Culture House is historic neighborhood church in the southwest quadrant of Washington DC that was relaunched as a psychedelic arts collective a few years back. Built in 1886, it’s one of the oldest buildings in SW and was home to the Friendship Baptist Congregation for almost a century. When the congregation moved down the road to a newer building, the 1886 building was marked for demolition numerous times. There were years when it sat vacant and unused. But, it survived. Today, it’s been reborn as an art gallery, special event space, and cultural showcase.
“Brand new” ideas are exciting. They feel liberating. They arrive to free us from the hopelessness of the status quo. But what’s also exciting is a new spin on an old idea. Just a few examples:
FedEx re-spun overnight delivery from banks, who designed overnight delivery services to clear checks ASAP.
Nike shoes were based on the groove patterns of waffle irons.
Vinyl Me Please is simultaneously a new spin on the Columbia House Record Club, but as a throwback to before CDs and tapes.
Paperwallet wasn’t looking to reinvent the wallet. It simply tested dozens of lightweight materials for a new slim design before discovering and using Tyvek, which just happened to be what all the envelopes delivering these materials were made of. Wallets are like envelopes for our pockets, after all.
These aren’t ripoffs, nor are they annoying reboots of things we already have. They take an existing truth and add a new context to it. As a church for over 100 years, the now-Culture House was a cornerstone of the neighborhood’s social fabric. Today, as an artspace, it serves much of the same purpose, but in a different way.
When you’re stuck, there’s always a new spin on an old idea.
Founder, The Idea Enthusiast. Speaker, Trainer, Facilitator, and writer about all things creative consulting. DC-based consultant to individuals who want to be more creative, teams who want to collaborate without fear, and anyone who wants to deliver the best pitches and presentations.