Washington, DC — Insight Property Group, developer of the recently completed The Apollo mixed-use project on H Street, NE, today announced it has transformed a commercial space in the building into a local community artist studio. Insight also named DC-based painter Preston Sampson as its initial anchor tenant artist. In addition to utilizing the space for his own work, Sampson will help transform the open studio into a hub for conversation and to showcase the work of local artists.
“At Insight we work hard to make local artists and their work an integral part of life at every one of our communities,” said Insight President Michael Blum. “The decision to dedicate space at this site is a natural extension of our continued commitment to preserve the rich cultural and artistic history of the H Street corridor.”
The project is already seeing results; Sampson utilized the space to work on a commissioned mural for the Ron Brown Preparatory School. Located in the Northeast DC neighborhood of Deanwood, Ron Brown Preparatory opened its doors in 2016 as the first all-male high school in the District of Columbia. The school was created to address the low graduation rates in the District of young African American and Hispanic males.
“These murals are a community effort,” said Sampson. “I may have been holding the brush but my door was always open and I was thrilled to see H Street and Apollo residents, artists from across the DC area and visitors to the neighborhood stop by to offer comments on the progress of the final works.” According to Sampson, the ongoing dialogue and discussion afforded by the space in the Apollo building focused on many of the historical figures depicted in his work, from Frederick Douglass to Paul Robeson, Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama. Ron Brown, the former United States Commerce Secretary for which the school is named, is also depicted in Sampson’s mural. Of the three murals two of the final pieces are five feet tall by 18 feet long and one is 5 feet by 6 feet.
The resulting works were unveiled in the Fraternity Hall of the Ron Brown Preparatory College at the beginning of the current school year, a place where students now gather every day before class to be inspired with words, song and Mr. Sampson’s historical depiction. Sampson says that he wanted the young men of the school to see the work as daily inspiration and motivation.
“A large part of what I do is to speak to an often forgotten past through my work. The Apollo studio brings my work to fruition in a community setting where I can tap into the perspectives of local residents and artists,” added Sampson. “Insight has continued to support my vision and make me a part of what they do.”
“Insight Property Group has been an active supporter of the arts in the Washington, DC area,” said Blum, “Insight principals serve on several art organization boards and the company contributes to art-related groups and endeavors.”
Currently, in Virginia’s Falls Church City, Insight is finalizing approvals for its Broad & Washington mixed-use project in the City’s Arts and Entertainment District. Broad & Washington will include a permanent venue for the City’s award-winning Creative Cauldron community theater and the new buildings in the project will feature the work of local artists throughout. “Insight is thrilled to extend its commitment to the arts in its projects in communities throughout the area. We do not do this just for the sake of doing it, we put tremendous effort into our work with artists and communities because we believe that these efforts produce better and more engaging places,” said Blum.
About Insight Property Group: Founded by longtime multi-family industry veterans Richard Hausler and Michael Blum, Insight Property Group acquires, repositions, and develops well-located apartments and mixed-use real estate in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region. The principals have over 70 years of experience in the area real estate industry. For more information, visit: www.insightpropertygroupllc.com.