A focal point for arts and entertainment
Some local arts scenes, like that of Berlin, MD (see their art story) have identities that go back centuries. Gateway Arts District, in Prince George’s County, is a case of a community coming together and assembling a locality from several parts. “It started as a conversation among four towns acting as one community to revitalize their neighborhoods and develop an artist district that is designed to support artist[s] living and working in the municipalities of Hyattsville, North Brentwood, Brentwood, and Mt. Rainier.
The Prince George’s County Gateway Arts District is a focal point for arts and entertainment activities of all types, as well as for socializing, entertainment, dining, shopping, living, and offering the richness in diversity of the DC metropolitan area, while retaining the charm of these four small towns.” The players in Gateway have woven together a rich mix of artists (including many longtime stakeholders), community development corporations (one each for Gateway and Hyattsville), urban industrial infrastructure (CSX tracks with their
attendant warehouse spaces), and a “funky and affordable” ethos that goes back a half-century, past the founding of Mt. Rainier’s Glut Food Co-op by a group of Vietnam War conscientious objectors in 1969.
The district snakes along a 2½-mile stretch of US Route 1, from the D.C. line in Mt. Rainier to Hyattsville to the north. The plan Gateway has devised takes advantage, not only of the district’s identity, but also its heterogeneity: “character areas” have been created with labels like, “Town Center,” “Arts Production and Entertainment,” and “Neighborhood Arts & Production” in addition to traditional single- and multiple-family and light industrial uses. The layout, in a very general sense, balances a shopping and dining cluster to the north with another cluster of alternative restaurants and businesses in Mt. Rainier, with the Prince George's African American Museum & Cultural Center as a sort of fulcrum in the middle. Residential areas and other arts-oriented businesses are spread throughout, enhancing Gateway’s goal of creating a livable, walkable urban community.
Find out more about Gateway Arts District, in Prince George’s County.