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Art All Night in Shaw Drew Record Crowds

Accompanying images can be viewed starting on page 1 of the October 2019 issue pdf

By Alexander M. Padro*

Almost 30,000 people flooded the streets and alleys of Shaw for eight hours on the night of September 14th, when Shaw Main Streets presented its eighth annual Art All Night festival in the neighborhood. This was the highest turnout in any neighborhood since the festival debuted there in 2011 (There was no event in 2012.). Starting at 7:00 p.m., 23 venues throughout Shaw, ranging from outdoor spaces and government buildings to businesses, were activated with visual art displays, performances, dance parties, and opportunities to create art on the spot.

Spectacles included professional wrestling matches presented by Capital Combat Championship Wrestling on a ring in front of the Howard Theatre; fire performances by Pyroxotic and Jennifer Shannon at the Shaw Art Market; a parade along 7th Street led by the Batala Washington drum corps; the Tai Yim Kung Fu Chinese lion dancers in Blagden Alley; a “Futuristic Black Bourgeoisie” fashion show with live classical music at the Wanda’s on 7th hair salon; live painting Brush Battle competitions at the art market; and projections by internationally-renowned anti-Trump video artist Robin Bell in Blagden Alley and at the Shaw Art Market.

Hundreds of festival-goers created their own paintings and crafts at the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library and Urban Athletic Club, and even got to paint on performance artist Shanna Lim’s body when she served as a human canvas outside the library.

Other DIY art activities included painting a glow-in-the-dark mural on the grounds of the Apple Carnegie Library on Mt. Vernon Square and drawing on postcards created for the event by Beau Thai to celebrate a new mural being painted at the restaurant that weekend.

The DC Housing Finance Agency building drew huge crowds for dance parties and a variety show hosted by Rayceen Pendarvis, complete with live music, poetry, comedy, and burlesque acts. Grammy-nominated HipHop artist Christylez Bacon and a Marvin Gaye tribute by Bee Boisseau headlined the Shaw Art Market stage. Malik DOPE Drummer and Davey Yarborough with youth from the Washington Jazz Arts Institute anchored the Shaw Community Center’s lineup at the former Lincoln Temple.

No Kings Collective, Hen House and JAB converted a large, high-ceilinged yet to be leased retail space at the new Perla condominium into Triptych, featuring the work of 20 visual artists along with art installations and an all-night dance party.

People lined up to get their pictures taken by a mobile photo booth in front of Lisa Marie Thalhammer’s rainbow “Love” mural in Blagden Alley’s DC Alley Museum. Businesses that are not normally open on Saturday nights participated, included Seylou Bakery, which opened a window on Blagden Alley to serve fresh baked pizza to festival-goers until midnight, and Lee’s Flower and Card Shop on U Street, which hosted artisans, a DJ and floral demonstrations. Both are now considering staying open on Saturday nights as a result of the sales they generated that night.

Other participating businesses offering art and entertainment included Calabash Tea House & Café, all three Compass Coffee locations, Dacha Beer Garden, Grand Cata Latin Wine Shop, Lost and Found, the Passenger, and the Shop at Shaw.

Other participating businesses offering art and entertainment included Calabash Tea House & Café, all three Compass Coffee locations, Dacha Beer Garden, Grand Cata Latin Wine Shop, Lost and Found, the Passenger, and the Shop at Shaw.

*The writer, a long-time Shaw resident, is Executive Director of Shaw Main Streets and a 10-term ANC Commissioner representing central Shaw.

Copyright © 2019 InTowner Publishing Corp. & Shaw Main Streets, Inc. All rights reserved.