The “Minnesota Avenue Community Showcase” displayed its ﬁfth exhibit in late November through a collaboration between a local McDonald’s franchise, River Terrace Elementary School and the nonproﬁt Sign of the Times cultural workshops and gallery.
Showcase artists were students in Ms. Coles’ ﬁfth-grade class at River Terrace: Henry Brown, Cyre Collins, Destiny Cotton, Lynshawn Ebron, Shavonne Fraley, Emoni Price and Demony Smith.
Present at the Nov. 21 unveiling – held at the McDonald’s at Minnesota Avenue and Dix Street NE – were River Terrace principal Shannon Foster, art teacher Irby Vinson, parents, friends and community members. McDonald’s rewarded artists with “Happy Meals,” while certiﬁcates were presented by James Greggs, founder and director of Sign of the Times.
“We really owe the great success of the showcase to our talented young artists and to Mr. Carlos Matoes, owner of this McDonald’s,” said Greggs. “This partnership has done so much in allowing us to help, support and encourage the youth in our community.”
Matoes has also worked to highlight historical ﬁ gures from the community, Greggs said, displaying Library of
Congress photographs of Nannie Helen Burroughs and the National Training School for Women and Girls,which she founded in 1909.
Sign of the Times, now in its 38th year, serves children, youth and seniors of Ward 7 by oﬀering aﬀordable in- and after-school cultural arts workshops. The organization is best known for its murals found throughout the community, including “East River” located in th he East River Park Shopping Center at Benning Road and Minnesota Avenue NE.
Greggs notes that Sign of the Times’ programs are often “the only exposure to art for many individuals.” He reports, however, that reduced contributions, resulting from today’s “diﬃ cult economic times … directly and severely aﬀect our ability to oﬀ er much needed arts programs and training to youth and other residents of our community.”