Shelf Awareness: Duende District Bookstore to Debut as Pop-Up Shop

Duende District Bookstore to Debut as Pop-Up Shop

Duende District Bookstore, a multicultural bookstore founded by Angela Maria Spring, will make its debut later this month as a pop-up shop at Artomatic, an arts festival in the Washington, D.C., area. The festival will run from March 24 through May 6 in Crystal City, Va., and the Duende District pop-up shop will be open for the duration of the festival with a soft opening March 26-30 and an official opening on March 31. Through the pop-up shop, Spring plans to create a community presence for and buzz about Duende District, with a full bricks-and-mortar location coming in the months ahead.

"The way I conceive of this pop-up is as a bookstore installation," said Spring, who has worked at both Politics & Prose in D.C. and McNally Jackson Books in New York City. "This is not a profit-driven endeavor--it's a way to make connections with the community and publicize the mission of Duende District, which is to empower and lift people of color into positions within bookstores that we do not usually occupy...and create a delightful, welcoming bookstore experience for all people."

The pop-up shop will have about 180 square feet of selling space, with most of its inventory consisting of art books, CDs, graphic novels, poetry, fiction and children's books by Artomatic participants carried on a consignment basis. A small portion of the stock, meanwhile, will be books unaffiliated with the festival, mostly by people of color. Spring expects to have a core staff of around 5 volunteers, though at the moment Duende District is mostly just her and Josh Levi, who used to be the assistant music buyer at Politics & Prose.

"He's a brilliant book and music buyer and talented graphic artists and musician," said Spring. "I'm beyond excited to have him on board."

Duende District will host events throughout the festival, including a series of podcasts and filmed discussions with local writer and illustrators. Other events are also in the works and will be collaborations between Duende District and Artomatic's literary coordinator. Though the scheduling work is ongoing, Spring said that she has been getting an "excellent response" from publishers and other organizations. --Alex Mutter

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Angela Maria Spring