Portraying Petworth event title poster

On November 18, 2023, the Humanities Truck attended Celebrate Petworth Day. The Truck team’s project for this event was entitled “Portraying Petworth.” Director Dan Kerr, graduate fellows Daiki Tsumagari and Inaya Rivera, and community fellow Angie Whitehurst, invited event goers to contribute to a community college and to provide oral histories on their experiences in the Petworth community.

 A mapping activity entitled Portraying Petworth was set up that invited people to fill out prompt cards, which were then connected to a corresponding point on a map of Petworth. The prompts on the prompt cards that made up this mapping activity included: “our group portrait in Petworth…,” “my self-portrait in Petworth,” “my favorite place in Petworth is…,” “in the future I hope Petworth…,” “a place I remember in Petworth,” “this happened in Petworth,” “Petworth has changed…,” and “Petworth is…” The majority of the prompt cards were filled out by children, who are often drawn to the opportunity to draw pictures. Many of these prompt cards nevertheless show the neighborhood, in picture form, through the eyes of the children who live there. Some adults also contributed to the prompt cards alongside their children.

Check out People's Favorite Places in Petworth!

Interviews from Celebrate Petworth 2023!


Graduate fellows Daiki Tsumagari and Inaya Rivera conducted 16 interviews during the event with Petworth residents both young and old. Some of the residents had lived in Petworth their entire lives, some had lived there for several years, and some were new to the neighborhood, but all the residents expressed how much they loved the Petworth neighborhood and community. Many of the interviewees expressed how much the neighborhood feels like a community. They can sit on their porches, work in their gardens, or walk down the sidewalk and see and speak to their neighbors. Many interviewees mentioned how many restaurants and shops were in the neighborhood, especially on Upshur Street. One of the questions that the interviewers asked was “in your experience, how has Petworth changed over time?” Many who have lived in the area for a long time said that the neighborhood has become much safer, and most who have lived in the area for a while said that the community has become more diverse–the neighborhood used to be majority Black and now has more white, Hispanic, and other ethnicities living there as well. When asked if anything has been lost or gained by the changes to Petworth over the years, many interviewees how many older residents and local businesses have been lost, although, at the same time, new businesses and younger families have been gained. Another common thread amongst many of the interviewees was the housing costs in Petworth. Many people spoke about how rising housing costs pushed out many of Petworth’s older residents and limits who is able to move in and stay in the neighborhood. 

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