Cleveland Park Main Street (CPMS) Volunteer James (Jim) Arvantes is a Renaissance Man. Native to the DMV, Jim grew up outside DC in a quiet Virginia neighborhood full of incredibly bright and interesting people. Jim briefly left the area to attend college in Boston at Boston University. In 2000, he moved to Cleveland Park. He was drawn to the neighborhood because of its walkability and overall friendly residents. Additionally, he loved the proximity to the commercial strip with its array of vibrant restaurants and retail. Cleveland Park felt then like a village, a welcoming, quiet place to live and has continued to feel this way.
Jim spends his days teaching, writing and occasionally taking photographs. Overall, his first love is writing. As a contributing member of Value Penguin, he writes about healthcare policy and healthcare programs such as Medicaid, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act. As a CPMS volunteer, he has written numerous articles about the various Tuesday Talks speakers – a monthly lecture series featuring some of the most fascinating people in Cleveland and Woodley Parks. He enjoys writing because it is a creative outlet for his self expression and an enjoyable way to retell the stories told by someone else. He has even written a few short stories.
Jim currently teaches in the DC Public School system as a substitute teacher. He enjoys connecting with young people and sharing his love of American history with them. His specialty areas are mainly within the 20th Century and he thoroughly enjoys learning and teaching about the Civil War. He fell into photography during his previous career in writing about health care. One day, his boss handed him a camera and instructed him to take photographs of President Barack Obama at the White House during the debate over health care and the Affordable Care Act. Jim had no experience taking photographs and he took his first assignment very seriously. He hired another Cleveland Park resident to teach him photography and found that he really enjoyed it.
He began volunteering with the Cleveland Park Business Association mostly photographing Tuesday Talks speakers and writing corresponding articles about the talks. The writing portion of his volunteer job became very meaningful for him during the pandemic. The Business Association dissolved, Cleveland Park Main Street was formed, and Jim has been here, documenting as much of it as possible. The best part of volunteering for him has been meeting many interesting and kind people, doing positive things for the Cleveland Park community. With Jim’s valuable assistance, CPMS has been able to share the fun and most interesting portions of Cleveland Park and our residents with the greater community.
A selection of Jim’s photos: