After meeting funding goal, Rhizome is on track to purchase new building

Rhizome DC, a venue that serves as home base for much of the city’s DIY and creative-music scene, has secured enough funding to purchase a new building, organizers said Wednesday. 

The fundraising drive was launched at the end of March, with a goal of raising $250,000 through a mix of small, one-time donations and larger, community financing loans.

The collective that runs Rhizome plans to combine the money raised through these efforts with a large grant from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, allowing it to purchase a one-story building at 7733 Alaska Ave. NW. The storefront-style space, in the Shepherd Park area, stands less than a block from the D.C.-Maryland border and one mile away from Rhizome’s current location in Takoma Park.

At the time of publication, Rhizome had raised just over $270,000 in donations. Its online fundraiser, via the GiveButter platform, remains open for further donations.

In an email to CapitalBop, Rhizome’s program director (and sole paid employee) Layne Garrett said that the organization secured the contract to purchase the property in April, and expects to formally close the deal on May 10. 

Though Rhizome has now met its initial fundraising goal, Garrett noted that the quest for more funds does not end with this milestone. 

“We still need [approximately] $150k for the necessary repairs and renovations,” Garrett said in his email. “Next week we’ll up the goal on the GiveButter page and continue to low-key fundraise over the summer while also seeking out other potential grants to help cover construction costs.”

On the crowdfunding page, Rhizome has stated that it would ideally like to see the last bit of funds it needs come in by Sep. 30 — around the time the organization would be able to acquire a building permit — to help refurbish the space on Alaska Avenue, which was once a medical facility but has recently sat unused.

Rhizome rents its current location on Maple Street NW, which opened in 2015. The collective had been seeking a new base of operations since 2020, when its landlord said that the lot would soon be converted into apartment buildings. Since that initial announcement, however, the developers’ plans to build on the lot have been stalled. 

Success in its current venture would make Rhizome one of the few arts venues in the D.C. jazz and creative music scene to own its own space. 

Disclosure: CapitalBop has presented numerous shows at Rhizome over the years, including hosting the DC Jazz Loft there in 2018-19. Abram Mamet, the editor of this piece, sometimes performs and organizes shows at the venue.



About Jackson Sinnenberg

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Jackson Sinnenberg is a broadcast journalist and a freelance writer. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, JazzTimes, Downbeat, NPR Music,, the Washington City Paper, On Tap/District Fray Magazine and the blog of Smithsonian Folkways Records. He began covering the city’s music scene for WGTB, Georgetown University’s radio station, where he was a show host, writer, and columnist. He graduated from Georgetown with a bachelor’s degree in American Musical Culture. Reach him at [email protected]. Follow him at @sinnenbergmusic.

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