Art Enables

The trend of bringing the arts to historic Route 1 in Hyattsville seems to be coming to our side of Rhode Island Avenue. Our across-the-border neighbors in Maryland still have the more artsy atmosphere to it (for now) but we recently got a new art studio of our own.

Art Enables, located at 2204 Rhode Island Ave NE (across from the Family Dollar), is a nice addition to the neighborhood and the Avenue. One of the Director said that the organization is a “positive for the community”. Art Enables’ website self-describes the organization as:

“In the Nation’s Capitol, a studio and gallery for emerging artists with developmental and/or mental disabilities. Their chance to make art comes through Art Enables. Their reasons for doing it are their own: to have something to do, to make money, to feel important, to tell the world who they are, to become famous. All those reasons and more.”

The organization welcomes artists to create all types of art and the studio  sells the art, including paintings, handmade jewelry, and even birdhouses,  for very reasonable prices. The artists themselves receives 60% of the sale  price. In addition, many pieces of the art created here is sold in other DC  locations like H Street Playhouse and Dumbarton.

Art Enables is celebrating its ninth birthday on February 25th. The center used to be located at the Millenium School but has recently relocated and chose Rhode Island Ave NE as their new home. This year, the International Organization on Arts and Disability (an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts) has selected Art Enables along with two other organizations to showcase a large scale visual art at The Presidency of John F. Kennedy: A 50th Anniversary Celebration at the Kennedy Center from January 12-February 13 ( The other two organizations chosen are The Fountain Gallery of New York City and The Arts of Life of Chicago.

I encourage everyone to stop by and take a look at this positive art studio on our Avenue! The location is open to visitors Monday-Friday, 9am to 4pm. Or visit them online by clicking HERE.

6 thoughts on “Art Enables

    1. We do have a number of special events throughout the year when the studio is open at different times and on the weekend. Our next event is going to be Saturday, February 26 from 3-5. This is our 9th Birthday show, so we will transform the studio/gallery into gallery mode. There should be a number of the artists attending so you can meet them.

  1. Yes, Art Enables is a nice addition to RIA. You can also sign up to get on their email list either at their shop or online. It is exciting to hear about the many activities they are engaged in. It’s also good to walk by and see artists at work. This is what makes Art Enables unique. You just don’t see a portrait gallery but lots of artists at work creating art. Their artists also specialize in pet portraits, which might be something useful for those using the new Langdon Dog Park.

    BTW, I understand some of the Art Enables Board members are also connected with the Mount Rainier/Hyattsville arts initiatives. I’m sure others in the area were involved in having Art Enables move to this area. So, there are many to thank for their presence. They had a quiet open house in December. Maybe they can team up with Rhode Island Spirits regular wine tasting and have more public and community local events.

  2. I love that during the daytime, you can see the artists at Art Enables at work. Nice new presence on RI avenue.

    I hear that Joe, who owns the wine and liquor store nearby, is considering ways of trying to improve the facades–the curb appeal–of that block of RI Avenue. What a boon that would be, if he can find a way–those are beautiful buildings, just waiting to be discovered, scrubbed up, whitewashed and refurbished.

    There appears to be a brand new West African/Caribbean restaurant called Taste International on Hamlin just off RI avenue to the north side. I am not brave enough to try it yet. The decor is a bit flamboyant in hot pink and black, and black lights if I am not mistaken. It has stews and fish, but it also has pounded yam, which is reputed to be somewhat akin to mashed potatoes, and some other interesting African dishes. If anyone has tasted their food, I wish that person would let the rest of us know how it was!

    1. Sandals,

      Don’t go on hearsay, just try the Taste African/Carribean Restaurant yourself. Yes, the decor is not at all what you would expect from an African restaurant, but it’s very nice. The owners are usually on the premises. I spoke with both the husband and wife while I dined there. They explained the menu to me and I was able to order some very delicious and pleasing items. It’s like going into an Ethiopian restaurant or any restaurant, if you don’t know what the menu items are or they seem too exotic, and you are willing to try them, the host/hostesses will help you. I found the prices at Taste on the high side, so be sure you have the some money when you go there. Taste wants to offer upscale dining to the RIA corridor.

      I’ve also talked with Joe of Rhode Island Spirits and he told me the same thing. He even won an award through the Latino Business Coalition that has been providing counseling and financial support to the businesses along RIA. It’s good to see the individual businesses wanting to help improve this long neglected area of RIA. And, it’s good to know more good things are coming. Hopefully, this will encourage those on the blog who have wanted to open shops in the area, but have not, to considering becoming part of this renaissance!

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