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Art Gallery Highlights a Changing Anacostia

The Honfleur Gallery in Anacostia opened a week ago with a show dedicated to the art of tattooing. Courtesy Jacki Lyden hide caption

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Courtesy Jacki Lyden

The Honfleur Gallery in Anacostia opened a week ago with a show dedicated to the art of tattooing.

Courtesy Jacki Lyden

Artist John Shea stands behind his cerebral creations. Courtesy Jacki Lyden hide caption

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Courtesy Jacki Lyden

Artist John Shea stands behind his cerebral creations.

Courtesy Jacki Lyden

Diane Dale, a self-described fourth generation Annacostian, is working on a book about the area. Jacki Lyden, NPR hide caption

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Jacki Lyden, NPR

Diane Dale, a self-described fourth generation Annacostian, is working on a book about the area.

Jacki Lyden, NPR

When the Honfleur Gallery opened its doors a week ago, it seemed to crystallize a change in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, D.C., which has been struggling for decades.

Several hundred people gathered at the gallery for a show called "No Scratchers," dedicated to the art of tattooing. The commercial gallery space is attached to a jobs creation center, but down the road are buildings caving in on themselves, burned out and abandoned.

Some might wonder whether an art gallery is what Anacostia needs. The community itself is a sort of canvas as it faces redevelopment, and the changes, say some residents, are painful to watch.