Hill-based artist Christine Vineyard is using her work to promote local business and raise money for the DC Central Kitchen (DCCK). Vineyard, who publishes on social media as Lidflutters, wants to use her work to make a difference for families during this difficult time. She’s selling works depicting iconic local businesses to benefit the nonprofit.
DC Central Kitchen (DCCK) combats hunger and poverty through job training and job creation. In response to COVID-19, DCCK is serving more than 40,000 emergency meals each week at dozens of sites across the city, keeping healthy food on the shelves of corner stores, and supporting Culinary Job Training students whose training and careers have been disrupted by this crisis.
Their efforts make a difference to the kids she misses, Vineyard said. A trained artist and educator, Vineyard usually spends her days teaching at McKinley Middle School (150 T St. NE). The school is a “homeless status” school, Vineyard said, meaning that many students do not have permanent addresses. Many live in shelters, the hotels retained by the Department of Human Services (DHS) along New York Avenue, in foster care or even in cars.
She said DC Central Kitchen is great because it helps everyone. “I know I’m not necessarily helping my kids directly,” she said of the project, “but if my efforts would help students and families who are in need across the District, then I’m happy to do it.”
Her students aren’t doing their best learning right now, either, Vineyard said. DC Public Schools (DCPS) has provided schools and students with devices. However, many do not have access to Wi-Fi or electricity, or where they do, they often lack the skills necessary to connect all three. That’s a national issue, she said. “They’ve given out devices, but there needs to be a follow-up.” She’s worried about the students at her school.
Vineyard produced prints depicting 62 different iconic District businesses and is giving all the profits from sales of the prints to the DC Central Kitchen (425 Second St. NW). She started her work by capturing Capitol Hill Books (657 C St. SE), followed by others such as the Hill Center (921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE), where Vineyard sometimes teaches an art class and Labyrinth Puzzles and Games (645 Pennsylvania Ave. SE). She also has depicted businesses in the wider District, such as Kramerbooks (1517 Connecticut Ave. NW), Call Your Mother (3301 Georgia Ave. NW) and Ben’s Chili Bowl (1213 U St. NW), posting them online to her Instagram and Twitter accounts.
People started noticing, and she started getting requests from current and former residents to do their favorite businesses. Some businesses reached out to her directly, and it just snowballed from there, she said (look out for Trusty’s, coming out in art soon). She has a queue of 50 requests right now. “Now this is a thing,” she said she realized, “I need to do something with it.”
Starting Friday, April 24, Vineyard is selling the prints online in the ‘local’ section of her Etsy store and at her website, www.lidflutters.com. She’ll keep enough to cover the cost of production (about 40 percent, or $9.50), with the remainder of profits going straight to DCCK. Prospective buyers who wish to increase their purchase price or who want a larger format can contact Vineyard and she will try to accommodate requests. Increased profits will be increased donations, she said. If her efforts really take off, Vineyard said, she will also contribute profits to Sasha Bruce Youthwork.
Vineyard has donated her work to each business depicted to do as they wish with the images and has received consent from each for the use of their images in the campaign. She said she originally planned to help local businesses through her art, but then realized that businesses struggling to make ends meet at this time did not have the bandwidth to take on an art project. “Almost every one of them has said they love it and will support the project,” she said. “Their response has been phenomenal.”