, on 18 foot wide lots of 1800 plus sf.  These units will have a minimum of three bedrooms, backyards, standalone parking spaces, and roof terraces facing north.

Continuing clockwise on illustration an additional nine townhomes will face D Street on the site’s northwest corner.  (The relatively recent structure currently nearest the corner of 13th and D Streets will also be razed.)  Directly below are 23 additional three-bedroom plus townhomes on lots ranging in size from 16 to 20 feet wide.  The smaller lots will have “tuck under” parking – larger lots will have standalone parking.  The smaller lots will feature “tuck under” parking garages; larger lots will have standalone parking.  These units will have roof terraces facing the street.   A zoning variance will be necessary for configuration of these townhomes and under zoning regulations, 10 percent (2-3) of these townhomes will fall under Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) regulations, but none of the condos will.  (For CHC on Inclusionary Zoning go here:  http://bit.ly/1FT5TCb)

The eleven townhomes in the middle of the site and closest to the original historic structures will face those buildings and be separated from them by green space which will be part of the North – South walk-through which will be open to public transit.  The space behind these townhomes and between the 12 units facing 13th Street will be an alley way, designed to encourage community interaction.  (See below.)

Preliminary rendering of alleyway between two parallel rows of townhouses.

Preliminary rendering of alleyway between two parallel rows of townhouses.

Time line for the project:

Begin demolition in May – June 2015

BZA Approval – November 2015

Purchase property – December 2015

Start construction – September 2016

Complete construction – March 2018

Some of the issues raised during the question an answer period were as follows:

Safeway – Insight speculates that it will be redeveloped sometime in the future, but despite having conversations with the company, they really have no idea when.

Parking – residents complained about difficulty in parking at night, especially during times when Watkins field is in use.  The development raises the prospect that the current diagonal parking on 13th Street opposite Watkins will be lost to RPP residential parking.

Peter Bug Matthews Shoe Academy – Insight alluded to enhancing the site and continuing its use to develop neighborhood activities.  The building sits on a city owned site and its status going forward is unclear.  Asked if he’d been given any guidance from the city, Mathews said no one has said anything to him.  “I’ve been there 38 years – it seems to me I should be grandfathered in.”

Ed. Note:  In March, Sean Ruppert of OPaL LLC revealed plans for a 45 unit mixed residential project comprised of townhouses, condos, flats and a carriage house for the site at 1309-1323 E Street, SE, across E Street to the south from Buchanan School.  (For CHC article, go here:  http://bit.ly/14qcnLZ)

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When New Development Comes at Neighbors’ Expense

Photos and renderings illustrating the changes that developing the townhouse at 1015 E Street, SE, will have on backyards of 505 and 503 11th Street, SE

Photos and renderings illustrating the changes that developing the townhouse at 1015 E Street, SE, will have on backyards of 505 and 503 11th Street, SE

When New Development Comes at Neighbors’ Expense

by Larry Janezich

The need and desire for more housing on Capitol Hill is the main argument offered in support of the conversion of one or two unit townhouses to multifamily housing.

With increasing frequency, as developers convert townhouses, development comes at the expense of the property’s neighbors.  In some cases, the negative impact is limited to the unsightliness and irregular proportions of pop ups and more competition for street parking.  In more dramatic instances, the damage to the neighbors is substantial, decreasing the value of their homes and quality of life – and the attitude of the city and ANCs seems to be: “we’re sympathetic, but our hands are tied.”

A case in point is the conversion of the townhouse at 1015 E Street, SE, just steps east of Hill Center, in the Capitol Hill Historic District.  The property is a townhouse on a site which is zoned for commercial.  Owner/developer Bruce Athey is converting the building to a five unit apartment house by building a large two story rear addition all the way to the rear property line as a matter of right.  The new construction would result in a 24 foot high wall across the back of two residences on 11th Street which sit at right angles to the new construction.  (see photos and renderings)

The matter came before ANC6B last night as the developer is seeking a zoning adjustment to extend a side-yard the length of the addition to the rear of the property.

ANC6B found no compelling reason to oppose the request to extend the side yard and accommodate the construction of the two story addition.  Caught between sympathy for the neighbors and the fact that the planned expansion is a matter of right, the ANC voted to take no position on the request for the variance. Taking no position leaves the decision on the side yard in the hands of the Board of Zoning Adjustment which is likely to grant the developer’s request.

Commissioner Chander Jayaraman said he opposed the variance and the building itself, voicing support for residents and constituents who are disadvantaged by developers who take advantage of regulations resulting in dramatic changes to neighbors’ quality of life.

Commissioner James Loots summed up the feeling of a majority of commissioners: “I can’t in good conscience oppose the variance on the basis of damage done the neighbors,” noting that he is sympathetic to the neighbors but that the question before the ANC is not directly related to their concerns.

The final vote on the motion to take “no position” on the request for a variance was as follows:

In favor, Commissioners Oldenburg, Loots, Flahaven, Burger, Hagedorn, and Hoskins.  Those opposed: Commissioner Jayaraman, Krepp, and Symolyk.  Abstaining:  Commissioner Chao.

Editor’s Note:

The Capitol Hill Restoration Society voted to oppose the request for a variance to continue the sideyard on the west side of 1015 E Street, citing the 24 foot wall cutting off light to the 11th Street properties.

Gary Petersen, Chair of the CHRS Zoning Committee, said that he thinks that the extension of 1015 could be built as a matter of right without the variance, but “for whatever reason” the developer wants the continue the sideyard – perhaps for windows and light and to provide access to the rear of the property.

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Major H Street Developer Has Buchanan School Near SE Safeway Under Contract

Buchanan School/International Graduate University, 13th and D Streets, SE, Across From Watkins Field and Backing Up to SE Safeway

Buchanan School/International Graduate University, 13th and D Streets, SE, Across From Watkins Field and Backing Up to SE Safeway

The O

Major H Street Developer Has Buchanan School near SE Safeway Under Contract

Residences Planned for Site – Community Meeting Tuesday Night

by Larry Janezich

(Update:  Go here http://bit.ly/1Od5GSN to see Insight’s plan for developing site.)

Insight Property Group has the Buchanan School at 13th and D Streets, SE, under contract and hopes to preserve and enhance the historic structures which date to 1895 and raze the newer additions to make way for a series of new townhouses fronting D and 13th Streets, SE.  The historic building on the 92,899 square foot site – which lies just outside the Capitol Hill Historic District – would be converted to residential units.

According to a company spokesperson, no mixed use is anticipated for the project at this time.  The plan would provide for redevelopment of part of the site by right – building within the R-4 residential zoning regulations.  The company would seek zoning relief for part of the project to permit frontage of townhomes on D and 13th Streets.

Although the company has not yet purchased the property, if the deal does go though, the company hopes to start construction in the first quarter of next year, and complete the project in two years.

Insight Property Group is the developer behind the Apollo H Street project at 600 H Street, NE, a mixed use project with 432 rental apartments and retail that will feature the H Street Whole Foods.  Work began on the project in September, 2014.

No word yet where the Peter Bug ‘s Shoe Repair Academy which occupies the site’s corner at 13th and E fits into the plan.

Buchanan School was purchased for some $1.5 million in 1998 by Walter Boek, who established the International Graduate University (IGU) there – an institution which never became fully functional.  Boek battled the DC government for years over the non-profit status he claimed for IGU which was at odds with what the city thought he owed in taxes.   After Boek died in 2012, the property has been under control of the IGU Board of Directors.

Insight Property Group will host a community meeting to talk with nearby residents and other interested parties about their ideas for redevelopment of the site.  The meeting will be Tuesday, April 21, at 7:00pm, at Hill Center.

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13 Unit Building Near Eastern Market Goes on the Auction Block

"The Independence" at 133 7th Street, SE, goes on the auction block Thursday.

“The Independence” at 133 7th Street, SE, goes on the auction block Thursday.

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13 Unit Building Near Eastern Market Goes on the Auction Block

by Larry Janezich

A 13 residential unit building at 133 7th Street, SE, across Independence Avenue from Eastern Market, will be sold at a bank auction on April 28.  According to one potential bidder, the building likely will become condos, though a resumption of its former life as an apartment building is not out of the question.  Given the trends and the location, CHC is betting on condos.

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The Week Ahead ….And the Liberty Pole Comes Down Today

Sunday morning, c. 8:00am.  The Liberty Pole, with its wooden base having been removed overnight for safety reasons.

Sunday morning, c. 8:00am. The Liberty Pole with its wooden base having been removed overnight for safety reasons.  The remaining aluminum pole is topped with a Phrygian cap, sometimes called a liberty cap, a symbol of freedom and the pursuit of Liberty.   One proposed design for the Statue of Freedom atop the US Capitol included a Phrygian cap for the headgear of the statue.

The Demonstration on the National Mall on Second Street facing the West Front of the US Capitol Building, is slated to end today at 4:30pm.

The Demonstration on the National Mall on Second Street facing the West Front of the US Capitol Building, is slated to end today at 4:20pm.

The six day Liberty Pole Demonstration, organized by the DC Cannabis Campaign and its head, Adam Eidinger, will wrap up today at 4:30pm, with a ceremony and speeches focused on three issues: statehood for DC, home rule, and human rights. The demolition and decamping will begin at 5:00pm and Eidinger says the group will be gone by 6:00pm.  While he cannot encourage a cannabis civil disobedience event in connection with the end of the demonstration, Eidinger clearly would not be unhappy to see one spontaneously develop.

The Week Ahead….

by Larry Janezich

Monday, April 20

ANC6B meets at 7:00pm at Hill Center.

Among items on the agenda:

Presentation on Anacostia River Clean Up Update: Richard Jackson & Sharon Cooke, District Department of the Environment.

Presentation on DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) Initiatives

Renewal A

325 5th Street, SE, request to allow construction of a two story rear addition to an existing single family dwelling.

1015 E Street, SE, another request for variances from side yard requirements to allow developer renovation & expansion of existing building to create five-unit apartment building at the expense of adjoining neighbors.  See before and after illustrations below.

148 11th Street SE, another special exception to skirt regulations to allow construction of two-story rear addition with accessory apartment connected to dwelling by covered walkway.  by connecting the structures with a covered trellis.  Pending changes to zoning regulations will eliminate the need for this fig leaf.

The Ugly Mug Dining Saloon, 723 8th Street SE, add fixture (trash receptacles), PSC hearing – Thursday, April 23, 2015.

Letter blasting the administration of the 2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon & Half Marathon.  Expect some fireworks here as event organizers attempt to shift the blame to Homeland Security Taskforce.

Letter to District Department of Transportation regarding lack of funding for ANC 6B’s 2014 Performance Parking Zone project awards.  A complaint about the failure on the part of DDOT and city officials to follow through on promised funding for community projects in return for regulations designed to increase city revenues through parking regulations.

Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee Report.  Maybe an update on the relocation on the weekend flea markets to 7th Street, and how that process will unfold.

Hine Community Advisory Committee Report. Maybe a progress report on the remediation of the asbestos issue at Hine Jr. High and some additional insight on the timeline.

Monday, April 20

ANC 6A Transportation & Public Space Committee meets at 7:00pm at Capitol Hill Towers 900 G Street, NE.

Among items on the agenda:

DDOT’s second proposed rulemaking on “pocket” parks.

Update from DC Streetcar Team.

Request that DDOT move Linden Court to the top of its alley-repair list.

Parking and pedestrian safety issues at northwest corner of 14th Street NE and East Capitol Street NE.

Monday, April 20

ANC 6A Community Outreach Committee meets at 7:00pm, at Maury Elementary School, Multi-Purpose Room, 1250 Constitution Avenue, NE (Enter from 13th Street).

Among items on the agenda:

Grant Application Revision.

Grant Outreach Plan and Implementation Strategy.

Website – Review and Outreach Process.

Tuesday, April 21

ANC6A Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee meets at 7:00pm, Sherwood Recreation Center, 10th and G Streets, NE.

Among items on the agenda:

Discussion of request by Nomad Hookah Lounge at 1200 H Street, NE, to extend its public space patio hours and/or to remove the provision in its amended settlement agreement setting last call at least a half hour before the closing time of the patio.

Discussion of license renewal for 18th & D Liquors, Inc. t/a Master Liquors at 1806 D Street, NE.

Discussion of license renewal for 7 River, LLC t/a 7 River Mart at 250 11thStreet, NE.

Discussion of license renewal for Jumbo Liquors at 1122 H Street, NE

Discussion of license renewal for Myongwoo Inc. t/a Grand Liquors at 409 15th Street, NE.

Thursday, April 23

CSX will host the next open house meeting about the project feom 4:30 to 7:30pm at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel, 140 L Street S.E. There is no fixed agenda for the meeting, so visitors are welcome to stop by at their convenience to learn about the current status of the project. A free shuttle will operate between the Arthur Capper Senior Apartments (900 5th Street S.E.) and the Courtyard Marriott Hotel. For more information about the free shuttle service, or if you need special accommodations or language assistance services (translation or interpretation), please email VAT@CSX.com or call (800) 494-1049.

Saturday, April 25

PSA 106 Meets at 10:00am at the Capper Senior Apartments, 5th & Virginia Avenue, SE, with  Sgt. Pabrezi.

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Capitol Hill PSA Meetings Are Failures and the ANCs Should Fix It

Editorial: Capitol Hill PSA Meetings Are Failures and the ANCs Should Fix It
by Larry Janezich
Violent crime on Capitol Hill is on the rise.  Last night a mugging in the 200 block of 9th Street, SE, sent the victim to the hospital – as did a mugging two days ago on Linden Place, NE.  This week, Da Luft was closed after the staff covered up a stabbing on the premises and refused to cooperate with police.  And tonight, MPD was a no-show for the second month in a row at PSA 108.  Was it because of Emancipation Day or because the minimal resident turnout for the PSAs meetings provide no incentive for MPD to invest in them?
PSA:  Police Service Area.  Police officials from each PSA make themselves available once a month to interact with residents and to answer questions regarding the status of crime in the PSA.  See map of PSAs here:  http://1.usa.gov/1J3W2Kp
ANC6A and ANC6B should follow the lead of ANC6D and integrate MPD PSAs meetings into ANC or ANC Committee proceedings – especially, ANC6B, where PSA 107 is scheduled on the same night the ANC6B Alcohol Beverage Committee meets.  This integration would serve two purposes, it would provide a regular audience of residents who have demonstrated a concern regarding the well-being of the community, and it would provide a degree of accountability by the MPD to the residents they serve.
Bloggers in Ward Six and across the city are missing a bet in failing to cover PSA meetings – one of the few places where the MPD interacts with the public in an open public setting.  True, media coverage would change the nature of these events, but they might turn into something approaching collaboration rather than the routine one-way recitation of crime statistics which currently characterize these meetings.  If the ANCs and residents provide more support for the original idea of community policing upon which the PSA meetings are based, everyone would seem to benefit.

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Bowser Responds to ANC6A Parents Asking Restoration of School Budget Cuts

Mayor Bowser last Thursday night at ANC6A

Mayor Bowser last Thursday night at ANC6A

The Mayor's appearance sparked a heavy turnout - many among the crowd were parents concerned about school budget cuts

The Mayor’s appearance sparked a heavy turnout – many among the crowd were parents concerned about school budget cuts

Bowser Responds to ANC6A Parents Asking Restoration of School Budget Cuts

by Larry Janezich

Last Thursday night, concerned parents in ANC6A  – some with children in tow – pleaded with  Mayor Bowser to restore $12 million in cuts from her education budget, citing neighborhood schools without sprinkling systems, doors on class rooms that do not lock, outdated video monitoring systems and deplorable bathroom conditions.  DC Board of Education Ward 6 representative Joe Weedon subsequently posted photos from Eliot Hine to Twitter to illustrate conditions.

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 9.08.27 AM

Bowser replied that the city needs to finish modernization of schools which have already been started as well as construct new middle schools in Wards 5 and 7.  She said, “The city cannot modernize all schools at once.”  The question, she said, was one of priorities, with the top priority being to finish projects underway, then prioritize by utilization rate: “It can’t be ‘us not them’ – I don’t want the conversation to be about a tradeoff between schools.  We have to worry about all wards, not just six.”

She said she would be truthful regarding what we can do with the schools – “We can’t put school funding in the budget only to have to shift it in October“ [the end of the fiscal year].  She implied that the final decision would be up to the City Council:  “If City Council wants to move things around – I still would not support shifting money within the school system.  Maybe we don’t want $50 million to go to parks and instead put that into schools.”

Yesterday, Bowser toured Elliot-Hine School, cited by parents as badly needing upgrades, with her Deputy Mayor for Education, Councilmember Charles Allen, and some of the parents who raised the modernization issue at last Thursday night’s meeting.

Mayor Bowser, Councilmember Allen, Deputy Mayor for Education, and others tour Eliot Hine on Wednesday.

Mayor Bowser, Councilmember Allen, Deputy Mayor for Education, and others tour Eliot Hine on Wednesday. Photo credit – Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education.

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The Week Ahead….And a Note on NOVA Consort

The NOVA Consort, This Evening at The Corner Store

The NOVA Consort, This Evening at The Corner Store

The NOVA Consort, a newly formed ensemble that includes some of the area’s finest early music performers, presented music from Renaissance Italy, reprising a program first heard at the opening of the Piero de Cosimo exhibition at the National Gallery of Art.  Members of the consort are Barbara Hollinshead, mezzo-soprano; Robert Petillo, tenor; Tina Chancey, viola da gamba; Amy Domingues, viola da gamba; and Howard Bass, lute.

The Week Ahead……

by Larry Janezich

Monday, April 13

ANC 6D meets at 7:00pm, DCRA 2nd Floor Meeting Room, 1100 4th Street, SW.

Among items on the tentative agenda:

Public Safety Report – First District MPD (PSA 105 and 106).

Alcohol Beverage License Renewals for Cap Liquors and Shulman Liquors.

Recommendations to Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration regarding pub crawls.

Buzzard Point L’Enfant Plan regarding proposed street closings.

Public Space Permit for paving, bike rack fixture and landscaping for 222 M Street, SW.

Tuesday, April 14

(ANC6B Postponed until April 20)

Tuesday, April 14

Public meeting at 6:30pm, Pilgrim AME Church, 612 17th Street, NE, to discuss the “under 25 year” lease negotiated by the Deputy Mayor of Education for the Monument Academy Public Charter School slated to open at the Gibbs Elementary School, 500 19th Street, NE.  In attendance:  CM Charles Allen, Yvette Alexander, Anita Bonds, David Grosso, Deputy Mayor of Education, Jennifer Niles, and Monument Academy Public Charter School reps. 

Wednesday, April 15

ANC6A Economic Development Committee meets at 7:00pm at Sherwood Recreation Center (640 10th St, NE).

Among items on the agenda:

Historic Preservation recommendation regarding two story rear addition at 224 9th Street, NE.

Board of Zoning Adjustment recommendation regarding two story addition at 242 10th Street, NE.

Letter to advise the Zoning Administrator of the use of a portion of a lot at 20 14th Street, NE, as a parking lot without appropriate approval.

Thursday, April 16

DC EMANCIPATION DAY:  DC GOVERNMENT WILL BE CLOSED.  No trash pick-up and no parking enforcement except at National’s Park and on H Street, NE. 

Friday, April 17

Open Stage at the Corner Store, 7:00pm – 8:00pm, 9th and South Carolina Avenue, SE.

Open Stage is a Washington, DC based open mic event for theatre artists – providing writers and performers a “casual, intimate setting” to present new one acts or excerpts from longer plays in 10 minute segments. Contact Openstagedc@gmail.com for info/rsvp.

Sunday, April 19

Capitol Hill Seventh Day Adventist Church will hold a “Community Shred It” event to celebrate Earth Day 2015.  Residents may bring up to five boxes (paper ream size) of documents for confidential shredding.  9:00am – 12:00pm, 914 Massachusetts Avenue, NE.  Free. 

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Rose Jaffe: Women in Color – Photo Essay from a Show at The Fridge

Fridge Director Alex Goldstein leads a discussion of the works of Rose Jaffe on Saturday afternoon.

Fridge Director Alex Goldstein leads a discussion of the works of Rose Jaffe (center) on Saturday afternoon.  The presentation was signed by a colleague of Jaffe’s. 

Rose Jaffe:  Women in Color – Photo Essay from a Show at The Fridge

by Larry Janezich

The subject of the show is young women today – the women depicted are part of the artist’s creative community, her family, as well as Jaffe herself.   She says it’s important to her that all the women in the pieces in this show are part of her life.

The surface is wood and the medium is burned wood and paint.  The result is a synthesis of the synthetic and natural.  Jaffe imprints images of women on the wood instead of painting them on top of it.  She uses a wood burning tool for lining and then adds paint with a bold color palette evidently inspired by time spent in Latin America.  In some pieces she adds another layer of meaning and complexity with “sacred geometry.”

Jaffe says, “For these works, I want to explore color’s role in the mood, sensuality and purpose of a piece. I have changed a significant amount since moving home to Washington, DC, and these pieces reflect that transformation. This show aims to redefine color away from our skin tone. I look into our bodies, our energy, our movements, emotion and thoughts – to the potentially endless pulsing colors running in and around us – and bring those to the outside.”

On Saturday afternoon, The Fridge’s Director and the show’s curator Alex Goldstein, led a discussion of the artist’s work.

The show will continue through April 26.  There will be a closing reception Sunday, April 26, from 3:00pm until 6:00pm.  The Fridge is located at 516 ½ 8th Street, SE (rear)

For more info, go here:   http://www.thefridgedc.com/about/

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