This year the Atlas Performing Arts Center celebrates its 10th anniversary. “Something that began as an idea in 2001 and was fully realized in 2006, in an area that had been given up on for 35 years, it’s pretty amazing progress,” Lang says with gusto. She expounds on her experience of bringing the Atlas opening to fruition that it was a combination of things that enabled the phenomenon that is the Atlas Theater. The vision took buy-in from the community, artists she wanted to work with, the city and lenders. So, she set out to engage them all. That commitment was key in encouraging others. With its mission toward community development, City First Bank became a stakeholder in the vision. “City First came in at an early point, but at a prudent point, where it looked like things were going to come together to create a vibrant community. They were the critical element at a critical moment,” explains Lang. The investment into the iconic art space was a bellwether for other investors along the corridor that is now experiencing a renaissance. “What I think it did was create an environment in which people could believe in the future,” says Lang.
She stands by her belief that communities form around the arts. It’s a phenomenon that is not successful in isolation, but when the spark is lit the force of change and prosperity galvanizes others and can become the cultural heart of a renewed community.
CITY FIRST BANK OF DC
Published on Aug 10, 2016