Shaw Celebrates Art All Night

Batala Washington drummers drew a crowd to Watha T. Daniel Shaw Library during Art All Night DC 2013. Photo: Pleasant Mann.

On September 28, Shaw was host to the 2013 Art All Night DC festival, presented by Shaw Main Streets. Art All Night, first held in 2011, mimics Nuit Blanche, the annual late night arts festival pioneered by Paris. This year, Art All Night was limited to Shaw, but stretched over 17 venues from the Touchstone Gallery on New York Avenue, all the way to Shaw’s Tavern at 6th Street and Florida Avenue, NW. Crowds, estimated to total 15,000 people, moved up and down the streets of Shaw attending the various events.

On the 1000 block of 7th Street, NW, the former site of Alperstein’s Furniture held an exhibition of paintings by Suman Sorg and Michael Guild, with performances by a diverse set of musicians, including electric cellist Wytold and renowned local performer Christylez Bacon. The Warehouse Theater hosted eight hours of performances developed by the Emergence Community Arts Collective that ranged from Capoeira to Swing dancing, along with spoken word and poetry readings. The old Walker Thomas Furniture store at 1027 7th Street had its neon sign lit up for the first time in decades and was the site of a video projection display by Billy Colbert. A photo installation by Rosina Teri Memolo was housed in a small vacant building at the southeast corner of 7th and L Streets.

The Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library had a series of fashion presentations downstairs, while Anike Robinson provided body painting for visitors all night. Also downstairs was performance artist Shanna Lim, who merged with a camouflaged environment set up in one of the library’s conference rooms. Outside the library, La Colombe, which is opening a coffee shop in Blagden Alley, offered free samples from its vintage French coffee truck. The concert outside the library by the Batala Washington drummers collective entertained an enthusiastic crowd of about 250 people.

The hottest corner of the night was at 7th and S Streets. The line went around the block to get into Douglas Development’s recently restored Wonder Bread Factory, where the Alliance Francaise de Washington, Art Soiree, Eighty Eight DC, the Embassy of Spain and Cultural Tourism DC curated art exhibitions over three floors. Particularly striking were the video projections that appeared on the front windows of the building. Next door, on the ground floor of the United Negro College Fund’s building on 7th Street, the No Kings Collective and the District of Columbia Arts Center curated “25 at 25,” with 25 well-known District-based artists, past and present. Nearly 8,000 people visited that location, making it the busiest Art All Night venue ever. The musical accompaniment to the exhibition led to an increasingly lively party on the street as the night wore on.

Shaw businesses were flooded with customers all night, and a number of them also decided to present art. The Taylor and York Salon invited visitors to produce their own paintings, to the accompaniment of a DJ. Pekoe Acupuncture and Wellness showed works by Brian Mishoe and held a DJ-led party in the basement, attracting a total of 680 people. Kafe Bohem also had a DJ to provide music along with its exhibition of prints by Lenora Yerkes, one of the café’s managers.

First Row

Left: Electric cellist Wytold electrified the crowd at Alpersteins. Photo: Alexander M. Padro.

Center: Festivalgoers are all smiles after getting their faces painted by Anike Robinson during Art All Night DC 2013. Photo: Alexander M. Padro.

Right: Painter Suman Sorg and friends pose with some of her massive canvases at Alpersteins Furniture venue. Photo: Alexander M. Padro.

Second Row

Left: The enthusiastic crowd at Alpersteins enjoyed Christylez Bacon's human beat box and Hip-Hop performance. Photo: Alexander M. Padro.

Center: Progressive Hip-Hop artist Christylez Bacon thrilled the crowd at Alpersteins on 7th Street. Photo: Aleander M. Padro.

Right: Visitors to Craig Kraft's neon studio got a behind the scenes glimpse into the sculptor's process.  Photo by Alexander M. Padro.