Downtowner: ‘The Stage at Union Station’  

Amid plans for a massive redevelopment of Union Station, the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation (USRC) announced a new free concert series in partnership with Sing for Hope, a non-profit that brings together community-based organizations and local artists.  

The recently launched “The Stage at Union Station” involves a weekly live music series featuring a curated selection of local performers every Thursday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Performers include singer-songwriter Heidi Martin and friends, jazz saxophonist Herb Scott and friends, and more.   

“It’s been a very positive program for the station, and we look forward to more programs like this to give people a reason to visit,” said Doug Carr, president and CEO of USRC.  

On September 19, The Stage at Union Station will be welcoming a 12-foot puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl. The puppet, called Little Amal, has traveled across 13 countries, raising awareness of the needs of refugees. Herb Scott will be performing prior to Little Amal’s arrival.  

“The Sing for Hope program at Union Station highlights the richness and diversity of D.C.’s amazing talent trove,” said Monica Yunus, co-founder and co-executive director of Sing for Hope. “Each artist brings not only their tunes and ensembles, but also their personal lived histories of Union Station and the surrounding area.” Yunus added that since each artist knows the space on a deep level, that lends an extra layer of beauty and resonance to their music-making.  

Camille Zamora, co-founder and co-executive director, said that the organization likes to call Sing for Hope an artist’s peace corps. “We believe that every person has boundless creative potential, and it’s our communal responsibility to unlock that creativity, give it wings, and let it soar,” she said. “The sharing of art, in all its forms, is a time-tested medicine with tremendous applications in a modern world grappling with parallel pandemics of isolation, loneliness, and burnout.”  

Many of Sing for Hope’s artists have gone on to big things. One longtime artist partner, Jon Baptiste, is an Oscar, Emmy and multi-Grammy Award-winner. “We bring Sing for Hope to our shared public spaces because the context of where you experience music can profoundly change you. Public sharing of art fosters and affirms community. It’s what we need right now, what the world needs,” Baptiste said. 

In addition to performance art, Amtrak announced a visual arts program that includes rotating exhibits. The program, called “Art at Amtrak,” debuts this month inside Union Station. More on the exhibit can be found here:   

Artist David Rios Ferreira poses at Penn Station in New York City with his art, “Get Carried Away, You Have the Right,” a digital print on vinyl adhesive on film. Photo courtesy of Amtrak.  

In reference to their partnership with the USRC, Sing for Hope’s music at the venue is specifically curated to enliven the architecture of the iconic Beaux Arts train station (completed in April 1908). Visitors and commuters can experience the space in an entirely new way.  

And, The Stage at Union Station is just the beginning. The USRC, in coordination with Amtrak, has implemented The Washington Union Station Expansion Project, which will expand and modernize the site. As of May 2023, an updated, nearly $9 billion dollar redevelopment plan was released. The Federal Railroad Administration laid out their vision: a transit hub with less parking, pickup and drop-off traffic below ground, and more integrated access for bikes, buses and pedestrians. The plan is slated for completion by 2040.  

More information on The Stage at Union Station can be found here. If you’re interested in learning more about Sing for Hope, click here.   









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