“The Sky’s the Limit” is the newest of many murals in Hyattsville. Just one more reason to visit the art, small business, and history scene along Route 1 and make a special stop at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center.
Pyramid Atlantic Art Center
Pyramid Atlantic Art Center was founded in 1981 by noted artist and teacher Helen C. Frederick to provide a setting for artistic collaboration and dialogue. A 501(c)(3) non-profit contemporary arts center, Pyramid Atlantic receives federal and state funds as well as generous support from private foundations, corporations, and local businesses. In addition, we count individual donors and our members among our most valued supporters. We are located in the historic Arcade building in the Hyattsville Gateway Arts District. The facility features a papermaking studio, print shop, letterpress studio, bindery, and a darkroom. We also have private studios and a gallery.
History of Hyattsville’s The Arcade Building
The Hyattsville “Arcade” Building began as the Pinkney Memorial Episcopal Church, first opened in 1890. Located
just off of Maryland Avenue (now Rhode Island Avenue/U.S. Route 1), this small church was built on a raised foundation following the slope of the land. However, this small church soon was outgrown by the congregation.
In 1913, just twenty-three years later, the building was sold to Frank Rushe. He removed the roof, expanded walls, and built four bowling alleys in the basement. On the front of the building facing the street at ground level was a “Carrom and Pocket Billiard” area, refreshments and ice cream, and even a barbershop. Upstairs in the former sanctuary, a large auditorium was opened showing “nothing but the best productions, portrayed by the leading artistes of the screen world” every evening at 7pm for 5 cents. Music was by the “Wurlitzer Orchestra.” The building was open 1 pm to 11 pm. “Ladies especially invited.”
The building was closed by the 1940s when a local troupe of actors asked the City to use the theater for performances with an integrated audience. They were denied. The building remained largely vacant until the early 2000s when the Hyattsville CDC stabilized the building. Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center opened in 2016 with Anacostia Trails Heritage Area as a subtenant.
More to Do and See
One of our major partners is the Gateway Community Development Corporation, a “catalyst for arts-driven economic revitalization of the U.S. Route 1 corridor and the surrounding communities in the Gateway Arts District. Gateway CDC works in the communities of Brentwood, North Brentwood, and Mount Rainier, and works in collaboration with several partners to ensure the success of the entire Gateway Arts District. The Gateway CDC envisions the Gateway Arts District as the heart of Prince George’s County’s arts beat. The Arts District is seeking to be lively, walkable, and bikeable, where people of all ages and backgrounds are shopping in local stores, eating at cafés and restaurants, and enjoying arts and entertainment venues.” (Gateway CDC)
In 2001, the University of Maryland opened the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. This facility is a collaborative effort of the state, Prince George’s County, and the university and promises to provide a superb environment for the study, practice and enjoyment of the arts. The University of Maryland and many of its facilities are directly linked by the Anacostia Tributary Trails System.
Montpelier Cultural Arts Center near Laurel is Prince George’s County’s premier multifaceted arts facility. Located on the grounds of Montpelier Mansion and also owned by M-NCPPC, the center houses three galleries, classrooms, workshops and studio space. Cultural events in both the visual and performing arts are offered regularly and include visual art exhibits, classical music competitions, masters’ workshops, and dance programs. The center is open seven days a week.
The Publick Playhouse in Cheverly is owned by M-NCPPC. It presents many professional programs with nationally known artists; however, its main mission is to provide a fully equipped facility for use by local performing arts companies and offer affordable arts and dance presentations to residents of the area.
Fairs and Festivals are a major part of the culture of the region. One of the largest Hispanic festivals is located at Langley Park, while one of the oldest Labor Day parades and festivals is in Greenbelt. All of the municipalities hold “community days” throughout the year and the holidays are enjoyable with over 100 different types of events throughout the region. Check out the events listing for much more on these unique and special ways to celebrate every month in the region.
A major attraction for the area is Joe’s Movement Emporium in Mount Rainier. “Joe’s Movement Emporium is the community performing arts center of World Arts Focus, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that was launched in 1992. The mission is to promote participation and practice in dance, movement, and performing arts traditions from around the world while using the arts as a key tool to revitalize community. The organization decided to engage in a capital campaign to purchase a nearby warehouse facility and transform this structure into a 20,000 sq. ft. performance center with studios, administrative offices, and educational resources. In 2007, the New Joe’s Movement Emporium opened its doors; and in 2009, the Board of Directors and staff dedicated a new performance theater as part of the center.” (World Arts Focus)
Many local theater groups are very active in the region. Active Cultures Theater, based in Riverdale Park, is “the vernacular theater of Maryland” and “creates smart and juicy theater for a diverse, multi-generational audience.” Laurel has two theaters – Laurel Mill Playhouse and the Venus Theater Play Shack. “Located in the middle of historic Laurel, the Laurel Mill Playhouse exists to bring live theater to a vibrant and diverse community, foster a creative environment, and help local individuals nurture their talent. The Playhouse is the home of the Burtonsville Players, which has been providing community theater to the quad-county area for more than 35 years.” The Venus Theater “uses theatre as a the means to bring humanities into Prince George’s County. It is our mission to set flight to the voices of women and children with theater for a lifetime. In doing this, we believe that audiences will leave Venus Theater somehow transformed. We want all people to have permission to express opposing views. In theater, tension creates dynamic work. We want to share that feeling of tolerance, mutual respect, and create a friendly environment of expression where differing opinions and thoughts are viewed as opportunities to actively listen and respect our fellow humans.”