Community Engagement


Phillips@THEARC Partners


The Phillips is committed to community engagement in Southeast Washington, DC. The museum is working closely with Ward 7 and 8 community organizations and residents to co-create Phillips@THEARC.

Before developing Phillips@THEARC, the museum conducted an eight-month Phillips@THEARC Community Advisory Committee Initiative to determine needs, goals, and programmatic directions in collaboration with the East of the River community. The committee discussed community needs, performed asset-mapping, and provided insights on draft goals, preliminary programming, and the architecture and design of the facility. 

Four strategic goals, for the first three years, emerged from the Phillips@THEARC Community Advisory Committee Initiative:

  • Demonstrate an authentic connection and commitment to East of the River communities, developing relationships with THEARC partners
  • Create an engaging, inviting, and active atmosphere through the architectural and interior design of the Phillips@THEARC spaces
  • Pilot programs in collaboration with THEARC partners that tap into existing community resources
  • Deepen the Phillips’s ongoing school partnerships East of the River, connect these K-12 partnerships to Phillips@THEARC in intentional and innovative ways, seek out new potential K-12 partners in Wards 7, 8.

Since the opening of Phillips@THEARC, the committee has continued to meet regularly to monitor the Phillips’s progress toward strategic goals.

Stemming directly from the museum’s mission and strategic goals, the Phillips@THEARC initiative connects individual and community well-being to the visual arts for Washington, DC, residents living East of the River. The Phillips is committed to bringing value to the community by establishing authentic partnerships and programs for mutual learning, exchange, and growth in the community and at the museum.

With a national reputation and awards for arts-integrated education and community programming, The Phillips Collection is excited to expand upon its long track record of community engagement with DC Public Schools in Wards 7 and 8 and community collaborations East of the River.

Timeline of Initiative



  • Conversations begin with THEARC leadership about a possible Phillips residency



  • Phillips ad hoc committee discusses feasibility of Phillips@THEARC and $242K needed for Phillips construction costs


  • Horning challenge raises $266K for Phillips@THEARC, $242K in construction costs in new building

  • Phillips board officially approves  Phillips@THEARC

  • THEARC Phase III building breaks ground. Phillips@THEARC will be in the Phase III building

  • Education staff begins field work, observing and participating in THEARC community, as well as identifying and building relationship with key stakeholders

  • Phillips begins collaboration with THEARC architects to develop and execute the Phillips@THEARC space in new building

  • Education staff begins testing preliminary Phillips@THEARC programs





  • Museum launches Friends of Phillips@THEARC affinity group.

  • Phillips@THEARC moves into new building