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Intersections: A New America Arts Festival"

WI Staff Writer | 3/8/2012, 3:22 p.m.

Community relations have been an integral part of the mission of the Atlas Performing Arts Center, which opened its doors on the H Street corridor in late 2004 after being

shuttered since 1976, when the building closed as a movie theater.

"We [also] learned how key our partnerships are, whether it's partnering with the artists and groups, volunteers, school and community groups, or local merchants and retailers. Intersections takes place in this building, but it relies on and we hope spreads back to the larger community around us," Sweet said.

"This summer we had a little event to unveil a plaque commemorating the Atlas being added to the National Register of Historic Places," he said. "It was a great mix of people. We had staff currently working at the Atlas, of course, as well as donors to the campaign to renovate the building and architects and other project members who helped make that happen," Sweet said.

"But we also had a number of people from the local community who grew up with the Atlas - some residents, retailers, and a couple of board members who shared stories of the theater as one of the neighborhood spots back when H Street was a thriving retail corridor. Some of the residents in attendance now live at Delta Towers, and performed at the event as the Northeast Senior Singers. That group was the first one to be a partner at the Atlas Performing Arts Center when it was renovated and reopened to the community."

"Intersections: A New America Arts Festival" isn't the only thing going on at the Atlas. This year, two new music series were added to an already full plate at the burgeoning center, which sparked a renaissance along the H Street corridor that now includes fine dining, a thriving bar scene and retail outlets.

"I thought we could best expand our programming and serve both artists and audiences through adding two music series - Jazz at the Atlas, and New Music at the Atlas," Sweet elaborated.

And there's more.

"Finally, we welcomed Rorschach Theatre as artists-in-residence here to complement the theatre offerings of current groups, such as African Continuum Theatre," Sweet added.

"We have begun partnering with Dance Place to add more dance performances to the great work done by our arts partners, Step Afrika! and Joy of Motion. The marquee now is lit much more often."

Tickets for "Intersections: A New America Arts Festival" are available at www.intersections.org or at the Atlas Performing Arts Center box office at 1333 H Street, NE. Call (202) 399-7993 ext. 2.