// BUILD­ING THE FU­TURE

CRE­ATORS AND EN­TREPRENEURS WITH NEW AND UN­USUAL IDEAS NOW HAVE A HOME AT HALCYON HOUSE.

Capitol File - - CONTENTS - BY STEPHANIE GREEN

Cre­ators and en­trepreneurs with new and un­usual ideas now have a home at Halcyon House.

Halcyon House has been Ge­orge­town eye candy since it was built in 1787.

But to­day it is beau­ti­ful from the in­side out, as the home of a fresh crop of en­trepreneurs and artists who com­bine Mark Zucker­berg ge­nius with Bill Gates–like so­cial-mind­ed­ness. And it’s all thanks to the vi­sion of its co­founders, the biotech trail­blazer and phi­lan­thropist Dr. Sachiko Kuno and

Kate Goodall.

“Halcyon House” refers specif­i­cally to the build­ing, which is the head­quar­ters for the pro­grams col­lec­tively called Halcyon. There are three main ini­tia­tives, and they are united by their com­mit­ment to out-of-the­box think­ing: Halcyon In­cu­ba­tor, a mil­lion-dol­lar-ayear pro­gram that of­fers an 18-month fel­low­ship fo­cused on en­tre­pre­neur­ial ideas; Halcyon Stage, a per­formin­garts se­ries de­voted to bring­ing un­con­ven­tional the­ater, mu­sic, and lit­er­a­ture to DC; and the Arts Lab, which launches this fall to sup­port emerg­ing artists who will in turn men­tor stu­dents in Wards 7 and 8.

“Dr. Kuno knew she didn’t want the house to be­come a dusty mau­soleum,” says Goodall of their mis­sion.

She and Kuno have been work­ing to­gether since 2012 to hatch pro­grams that not only in­spire en­trepreneur­ship and artistry but also pro­vide a phys­i­cal haven. “Not everybody can live with their par­ents [when they’re de­vel­op­ing their idea] or have some­thing to fall back on if they go bank­rupt,” adds Goodall.

Halcyon In­cu­ba­tor gives hous­ing, re­sources, and a $10,000 stipend to en­trepreneurs from all walks of life, so long as their ideas have “so­cial im­pact,” which is Goodall’s mantra.

One of the cur­rent en­trepreneurs in the In­cu­ba­tor pro­gram is Chibueze Ihenacho, an en­gi­neer whose ARMR Sys­tems is

de­vel­op­ing hem­or­rhage­con­trol prod­ucts for in­juries on bat­tle­fields, where med­i­cal sup­port may not be avail­able.

For Ihenacho, a first-gen­er­a­tion Nige­ri­anAmer­i­can, mak­ing the right con­nec­tions, es­pe­cially in mil­i­tary and biotech­nol­ogy sec­tors, is key, and it’s where Goodall sees Wash­ing­ton as be­ing a prime as­set.

“The in­tel­lec­tual ca­pac­ity here is un­ri­valed,” she says. “There are ex­perts [in DC] rep­re­sent­ing ev­ery field, who are more than will­ing to serve as a men­tor for one of the ven­tures.”

The Halcyon In­cu­ba­tor fel­lows live in the house for five months, with an ad­di­tional 13 months in post-res­i­dence, and their suc­cess is tracked af­ter they leave, al­though Halcyon and its founders have no eq­uity in their ven­tures.

Goodall and her team are cur­rently re­view­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for the next group of fel­lows with so­cial ven­tures. She’s ex­pect­ing about 250 for eight slots.

Halcyon has set the bar just as high for the arts. Once the Arts Lab is up and run­ning, it will be some­thing like the arts equiv­a­lent of the In­cu­ba­tor ini­tia­tive, giv­ing artists the re­sources to ex­plore so­cially minded work.

In the mean­time, Kuno and Goodall were able to nab for­mer Wash­ing­ton Bal­let im­pre­sario Sep­time We­bre to act as the artis­tic di­rec­tor of Halcyon Stage, which launched in Jan­uary as a way to present the kind of un­con­ven­tional, en­ve­lope-push­ing per­for­mances that pro­vide a nec­es­sary coun­ter­weight to the tra­di­tional fare one can find at the Kennedy Cen­ter.

“Peo­ple are align­ing around a vi­sion for a stronger arts city, and at Halcyon we know that it’s pos­si­ble,” says Goodall.

“When I en­counter skep­tics, I al­ways sug­gest that they ex­am­ine the corol­lar­ies in the culi­nary world, and the fact that DC wasn’t re­ally on the map a decade ago,” she adds. “But a few ded­i­cated, vi­sion­ary chefs and en­trepreneurs earned us im­por­tant recog­ni­tion. The same thing can hap­pen here for the arts, which we would ar­gue is all about the so­cial im­pact.”

Re­cent events have in­cluded the cabaret artist Joey Arias per­form­ing his ac­claimed Bil­lie Hol­i­day trib­ute; a book party for the Pope of Trash, John Wa­ters (who’s also a Bal­ti­more na­tive); and a per­for­mance of Stravin­sky’s The Rite of Spring at Union Mar­ket’s Dock 5 ware­house (sug­gested at­tire, per the event de­scrip­tion, was “rev­o­lu­tion­ary”).

Goodall says they have fo­cused on cre­at­ing a unique set of im­mer­sive, creative ex­pe­ri­ences, with a mind to ac­ces­si­bil­ity— and, of course, in­no­va­tion. Halcyon House is lo­cated at 3400 Prospect Street NW. For a sched­ule of Halcyon Stage events, visit hal­cy­on­house.org.

“PEO­PLE ARE ALIGN­ING AROUND A VI­SION FOR A STRONGER ARTS CITY, AND AT HALCYON WE KNOW THAT IT’S POS­SI­BLE.” —KATE GOODALL

Dr. Sachiko Kuno (Ƨƞƚƫ ƫƢƠơƭ) and Kate Goodall are the chair­man and CEO, re­spec­tively, of Halcyon, which is head­quar­tered at Halcyon House (ƚƛƨƯƞ).

Halcyon Stage has brought thrilling acts to DC, in­clud­ing the con­tem­po­rary bal­let en­sem­ble Bal­letX (ƥƞƟƭ) and the genre-de­fy­ing cabaret and drag artist Joey Arias (ƛƞƥƨư), who per­formed his famed Bil­lie Hol­i­day trib­ute. ƛƞƥƨư ƥƞƟƭ: Chibueze Ihenacho is an en­gi­neer and fel­low at Halcyon In­cu­ba­tor.

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