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Since 2008, the elegant Franklin School Building at 13th and K streets NW has lain vacant, susceptible to the elements, the corrosive effects of time, and the errant pigeon with digestive problems. It’s also the future home of the Institute for Contemporary Expression, a forthcoming kunsthalle and nonprofit “community center for the arts” helmed by ebullient local art collector Dani Levinas (right).
Levinas and his team plan to leave most of the 150-year-old building’s bones intact—the arching windows, lofty ceilings, and sprawling floor plan are perfect for large-scale installations and ambitious site-specific exhibitions. But there’s also a bit of asbestos under some of the floors and lead in the paint, plus temporary walls and shoddy recent additions that’ll all need to come down. This Saturday, Nov. 8, before clean-up and construction begin, ICE will host an Instagram contest for photographers and urban explorers to document the eerie, crumbling interior. Winners will get to exhibit their work at a show after ICE’s opening, tentatively set for 2017. (City Paper photographer Darrow Montgomery‘s phone photos are below.)
Even beyond the peeling walls and dangling ceiling tiles, there’s an iPhone’s worth of antique things, beautifully broken things, and even dead things waiting to be captured. Just don’t eat any paint chips.
Photos by Darrow Montgomery