The PAAI was launched fifteen years ago. It too was an experiment. Could the arts turn around a blighted and dangerous corridor? In some respects this experiment has been a success, albeit a slow one. The corridor has indeed become known for its arts activities and now attracts people who once would not have set foot there. However, PAAI has not accomplished the more difficult goal it set – to zipper together the neighborhoods on either side of it – Friendship to the south and Garfield to the North. Penn Avenue has become a neighborhood in its own right, but has not successfully bridged the gap between them.
We have heard from numerous residents of Garfield that they feel left out of both the arts activity on Penn Avenue and also business opportunities there. The Avenue does not belong to them.