Shaw Streets – September 2017

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Artists work on new murals in Blagden Alley. Photo: Pleasant Mann

Shaw Celebrates President Obama’s Birthday
Over 150 people gathered on the evening of Aug. 4 to celebrate former President Barack Obama’s 56th birthday. The commemoration was held at the Cornerstone, a new outdoor event venue at 625 T St. NW, across the street from the Howard Theatre. Attendees could take selfies with life-sized cardboard figures of the former president and First Lady Michelle Obama. A large crowd lined up to sign a huge birthday card that will be sent to Obama, congratulating him on his birthday. Free red-white-and-blue frosted cupcakes were distributed, along with matching Italian ices from Rita’s.

A high point of the night was when Obama impersonator Larry Graves arrived to shake hands and take photos with the attendees. Dancing started when DJ Black Santa, who took the moniker DJ Black President for the night, manned the turntables. The evening concluded with a screening of On the Potomac Productions’ video “Believe: The Barack Obama Story.”

Neighborhood restaurants, including CAVA, Capo Italian Deli, HalfSmoke, Kiss Lounge, Pizza D’Oro, Right Proper Brewing, and Shaw’s Tavern, offered Obama-themed food and beverage specials for the night. The event was hosted by Shaw Main Streets and T Street Development.

Shaw Goes Back to School
Things are looking up in Shaw as the community’s children head back to school. It was announced that Shaw’s Seaton Elementary School saw a 7.1 percent rise in its English language PARCC test scores, with scores in math rising 6.6 percent over the previous year’s – improvements that were greater than the average for the city’s schools.

Hundreds of backpacks donated by Douglas Development were given out by Shaw Main Streets to students at apartment buildings including Foster House and Lincoln Westmoreland Apartments. The Friends of Kennedy Playground and Springfield Baptist Church also distributed backpacks at back-to-school events.

Best in Shaw Dog Show
The inaugural Best in Shaw Dog Show will take place on Saturday, Sept. 16, at the New Bethany Baptist Church parking lot, 1315 10th St. NW (between 10th and Naylor Court). From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., neighborhood canines will be judged in eight separate categories, culminating in an award for best in show, which comes with a $750 cash prize! To register your dog for the contest or to buy tickets for the event, go to www.BestInShaw.com. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to DC-based animal charities Lucky Dogs Animal Rescue and PETS-DC.

Shaw History Tours, Sept. 17
Curious about Shaw history? The popular two-part walking tour “Shaw: Where DC Comes Together” returns on Sunday, Sept. 17. The first part of the tour starts at 10 a.m. and features the southern half of central Shaw, an area that once consisted of woods and a few farms. As the area grew, notable historic figures came to live and work in lower central Shaw, including explorer John Wesley Powell, African-American US Senator Blanche K. Bruce, and historian Carter G. Woodson. The tour will include visits to view selected historic interiors.

The second part of the tour, covering northern Shaw, starts at 1 p.m. and focuses on the neighborhood’s reputation as a destination for entertainment, including the Howard Theatre, where every star in the black entertainment pantheon performed, and the pool hall where Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington decided to become a musician. Other highlights include two sites in Shaw that hosted baseball teams, renovated movie theater buildings, and the city’s first African-American YWCA.

“Shaw: Where DC Comes Together” is part of Cultural Tourism DC’s annual WalkingTown DC program of historic tours. It will be led by Shaw Main Streets Executive Director Alexander M. Padro and presented by Shaw Main Streets. The tours are free, but participants should register at the Cultural Tourism website (www.CulturalTourismDC.org).

Art All Night in Shaw Coming on Sept. 23
Shaw will hold its sixth annual Art All Night DC festival starting Saturday night, Sept. 23. Supported by the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Art All Night will showcase the local art scene and neighborhood businesses in six areas of the city, from 7 p.m. until 3 a.m. on Sunday morning.

In Shaw, Art All Night will feature hundreds of artists and performers at over 30 indoor and outdoor locations along Seventh and Ninth streets NW. Highlights include the #loveshaw parade, led by the Batala Washington drum troupe and a jazz band; live outdoor and indoor music performances; fire performers; an outdoor art fair; a mixed-media experience at the Wonder Bread Factory curated by No Kings Collective, including 2-D art, projections, performance art, and music; dance performances; do-it-yourself art; face and body painting; popup dance parties; glow-in-the-dark swag; and all night Happy Hours and other specials at neighborhood restaurants and bars.

Details are available at www.artallnightdcshaw.com and the ArtAllNightDCShaw mobile app, available from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

DC Alley Museum Festival
Sept. 23 and 24 will also be the dates of the DC Alley Museum’s Alley-Oop Murals and Music Festival. The Alley Museum, which consists of the murals on walls and roll-down gates in Shaw’s Blagden Alley, in conjunction with Shaw Main Streets, will hold a free two-day festival that begins during Art All Night, with music, projections, and more. The next day, on Sunday afternoon, there will be a dedication ceremony for a series of newly created murals, plus films, music, a yoga class, and family activities. Supported by funds from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the festival will feature murals by Bill Warrell, Lisa Marie Thalhammer, Rozeal, Aniekan Udofa, Cita Sadeli Chelove, Stephen E. Lewis, Craig Nelsen, Kelly Towles, Billy Colbert, and Wayson R. Jones. More information is available at www.dcalleymuseum.com.