Dear Friend of BloomBars, I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel abroad through the State Department's, American Music Abroad Program. I

BloomBars Weekly Bloom Newsletter
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Dear Friend of BloomBars,

I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel abroad through the State Department's, American Music Abroad Program. I am supporting jazz-soul vocalist, Kenny Wesley as his percussionist. This program began in the mid-1950's. The State Department sent musicians such as; Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong as good-will ambassadors. It was believed that the genre and culture of jazz showed the best of American culture. Today, this program exposes the world to the many genres that have been birthed out of our musical roots; folk, blues and jazz.

I am proud to be among such a host of powerful artists. Among them is former Artist in Bloom Resident, grammy-nominated, Carolyn Malachi who toured Asia over a year ago. We will tour three countries in South America; Peru, Bolivia and Colombia. In each country, we will teach at colleges and universities, perform for local communities and learn from musicians based in Afro-Latin musical styles. The band members are; Dennis Turner, DC born bassist who has toured with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Fred Yonnet and is currently the musical director for Odyssey. Zach Cutler is an amazing guitarist who has played for grammy-nominated Raheem Devaugh, Ledisi and is currently the guitarist for Eastern Standard Time brings together top musicians from the Jazz, Soul, and Caribbean music scenes of the nation's capitol. Merging rhythms from the islands with melodies from Birdland.

I will write updates on each experience in these countries and have plenty of pictures for you to see as I teach the world how to, SEED, SOW AND BLOOM.

Much Love,

Dante' Pope
Artist In Bloom Resident

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Vote BloomBars for Best Arts & Culture Non-profit

Let's do it again!!! I know we said we'd sit this one out, but so many of you expressed a desire to go for it again. And truth be told, this is the best supplement to our nonexistent advertising and marketing budget. So, do us a huge solid and take 10 seconds to cast your vote for BloomBars for Best Arts & Culture Nonprofit, HERE:

:: This Week @BloomBars ::

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TONIGHT: Garden Open Mic featuring Rafael - Hosted by Elena Lacayo

Monday, February 13th from 8-10pm

Join us for DC's only weekly variety open mic (poetry, music, comedy, storytelling, etc-ing) where the show is appropriate for all ages (please and thank you to performers), the vibes are healing, the sharing is offered without pretention, and the audience as nurturing as you'll find. From first timers to established artists - all are welcome in The Garden. Plant your seed. Watch it Bloom! The Garden now LIVE STREAMS (and is archived) on BloomTV.

Sign-up list opens at 8:00pm
Show starts at 8:30 pm

Rafael is a rapper and songwriter from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. While growing up in the Caribbean, he slowly taught himself how to rhyme, produce and DJ in the vein of 80’s and 90’ rap trailblazers. RAFAEL blends this vintage influence with a taste for melodic hooks and playful lyricism that appeals to both dedicated hip-hop fans and casual listeners.

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BloomScreen presents: Harvest of Shame

Tuesday, February 14th at 7pm

BloomBars presents, “Harvest of Shame,” a 1960 film which shows the plight of American migrant agricultural workers and allows us to reflect on how little has changed...

Harvest of Shame (1960, 60 min), by Fred W. Friendly and Edward R. Murrow – in this CBS News production broadcast after Thanksgiving 1960, Murrow points out the plight of migrant farm workers in America. Topics range from harsh living conditions, endless travel and low wages, to poor opportunities for children.

Murrow’s classic documentary resonated deeply for a nation unfamiliar with such brutally honest depictions of the lives of migrant laborers and led to permanent changes in the laws protecting workers’ rights.

The screening will be followed by audience discussion and Q&A.
*Suggested Donation: $10. Proceeds support BloomBars. Free organic popcorn.

BloomScreen Indie Film Night is a weekly series of independent and foreign films, accompanied by discussions with filmmakers, experts, and other guests.

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Monthly Songwriting Workshop with Elena Lacayo

Saturday, February 18th from 3:30 to 5:30pm

Have you ever wanted to write a song? Don't know where to start? Do you have a song you have been working on? A musical idea you want to develop into a song? A song you want to get feedback on?

Join Elena Lacayo, Artist in Bloom resident, bilingual singer-songwriter and lead for Elena & Los Fulanos- for a Songwriter's Workshop where participants will learn about the essential elements of songwriting including best practices on song structure, melody, and lyric-writing and how to work through song ideas to create a complete song. This workshop will also serve as an opportunity to perform songs or ideas and receive feedback from peers. We may even write a song! Bring your instruments and songs you have been working on to share (if you have them)! All levels welcome!

This workshop will focus on lyrics and lyric-writing excercises! Bring your draft songs to share!

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QTPOC Poetry Reading & Open Mic

Tuesday, February 21st at 7pm

Join us for a poetry reading and open mic by queer and trans people of color, including featured readings by D'Lo, Francisco Luis-White, Charity Blackwell, Día Bùi, and Sunu P. Chandy, with host Gowri K. We welcome people of all lived experiences to join us and listen. We ask that only queer and trans people of color sign up to share work during the open mic. BloomBars asks that material presented be appropriate for all ages.

Open mic sign up begins at 7 pm
Reading begins at 7:30 pm
$10 donation

About the featured readers and host:

D'LO is a queer/transgender Tamil-Sri Lankan-American actor/writer/comedian whose work ranges stand-up comedy, solo theater, plays, films and music production, poetry and spoken word. He is a co-producer for DisOriented Comedy and his full-length stand-up storytelling show D’FunQT (defunct) has toured internationally in the U.S., UK, India, and Sri Lanka. The documentary by Crescent Diamond based on D’Lo’s life/work, called Performing Girl, won the best short documentary award at Outfest 2013. His tv/film credits include co-starring in the HBO series LOOKING as Taj, on the Amazon series TRANSPARENT and the Netflix series SENSE8. This year he is featured in Sundance Fellow Adelina Anthony’s feature-length film BRUISING FOR BESOS in the supporting lead role of Rani. He also appears in various Buzzfeed videos, on the web series EASTSIDERS and DYKE CENTRAL and the upcoming Issa Rae/Project Greenlight produced Minimum Wage. His own web-series PRIVATE DICK is in post-production and set to be released this fall. D’Lo is the creator of the “Coming Out, Coming Home” writing workshop series, which has taken place with South Asian and/or Immigrant LGBTQ organizations nationally. D’Lo also holds a BA from UCLA in Ethnomusicology and is a graduate of New York’s School of Audio Engineering (SAE). He is currently working on his screenplay GodFreaQ, and the follow up show to D’FunQT called To T, or Not to T, which will premiere at NYC’s Dixon Place Theater summer ‘17.

FRANCISCO LUIS-WHITE is an Afro-Latinx poet and storyteller residing in District of Columbia. White released Found Them in May 2016, a chapbook of seventeen poems dealing with transformation and departure in response to trauma along their gender/sexuality journey. They have a collection of poetry forthcoming from Indolent Books in 2017.

Born in Arizona and raised in South Carolina, CHARITY BLACKWELL is a spoken word artist. Charity started writing poetry in high school but recently began performing her work in 2015. While pursuing her undergraduate degree at Trinity University, Charity cultivated, hosted, and performed at numerous spoken-word events for her school. She currently works for the Department of Commerce and recently completed her Master’s degree at Trinity in Communications with a concentration in Leadership. She hosted the 2013, 2014, and 2015 DC SCORES Poetry SLAMS! and is now a two-time host of the National SLAM! in New York City. Charity is passionate about poetry, soccer, and youth development, and she remains involved in the D.C. spoken-word scene while she completes her first book of poems.

DIA BUI is a Vietnamese queer woman of color artist, speaker, activist and organizer. As a Creative Director at Humanity in Print, her primary focus is producing "Witness," a feature length documentary about the people of Cuba and the "Resistance" docuseries debuting in mid-February. For over a decade, she has honed her ability to connect with people through truth-telling experiences. She has been writing and performing across the country in various venues including the 9:30 club, UCLA, UC Berkeley, Emory University and Lincoln Theater. Recently, Día created and launched United We Slam (, a grassroots platform featuring resistance actions, resources, music and culture. In DC local organizing, she currently serves as the Co-Director of the Washington Peace Center. Connect with Día at and @dia_verse.

SUNU P. CHANDY has performed poems and conducted creative writing workshops for over twenty years. She founded the Audacious Sisters of Color writing group while completing majors in Women’s Studies and Peace and Global Studies at Earlham College. Following that, Sunu led women’s creative writing workshops in Kerala, India at a vocational skills center. Sunu also completed her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in 1998. She first represented labor unions and workers through a private firm in New York City and then became a Senior Trial Attorney with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Sunu is currently the Deputy Director for Civil Rights with the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) and before that, served as General Counsel with the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights. In 2013, Sunu completed her MFA in creative writing – poetry from Queens College, CUNY and during that process developed a social justice course in Creative Nonfiction. Sunu has served on the boards of several organizations including the South Asian Women's Creative Collective (SAWCC), the Audre Lorde Project (ALP), and most recently, Split this Rock. Sunu’s creative work can be found in: Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Asian American Literary Review, Poets on Adoption, Split this Rock’s on-line social justice database, The Quarry, Voices of Brooklyn: Writings from the Women of Color Writers’ Workshop and This Bridge We Call Home: Radical Visions for Transformation. Sunu is the daughter of immigrants from Kerala, India and lives in Washington DC with her spouse, their seven-year-old daughter and her spouse’s 92-year-old grandmother.

GOWRI K. is a Tamil American writer, performing artist, and lawyer. Her advocacy has addressed animal welfare, environmental protection, the rights of prisoners and the criminally accused in the U.S., and justice and accountability in Sri Lanka. Her publication credits include several poems and two peer-reviewed journal articles on the environmental impacts of farming animals for food. Gowri has performed at Lincoln Center Out of Doors, the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Atlas Performing Arts Center, SpokenWord Paris, and universities in the U.S. and Canada. She is a Kundiman fellow, poetry coordinator at the non-profit arts organization BloomBars, a poetry events host at Busboys and Poets, senior poetry editor at Jaggery, and co-editor of Beltway Poetry Quarterly. Gowri shares haiku and senryu on Twitter and Instagram @gowrimozhi.

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Family Reggae Night Feat: Love Judah Sound & Baba Ras D

Saturday, February 25 at 5:30pm

Rise up and let the Reggae take you to a better place....and bring the whole family! A new twist on date night where you can bring the kids, or not. The point is to let the rythms move your body and soul.


:: Artist in Bloom Update ::

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Two Days Left - $1,000 to Go!

¡Hola Bloombars Familia!

I know we’ve all had a tough last couple of weeks here in DC. It’s been a struggle to realize that however hard things have been for our communities, things are likely to get much worse. Throughout this time, my music has already been put to use at various teach-in’s, resistance events, and immigrants-rights rallies. I remain committed to standing with marginalized communities and am heartened to know that the BloomBars family will be part of the strength that holds such as myself engaged and accountable.

Today I am writing to share that my band Elena & Los Fulanos is working on a new album! That’s right! These last few years have been an amazing ride for us, from playing the amazing Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, to releasing the (now all too poignant) video for "Amor Migrante," to all the awesome shows in between. We are so grateful for all the support we have had thus far and are psyched to take the next step. BUT we need your help!

Making an album is expensive, and as working musicians it is virtually impossible for us to fund this endeavor. But we believe that with your help we can reach our goal of raising $10,500 in the next 20 days. Can you help by contributing? It's super easy to chip in and plus, by supporting this campaign you'll be the chance to claim one of the "perks" and get our new album! Check out our video if you want to hear more.

I remain committed to standing with immigrant and marginalized communities in hard times and do my part as an artist to resist injustice and put forward music that brings our communities together and strengthens our resolve. I want to thank you all for being part of this incredible BloomBars familia. ¡Que siga la lucha!


Elena Lacayo
of Elena & Los Fulanos
Artist in Bloom

:: NOW AT @BloomBars ::

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New Bi-Monthy Program: Fly By Light City-Wide Youth Open-Mic

Monday, February 20th - from 6:30 to 8:30pm

We are excited to partner with One Common Unity and Fly By Light to present "Fly By Light City-Wide Youth Open-Mic." Please spread the word to all performance Artists
(Poets - singers - musicians - dancers - storytellers - MCs) ages 14-21).The open mic will be held every other Monday. All ages are welcome to attend.

One Common Unity (OCU) is a 5013 non-profit organization that inspires personal growth and nurtures sustainable, caring communities through social-emotional learning services and arts empowerment programming.

Julia Batiste

Ballet en Françias (Ages 2.5-7) NOW on Tuesdays and Thursdays

Due to popular demand, we've expanded Ballet en Françias to Thursdays at 4pm. Now ballerinas can attend class on Tuesday and/or Thursdays at 4pm.

At Ballet en Français, students (ages 2.5-7) will learn the ballet developed in the royal courtyards of Louis XIV. We will practice basic posture while discovering the anatomy behind each position. The purpose of this class is to ally creative movement and french language from which the terms of ballet arise. French vocabulary will be taught to identify fundamental movements such as glissade, pas de bourré, and saut de chat (Italicize the terms). Parents and caregivers are free to stay or drop-off their children. Suggested donation: $12 per class or $100 for 10 classes.

An important part of each class will be an improvisation component where the dancers can express their creativity however they wish. Our focus is to teach traditional ballet while giving the children space to discover the dancer inside themselves.

Julia Battist is a French ballet/contemporary dancer trained at the National Conservatory of Paris. She has toured all over Europe with Le Ballet Classique de Paris and performed classical repertory such as Swan Lake and the Nutcracker. Since May 2014, she has been working with the Nhiane Khosi Dance theatre in New York and Dakshina Dance Company in Washington DC.

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New Weekly Program: Samba Kids w/Carnival Queen Zezeh Brazil

Every Wednesday at 5:30pm

Join Zezeh Brazil (Sao Paolo), former carnaval queen, radio personality and dance instructor extraordinaire for child & family samba dance lessons. It’s never too early to learn the infectious dance of the world’s 5th largest country. Samba Kids is the perfect introduction to movement and rhythm, not to mention Portuguese. The classes starts with yoga followed by a dance class to the sound of Brazilian carnival music for kids.

Check it out in the Washington Post Express:


Capoeira for Kids (Ages 4 and up)

Saturdays at 8:30am

Capoeira provides physical fitness for children, ages 4 and up. It is intended to be a no- to low-contact martial art that helps children with gross motor planning and gross motor skills.

Children will also learn maculele (a dance done hitting sticks against your partner’s sticks), samba, capoeira instruments, and Portuguese through this fun, interactive class.


Nous Bloomons is Back at BloomBars - Sundays at 10am

The Alliance Francaise is very proud to continue its partnership with BloomBars, bringing back a weekly music program for children. Nous Bloomons is a celebration of French language and culture through song and dance, led by Achille Ango.

Achille grew up in Cameroon (Central West Africa). After graduating from High School, he went to France where he lived for seven years studying and playing music. He has taught French to children, and played music with various bands in the Washington area for more than 20 years. He now teaches French in an immersion school using music as a vehicle.

If you want to have fun, dance, jump and sing “à tue-tête”, join us at BloomBars!

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Little Treasures w/Tamika Love Jones

Wednesdays at 10am

Artist in Bloom Resident Tamika Love Jones presents Little Treasures, an educational and interactive journey for babies and children (under age 3) that explores a special box of little treasures. Each treasure that is picked from the box will lead tots and parents to sing their favorite songs, read fun stories and explore their bodies through exciting movement. The theme of Little treasures is self-love and teaching the tots that they, too, are little treasures!

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Canta Conmigo en el Sol o en el Frío

Mondays at 10:30am (Ages 0-4)

Join Veronica Jimenez, for this Spanish language singalong, story time, puppet playgroup. Parents, expecting parents and caregivers are encouraged to participate.


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Help Tornado Victims in New Orleans East

We received this update from a friend of BloomBars, Stephanie Yawa de Wolfe, and just had to share:

​Many of my close friends in New Orleans (where i live!) work at schools; the tornado was a huge blow to my community of educators. Already, there are so many obstacles that students face in the city. Many families have lost everything. In particular, three of my closest friends work at schools in New Orleans East, and have students who are residents of NOLA East. On a regular basis i hear stories about the dearth of resources available to their students.

NOLA East is removed from the city, many families live there because it's more affordable than the city. Given how slow organized response efforts can be, and to honor the deep investment my friends put into their students, I want to raise some money for the kids at Sci Academy. I had the chance to visit last year and judge student projects on social change. The Sci Academy community offers me hope and reminds me of how hard people work to lift up children with limited opportunities.

So often after emergencies, people just need money and don't have it. many of the educators feel helpless in the face of what their students and co-workers are now facing. In this case, I want to encourage the Sci Academy community with no-strings-attached support, and build on the love and trust they have established at their school by extending the fund with trust that they will draw on it to support their students and coworker's kids as needed. there is no institutional affiliation to this campaign.

Please join me in supporting the Sci Academy kiddos and employees if you are so moved! You can help by passing this along to others, especially folks who work with kids, who you think would want to support.


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It’s time. BloomBars is looking to re-imagine our website, so we can better serve our community. We’d love to assemble a ragtag group of volunteers to help make this a reality. There are a variety of tasks to be done, from the conceptual to the nitty-gritty. If you’re an experienced WordPress developer, graphic designer, and/or content producer with time on your hands and love in your heart, please reach out!


:: photos highlights ::

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Dante Pope & Band in Peru

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Powerful readings at Kundiman in Bloom

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Literary Week at BloomBars was a big success!


Nous Bloomon just keeps getting better!

:: bloom in the news ::

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BloomBars Featured in Washington Post Magazine:

At BloomBars, kids can give peace (and the arts) a chance

By Lateshia D. Beachum October 13, 2016

BloomBars, the unconventional art space in Columbia Heights, not only hosts eclectic events for adults, but also is a place for children to soak up culture.

“I think we are offering something that’s a little different, that includes peace education,” says founder John Chambers, who was inspired to start children’s programming at the space (3222 11th St. NW) when his daughter, Ava Maya, was born nearly six years ago.

Children can learn French ballet on a Tuesday (ages 3-7), pick up some Bollywood moves on a Thursday (ages 4-8) and on Sunday get in a little yoga in the family class, which is for all ages. The suggested donation is $7 to $15.

On most mornings starting at 10, chubby-legged toddlers can be found crawling around or wobbling across a purple-and-gold mat. On a recent Friday during the hour-long Songs, Stories & Puppetsclass, a BloomBars volunteer strummed a guitar while belting out the alphabet and then used hand puppets to tell a story of a boy who is taught by a bear to give his mom a bear hug.

Harambee, which means “all pull together” in Swahili, is the name of one of the longest-running and popular classes at BloomBars. It’s taught by veteran BloomBars artist Baba Ras D three days a week. He rhythmically bangs on a drum and sings into a microphone for almost an hour. His young audience members often try to join by hitting smaller drums.

Lawyer Betsy Strauss, 65, takes her 14-month-old granddaughter, Ada, to Harambee every Monday to hear Baba Ras D. She first took her now 4-year-old grandson, Micah, to Harambee before he reached school age.

“Baba Ras D seems to live the ideas in his songs,” Strauss said. “He sings about peace, making friends and letting your light shine through, and I think that’s what makes him so effective with children and adults.”

Veronica Jimenez’s 2-year-old son, Santiago, likes to play drums next to Baba Ras D and Chambers during Harambee. Jimenez, 41, brings her 4-year-old daughter to ballet classes, and Santiago frequents Harambee and the Friday puppet show.

When Latin Grammy-nominated children’s musician 123 Andrés moved away as his career took off, Jimenez approached Chambers about filling the void. For about a year, she has taught Canta Conmigo, which consists of Spanish-language singalongs and puppets.

“Bubbles are my secret weapon,” she said about her young fans.


BloomBars Named to Top Six Places To Rock Out With You Kids By Mommy Nearest

Located in D.C.'s Columbia Heights neighborhood, BloomBars has been called everything from an artist and non-profit incubator and performance space to an art gallery and dance studio. They have a full calendar of regular weekday shows suitable for every age; every show is donation based. The venue is cozy but has limited seating, so be prepared to sit cross-legged on the ground as your little one is up dancing or playing the bongos on stage. Check the calendar for upcoming events like Samba Kids, Bollywood Blooms and the popular Harambee!

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Facebook Page Reaches 6k Likes & 3k Twitter Followers!

Proof that social media and social people can live in harmony, we're humbled to see our digital community continue to grow. If you're not following us in this space, here are the places:

Facebook Page:
Facebook Group:

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Grab a Book at Our Little Free Library!

We need more children's book donations!

Little known fact: we've had a wonderful lending bookcase library for the last five years. Now we're ready to step it up and offer our books to the world, or at least our neighborhood. That means joining the global Little Free Library movement!

:: bloomTV ::

The Weekly Bloom MORE THAN 13,000 Readers! Please SHARE with friends!

After nearly 350 editions, The Weekly Bloom has reached MORE THAN 13,000 readers. It's a tribute to all of the artists, volunteers and supporters like you who believe in our mission and want to see this grand experiment be successful. We hope you will continue to follow and participate in this beautiful odyssey. As prehistoric as it may seem, we seek to find a unique and purposeful voice in this method of communication. If you respond to it, we promise to answer. If you want to amplify its voice, please share it with your friends. If you can't come to events, let us know you are there in spirit. If you have an idea you want to share, event you want to host or organization doing good works you want to elevate, email us.

:: bloom for thought ::

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:: about bloombars ::

BloomBars' works to inspire compassionate, creative and purposeful communities through the arts. Our goal is to foster personal and collective growth and cultivate a legion of artists to be the catalyst for community transformation across the globe. We offer a safe space for creative expression, community building, wellness, entertainment and anything that nurtures meaningful human connections and motivates people to service. We redefine the perception of a bar by providing opportunities for diverse, multi-lingual, multi-generational communities to gather in a culturally rich and alcohol-free environment. We are 100% donation driven, volunteer run and love fueled.

BloomU is the all-ages college of BloomBars. Our mission it to help you reach your full potential by exploring the heights of your creativity! Led by a talented team of artist/instructors, we host a variety of classes and workshops for people of all ages and experience levels, including dance, theater, visual arts, music, poetry and film. Classes are donation based. Suggested donations range from $5-$25. Drop-in on a class or workshop today!

Artists in Bloom At the center of our broad mission is a core belief that art and artists have the power to transform people, communities, and the world. The Artist in Bloom Residency Program is designed to identify, cultivate and incubate artists who will advance that belief and supports their growth as professionals, community activists, educators, social entrepreneurs, and human beings.

The Gallery at BloomBars presents exhibitions and programs that spark important conversations and encourage relationships between the artist and community. The Gallery’s interdisciplinary approach opens the door to bold experimentation and unique partnerships that support its mission to present the diversity of human experiences, raise consciousness and inspire personal growth.