June 17, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

It once was a church, and the form is still evident. But one look at the vibrant array of colors splashed over the building and it’s clear this is something completely different. Blind Whino’s website explains the name and the aim:


“The term [Blind] pig or blind tiger, is an extended name for the term Speakeasy. (A place where) people of all kinds, black or white, would gather together and even mingle.

Art [Whino]: Our partnering for-profit art gallery located (is) at the National Harbor whose mission is to bring together the pioneers and freshest talent from around the world.”


The Blind Whino event and art space is still in formation, but has set out to be a focal point for the arts in the DC area. Their adoption of an old church is embraced as they tell their story:


“The structure of the venue was designed and built in the early 1900s by James A. Boyce at the site of the old Friendship Baptist Church; it was designated as a DC historic site in 2004. The building is unique for its eclectic use of Victorian and Romanesque architectural styles combined with Gothic Revival and Queen Anne elements. For over 20 years, after the congregation found a new home one block over, the venue remained vacant.”


Our trip to DC didn’t overlap with any planned events at the Blind Whino site. But this reused church has some great potential to continue to serve an increasingly diverse community. A tour on a future visit will be worth planning.

Blind Whino, 700 Delaware Avenue SW, Washington DC

Adaptive Re-use/ Historic Preservation