Everyone at ICE is disheartened and disappointed by Mayor Bowser’s recent decision to cancel our agreement with the city of Washington D.C. to develop the Franklin School into a public, non-profit space dedicated to arts education and the exhibition of contemporary art in the heart of the city.

We remain hopeful that some agreement can be reached. We remain confident in the ability of ICE to succeed, meet fundraising goals, and ultimately function as a contributing member of D.C.’s economy through employment, education, retail and entertainment.

We are eager to communicate with Mayor Bowser and her team, and are making every effort to keep this exciting dream alive.

If you believe, as we do, that ICE will create a center for creativity, education and innovation, while respecting and preserving the historic architecture and original purpose of the Franklin School by welcoming Washingtonians of all ages to access multi-disciplinary public programming, please reach out to Mayor Bowser.

Please add your signature and send a copy of the letter to Mayor Bowser directly and cc: info@ice-dc.org:

John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004
Phone: (202) 727-2643
Email: mayor@dc.gov

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Interior rendering of the future Institute for Contemporary Expression

Dear Mayor Bowser,

We are writing to express our deep disappointment in your decision to halt the Institute for Contemporary Expression’s development of the Franklin School into a public, non-profit space dedicated to arts education and the exhibition of contemporary art in the heart of downtown Washington D.C.

We remain enthusiastic about your campaign platform, which promised to support a creative economy and pledged funding for arts education in all eight wards of the city. ICE-DC’s mission is in lock step with these priorities and represents a clear avenue through which you can deliver on your promises to the citizens of the District.

Washington D.C. needs a vibrant venue for contemporary art more than ever before. In forward-thinking communities all over the country, local government is working hand in hand with entrepreneurs, philanthropists, cultural leaders and citizens to build neighborhoods with mixed-use development. These innovative partnerships—combining retail, housing, and arts and culture gems—draw patrons and visitors, and revitalize vacant spaces and neighborhoods. It has been proven time and time again that the arts are simply invaluable for boosting economic development and fostering creativity, participation, and a sense of community within cities. Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital, should be a leader on this front.

ICE-DC is a project that will have significant impact on our city. As a center for creativity, education and innovation, it will also serve as an economic engine and driver of development in the neighborhood. Critically, ICE-DC has the unique capacity to simultaneously use and preserve the Franklin School’s historic and beautiful interiors as originally conceived. This significant and sensitive alignment of resources and vision will provide education and programming to the children of Washington and citizens of all ages.

Mayor Bowser, it is not too late to reconsider and revive a project that has received multiple unanimous approvals and strong community support, including that of ANC 2F08. Please take this moment of public appeal to bring this matter back before the City Council.

Please do not turn your back on your constituents who have supported you and now look to your support for this project.