Shaw saw the eighth incarnation of its Art All Night festival on Saturday evening, Sept. 14. Art All Night, which started in Shaw in 2011, has now become a District-wide event with seven other neighborhoods joining Shaw in the late-night celebration. This year’s festival brought approximately 30,000 people to Shaw, with 23 different venues in the neighborhood participating. This was the highest attendance ever at an Art All Night activation in a single neighborhood.
Festival activities started early at the Cornerstone, the vacant lot across from the Howard Theater, with a tribute to District jazz legend Ron Holloway, complete with a presentation by DC Delegate to Congress Eleanor Holmes Norton. The biggest crowds, however, were drawn by the professional wrestling matches sponsored by Capital Combat Championship Wrestling. Hundreds were amazed by the antics of the large wrestlers and gasped at every body slam on the mat. A vogue battle took place in the ring afterwards.
Shortly after the last wrestling champion was crowned, Batala Washington, the DC female drum corps, started its performance in the neighborhood. After giving a concert in a Howard University parking lot on the corner of Seventh and T streets, Batala started the #LoveShaw parade, marching down Seventh Street with hundreds of fans until they got to the Shaw Art Market on R Street. There, at the market’s performing stage, Batala gave a final concert to close out the festival’s outdoor music for the night.
Shaw Art Market
The crowds moving through the booths of the Shaw Art Market, where more than 30 local artists were able to display and sell their works, also got to see entertainment on the stage. Musicians such as Bee Boisseau and Christylez Bacon, as well as the incendiary performances of the Pyroxotic group and Jennifer Shannon provided excitement. Entertainment was also provided by three-story-tall wall projections from video artist Robin Bell, who premiered his latest effort, “Retro Lines,” along with Creative Junk Food’s #LoveShaw animation and a 1960s-style liquid light show. Brush battles presented by the VisuEL Society and Corinto Gallery pitted painters against each other in brackets, with the winners moving on to the next stage in the competition.
Across the street at the Watha T. Daniel Library, the lower level was taken up by hundreds of people creating their own acrylic and watercolor paintings. The main level of the library was devoted to face painting and adult crafts. Outside Watha T. Daniel, performance artist Shanna “Shae” Lim became a human canvas, inviting spectators, including Department of Small and Local Business Development Director Kristi Whitfield, to paint the words and images that came to mind.
Down on N Street, Urban Athletic Club held its own amateur painting session, “Paint and Chill,” with patrons at the gym creating new masterpieces. Around the corner at the new Perla condominium, three art groups (No Kings Collective, Hen House and JAB) took over the building’s vacant ground floor retail space for Triptych, a collaboration presenting the work of 20 visual artists along with provocative art installations and an all-night dance party.
Nearby in Blagden Alley, Robin Bell presented “Retro Lights” against the blank wall of a garage, along with a laser light show in the vacant space at 920 Blagden Alley. The Tai Yim Kung Fu Lion Dancers started their performance in front of the Tiger Fork restaurant before snaking through the Calico bar and coming out again. People lined up to get their pictures taken by a mobile photo booth in front of Lisa Marie Thalhammer’s iconic “Love” mural in the alley. Seylou Bakery opened a window on the alley to serve fresh baked pizza until midnight.
At Mount Vernon Square, on the west lawn of the Apple Carnegie Library, Events DC gave wannabe artists the opportunity to paint a black-light-illuminated mural with artist Jay Coleman, to a throbbing DJ beat.
The former Lincoln Temple at 11th and R streets was the site of a stage and a set of performances programmed by the Shaw Community Center. The music ranged from jazz with Davey Yarborough to go-go with Malik DOPE Drummer, and even included the Shaw Bucket Band. “The Wizard of Shaw,” another Creative Junk Food video and a fashion show were other highlights there.
A number of Shaw businesses displayed art or had musical performances in support of Art All Night. The hair salon Wanda’s on 7th displayed paintings by Katherine Kailian and held a “Futuristic Black Bourgeois” fashion show and dance party. Beau Thai restaurant celebrated a new mural by Elizabeth Graeber, “Greetings from BEAUtiful THAIland,” while patrons were invited to draw on their own postcards, an opportunity that 500 people took advantage of.
Many Businesses Participated
Other participating businesses included three Compass Coffee locations, Lee’s Flower and Card Shop, Calabash Tea House & Cafe, Dacha Beer Garden, The Shop at Shaw, The Passenger, Lost and Found and Grand Cata.
Perhaps the hottest venue of the night was the DC Housing Finance Agency building at Ninth Street and Florida Avenue, where Rayceen Pendarvis’ Team Rayceen had a full evening of poetry, performances and music programmed. Comedy and burlesque acts performed between wild dance parties managed by DJ Green Cab and DJ Suspense. Since the District-owned building did not allow food or alcoholic drinks, there was a constant stream of patrons moving in and out of the building, with aficionados having to return to soak up the energy Team Rayceen created all night.
“Shaw shone once again during this year’s Art All night,” remarked Shaw Main Streets Executive Director Alexander Padro. “Our theme was ‘Shawtastic Voyage.’ Tens of thousands of people had a great time, hundreds of artists and performers proudly demonstrated what DC’s creatives are capable of, and our businesses saw a one-night increase in sales of as much as 45%. Mission accomplished.”
Art All Night Shaw 2019 was presented by Shaw Main Streets with financial support from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, the Department of Small and Local Business Development and other public and private sponsors and partners.