Eat.Drink.Shaw. Hits the Howard Theater
Shaw Main Streets held its annual celebration of neighborhood eating and drinking on the night of April 24 at the Howard Theater, where 300 guests sampled the best that Shaw has to offer.
Among the Shaw restaurants and bars participating were The Dabney, a Michelin-starred restaurant, along with Michelin-listed Chercher, Convivial, Espita Mezcaleria and Supra. Eventgoers were also able to sample the offerings of newer Shaw establishments such as Green Almond Pantry, Capital Burger, Mason Dixie Biscuit Company, Nicecream, Po Boy Jim’s, Roy Boys and Zeppelin. There was also a stand for Yogi Gogi, a new purveyor of Korean chicken opening soon at the Shay.
Entertainment for the night was provided by Christylez Bacon. The Grammy-nominated DC performer gave the crowd an extended performance of his quirky songs about life in Washington. He was followed by Bee Boisseau, a keyboard-based jazz fusion trio.
After Gretchen Wharton, chair of the Shaw Main Streets board, welcomed the crowd and introduced her fellow board members, brief remarks were offered by Shawn Townsend, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture, and Kristi Whitfield, of the Department of Small and Local Business Development. Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau closed the event by noting how important Shaw Main Streets has been to the community and saying how much she enjoyed Eat.Drink.Shaw. as well as similar events in past years.
Banneker Project Tries to Bulldoze into Shaw
Mayor Muriel Bowser’s plans to seize the Shaw Junior High School site to build a new Banneker Academic High School last November immediately inspired a Save Shaw Middle School campaign. The organizers argue that the site should be used instead to build a new middle school. They have held rallies, started a yard sign campaign, launched an online petition that has obtained nearly 1,700 signatures and obtained resolutions from advisory neighborhood commissions and community organizations. Save Shaw Middle School members have also lobbied and received some support from councilmembers. Neighborhood parents presented Shaw’s case before Mayor Bowser in March, but the administration has not responded with an offer to address the problem caused by the Banneker proposal.
Amid the controversy, the Bowser administration is trying to accelerate the implementation of plans to bulldoze the old Shaw Junior High School. DC Public Schools (DCPS) has announced that it has awarded a design/build contract for the new school to the team of general contractor MCN Build and architectural firm Perkins Eastman DC.
The April 24 meeting of the Banneker School Improvement Team revealed plans to put up a construction fence around the site beginning on May 15. The fence will exclude the Shaw Dog Park and the Shaw Skatepark to allow the public to continue to use these facilities. The Old City Farm and Garden Center will have to vacate the site by May 31.
On the evening of April 25, Shaw parents and residents convened at Garrison Elementary School for the last scheduled meeting with DCPS to determine the future of a middle school for the neighborhood. The session started with Eugene Pinkard, chief of school design and continuous improvement, trying to explain that the Cardozo Education Campus, a potential destination for Shaw middle-schoolers, would be given resources to put it on a path to improvement. The audience did not give the statement much credence, given that Cardozo is at the bottom of current school ratings and has been considered an unsuccessful school for the past six years.
Then Claudia Lujan, DCPS deputy chief of school planning, presented the current status of analysis. She said that the optimal size of a DC middle school would be 500-600 students and that the estimates of the potential middle school population in the Shaw area fall just below this threshold. A parent expressed doubts about Lujan’s objectivity, given that she is on the board of a charter school that would be in direct competition with a new Shaw middle school. The fact that DCPS only has one middle school in the entire system with more than 500 students was also noted.
By the end of the meeting, which was joined by DCPS Chancellor Lewis Ferebee, the audience seemed to doubt that DCPS had any incentive to support the restoration of a middle school for the neighborhood. One participant, though, noted her experience in fighting to keep schools open, like Garrison Elementary, which had been marked for closure and is now considered to be successful: “If you want evidence that a middle school for the neighborhood will be successful, just look at the parents and community members in this room that will help build it.” The latest news about the campaign to save Shaw Middle School is on Facebook and Twitter at #SaveShawMS.
Profs and Pints Comes to Shaw
Profs and Pints, a new series of events encouraging the discussion of modern ideas in comfortable settings, is coming to Shaw. The next session, “Meet the Real Indiana Jones,” will be led by American University professor Justin M. Jacobs at the Cambria Hotel (899 O St. NW), at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 16. Admission is by an advance ticket through www.profsandpints.com.
Art Market Returns to Shaw
Shaw Main Streets announced that its Shaw Art Market, which operated at an indoor location in 2014-15 as a venue for vendors of art, crafts and fashion, will present an outdoor market at Parcel 42, the vacant lot on the northeast corner of Seventh and R streets NW, every Saturday starting June 1. The market will be managed by ArtRave, which operated the Shaw market previously and presents a market on Saturdays at 15th and P streets NW. More information can be found at shawmainstreets.org.