2016 has been a, well, we’ll say an interesting year. But wait! Before your brain goes to someplace political, here’s a reminder of some really great things that happened this year:
- BloomBars was voted the “Best Arts and Culture Nonprofit” in DC by supporters like you in the Washington City Paper’s annual Reader Poll – the fifth year in a row!
- The Washington Post Magazine wrote a full-page article highlighting our many children’s programs
- Our A/C broke! But thanks to generous supporters like you, we were soon keeping it cool (and now HOT) once again
- BloomBars family member 123 Andrés was honored with a 2016 Latin Grammy Award for Best Children’s Album
- Baba Ras D celebrated his 900th Harambee at BloomBars
- Artist in Bloom Resident Rochelle Rice released her debut EP The Wonder to critical acclaim
- Renowned jazz musician Mark Meadows launched a monthly program featuring students from Duke Ellington School of the Arts… in addition to winning “Best Recording” “Best Composer” Washington City Paper 2016
- Artist in Bloom Resident Elena Lacayo toured her native Nicaragua and the US and launched an indiegogo campaign to support her second bilingual folk-album
- Artist in Bloom Resident Tamika Love Jones celebrated two years of her weekly Little Treasures kids program and took a group of high school students to the United Nations to perform original music and facilitate workshops about social justice at the Global Youth Conference in New York.
- Artist in Bloom Resident Dante Pope toured the globe with celebrated musicians Kenny Wesley, Raheem DeVaughn and Dom Felmons and started work on his debut album
- We hosted the production of an awesome video highlighting products touched by child labor and child slavery made possible by the Child Labor Coalition.
- We hosted Generation Listen with NPR, a podcast “listening party” and discussion about vulnerability & change
- We hosted tribute events to honor Prince – a dance party for kids and a gathering of artists for all ages
- We welcomed dance and music performances from around the globe, including performers from Turkey, Finland, Japan, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Senegal, and the UK.
- Our BloomScreen film night partnered with DC Independent Film Festival for International Women’s Day, in addition to weekly independent film screenings every Tuesday
- We kick-started a new weekly Spanish-language program (Conta Conmigo) and re-started our French-language music program Nous Bloomon en Francais
- We hosted several gallery exhibition featuring local visual artists
- We won three grants from Writers & Poets to host poetry workshops by queer writers of color at BloomBars
But most of all, we continued providing opportunities for diverse, multi-lingual, multi-generational communities to gather in a culturally rich and alcohol-free environment, day in and day out!
It hasn’t always been easy, but I’m really proud to say that BloomBars has been there through all the difficulties that 2016 has brought. And here’s where you come in:
Thanks for keeping this intentional community going… and making 2016 memorable. Seriously, we need your support now more than ever.
Forever grateful. Always in service. Trusting in love.
Until soon, keep blooming.
John R. Chambers
Chief Executive Gardener, BloomBars