Facts About KCDC
What It Is
Knowledge Commons DC (KCDC) is a volunteer-run, free school that holds classes throughout the D.C. area. Anyone can teach classes, and anyone can take classes.
Clarify “volunteer-run” and “free.”
No one gets paid to teach, organize, or host classes. No one pays to take classes, except for the occasional materials fee.
Number of classes:
- 830 classes between June 2011, our first session, and February 2017.
- The June 2011 session had 22 classes.
- Our winter/spring session will clock in at between 40 and 60 classes (schedule not yet finalized).
Number of sessions: So far, 17 full-length sessions of four to six weeks each, and seven “intersessions” — one- or two-week sessions that often have themes (espionage, journalism, and “green” are three). We hold three full-length sessions per year.
Number of students served: The lowball estimate is around 5,000 students. Our record-keeping in earlier sessions left much to be desired, so the total could be as many as 9,000 students.
Number of teachers: 438 so far.
Number of locations used: 264 and counting.
Number of organizers: 15. The organizing group is known as the “Wonder Dojo.”
KCDC does not have a headquarters. We hold classes wherever nice folks will let us do so for free — churches, stores, restaurants, people’s homes, etc. We have a partnership with D.C. Public Library, so we hold many classes at various branches. See some of our other space partners here.
In January 2013, we had a temporary space in an apartment above City Bikes in Adams Morgan. It was called Above the Bike Shop.
In fall 2015, we ran a pop-up space through StorefrontsDC, a transformative initiative that activates vacant spaces and increases foot traffic in Washington, D.C., neighborhoods through an infusion of cultural projects. Led by CulturalDC, StorefrontsDC was supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and the Ron Abramson Family Foundation. KCDC’s space was generously donated by The Menkiti Group.
Our target audience is everyone. All age groups are welcome, although we make exceptions for classes involving alcohol or containing adult material.
KCDC originated as a social practice project (an art project that aims to create social change), facilitated by a group of local artists and arts professionals. The first session, in June 2011, was supported by a National Endowment for the Arts grant through the Honfleur Gallery and ARCH Development Corporation. Read more about our history here.
We receive a steady stream of class proposals from new teachers; we invite successful teachers to return; and we recruit new instructors for content requested by students. Some instructors are experts or professionals, while others are hobbyists or enthusiasts.
Most popular class: Lock-picking. We don’t offer it anymore, as the teacher left the area.
This page was updated February 19, 2017.