Shaw Streets: Shaw, Open City

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Open Streets covers Shaw in suds. Photo: Alexander Padro

Shaw became part of the District’s Open Streets program on Saturday, June 4, when Seventh Street NW was closed to vehicular traffic for six hours from Pennsylvania Avenue all the way up to Florida Avenue. Without traffic, Seventh Street was lined with tents and kiosks from local businesses, nonprofits, elected officials and District agencies. There was yoga in the street at the Shaw Fit Zone. The Friends of the Watha T. Daniel Library held an outdoor book sale. But perhaps the most excitement on the street was the setup in front of the Kennedy Recreation Center. There was a jumbo video screen showing live gaming, a bounce house and a foam machine dumping suds on the street, to the delight of screaming children playing in the foam.

The community also took the opportunity to formally welcome two new murals to Shaw that illustrate the contemporary empowerment of women. A ceremony led by Shaw Main Streets Executive Director Alexander Padro drew a crowd to the southwest corner of Seventh Street and Rhode Island Avenue to dedicate the mural “She Got We” by Cita “Miss Chelove” Sadeli facing the crowd, and the “Together” mural on the east side of the 1300 block of Ninth Street by Maggie O’Neill, Nia Ketura Calhoun and Lisa Marie Thalhammer.

Cita Sadeli and dignitaries cut the ribbon in front of her mural “She Got We.” Photo: Todd Clark

Addressing those gathered, Kristi Whitfield, director of the Department of Small and Local Business Development representing Mayor Muriel Bowser, affirmed the importance of projects like the murals to the cultural and commercial life of the District. Similar praise came from Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto and Heran Sereke-Brhan, the executive director of DC’s Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Then Sadeli, accompanied by two models that she used for “She Got We,” related how her three-story mural was developed and its importance. Finally, O’Neil, Calhoun and Thalhammer took to the podium to reflect on the effort for their five-story high mural “Together,” which was developed after the 2017 Women’s March on Washington. Thalhammer, best known in Shaw for her famous rainbow “Love” mural in Blagden Alley, capped the comments with the observation “DC has mural fever now, but 10 years ago it was just getting started.” The dignitaries then got together to cut a ribbon dedicating “She Got We.” The group then moved down to the Sunoco gas station at 1317 Ninth Street to dedicate the “Together” mural with another ribbon cutting.

Shaw Main Streets Holds Open House June 25

Shaw Main Streets will hold its next Shaw Open House, a free event to highlight neighborhood businesses, on Saturday, June 25, from 1-5 p.m. Shaw Open House will showcase the restaurants, bars, health and fitness facilities and other exceptional retail in the portion of the neighborhood north of Rhode Island Avenue. The event was presented annually or biannually in different parts of Shaw for 15 years, until it was suspended in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Attendees should expect to see a lot of free food and beverage samples, and special offers, along with drawings for prizes from dozens of participating businesses.

One major attraction this year will be the Streetmarket set up behind the Howard Theater. Curated by Streetsense, the commercial creative collective will use its new location at the Wonder Bread Factory to set up a pop-up experience to celebrate the neighborhood, promote local product makers and businesses, along with supporting the Washington Housing Conservancy. The Streetmarket will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Shaw Open House ends at 5:00 p.m. with a close-out party and prize drawing. For more information, visit www.shawmainstreets.org.

Shaw Businesses win Great Streets Grants

DC government and small business leaders met on May 26 for the announcement of the winners of the latest round of grants from DC’s Great Streets initiative. The program invests in new and existing retail storefront businesses in 13 commercial corridors to create walkable and shoppable amenities for District residents. The Shaw businesses receiving grants were Pearl’s Bagels on Seventh Street and the Maxwell Park (Shaw) wine bar on Ninth Street. Since the initiation of the program in 2013, Shaw businesses have received Great Streets grants totaling approximately $2.5 million dollars.

Shaw was packed during Open Streets. Photo: Pleasant Mann

DC Budget Comes in for Shaw

After the DC Council passed the District budget for the next fiscal year, Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto pointed out the initiatives that benefited Shaw. The budget includes dedicated funding for staff at the Kennedy Recreation Center to support senior programming. It also commits one of the Mayor’s Violence Interruption Teams to Shaw. Funds are devoted to build much-needed restrooms at the Shaw Skate Park. The area of operations for the Shaw Main Streets Clean Team will be expanded to 11th Street. The budget also moves up the construction of the S Street Revitalization project, which will redevelop the sidewalks, infrastructure and treescape on S Street from Seventh to Fourth Street. Finally, and perhaps the most important, was the provision to create a Center City Middle School by 2028, which will fill the educational void created by the closing of Shaw Middle School in 2008.

Vote for Shaw Restaurants in RAMMY Awards

Just a reminder that some of the RAMMY awards to be given out this summer by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington will be determined by a popular vote. There are Shaw restaurants that would like your support. Nina May is up for the Best Brunch of the Year, while Cracked Eggery is nominated for Hottest Sandwich Shop. Neighborhood residents will have a hard time choosing between  three Shaw restaurants, Convivial, Kinship and Unconventional Diner, to vote for in the Splendid Holidays at Home category. The award, which has only five contestants, is given to the establishment with the best packaged meals. You can submit your vote by going to www.therammys.org. Winners of the RAMMY awards will be announced on July 24.