Monday, February 6, 2023
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District Puts Vacant Buildings in Use for Local Artists of Color 


DC has launched a program that allows artists of color to create artworks on vacant and blighted buildings across the city.

Led by the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), the “Vacant-to-Visual” program aims at providing work opportunities to local artists and improving the health and safety of communities living near vacant buildings, according to DCRA director Ernest Chrappah. 

“DCRA continually strives to bring more vacant buildings back to productive use,” the Department said in a statement. “We send notification letters regarding vacant and blighted buildings, respond to complaints to make determinations about building occupancy status, and maintain a complete list of vacant and blighted buildings in the District of Columbia.”

DCRA has confirmed approximately 2,200 buildings to be vacant in DC since October 2020.

Residents can report a vacant property if it is not under active construction; its owner is not actively seeking to rent or sell; it is not subject to a probate proceeding or the title is not subject of litigation; and it is not the subject of a pending application for development.

Each complaint for a vacant building is followed by an initial inspection finalized within 38 days.

Blighted properties may also be reported to DCRA so that they could be put into productive use. A building is considered “blighted” if it is unsafe, insanitary, or determined to be threatening the health, safety, or general welfare of the community.

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