What’s Going On: Voices of Shaw

What’s Going on Shaw Community Portrait. Photo by Jared Soares

From September 24 to October 2, the Pleasant Plains Workshop is conducting a series of cultural events in Shaw. Called “What’s Going On: Voices of Shaw,” the series will try to reveal and celebrate the variety of cultures and traditions found within the historic neighborhood.

The first step in the project took place on August 27, when over 70 Shaw residents, property owners and businesspeople gathered together in front of the Wonder Bread Factory to take a community photo. The Shaw Community Portrait, taken by local photographer Jared Soares, illustrates the energy and diversity found in Shaw.

The next big step is the What’s Going On Launch Party on the evening of September 24, which coincides with the “Art All Night” Made in DC festival in Shaw. People will meet at the A&D Bar to get an event guide and pin, mingle with the What’s Going On artists and to check out the Art All Night events in Shaw. Saturday night will also be the start of the Portable Punctuation performance organized by Thick Air Studios, where Shaw residents will carry illuminated signs with punctuation marks to spark wonderment and fuel storytelling in the neighborhood. Passersby can use the punctuation marks to highlight a favorite building, question the name of a store, or unify a group with an ampersand.

Next, on Sunday afternoon, September 26, is Common Grounds, where performance artist Tsedaye Makonnen and a group of participants will conduct a coffee ceremony that aims to draw connections between residents and visitors and reflect the traditions of the Ethiopian community in Shaw. Monday evening, September 26, brings the “I want a president…” Workshop to Bread for the City, where artists Natalie Campbell and Saisha Grayson lead a group of voices from the community to paint a picture of who they would like to see in the White House. Tuesday night, September 27, offers the Little Salon, an experience curated to give neighborhood residents a dose of the creative talent that surrounds them. On Thursday, September 28, the neighborhood activists of ONE DC offer a Social Justice Walking tour, with long-time DC residents and organizers showing the physical side of gentrification in the Shaw neighborhood and its effects on the community.

What’s Going On winds down on Saturday, October 1, with a series of events all day, including a workshop for first-time home buyers at the Latino Economic Development Center, another Common Grounds performance by Tsedaye Makonnen, a Scattered Orchestra performance where local musicians will simultaneously play the same music from different locations in the neighborhood. The day closes with a Wrap Party at Shaw’s Tavern, where Tsedaye Makonnen conducts ReciproCITY, a ceremony honoring members of the Shaw community.

What’s Going On ends on Sunday, October 2, with a neighborhood “Sketchcrawl” by Lizzie Simpson, starting at the Howard Theater and ending at the A&D Bar. Participants will learn basic drawing techniques for capturing the neighborhood in motion, and then take an art walk around Shaw, as the group creates a visual archive of the neighborhood.

What’s Going On: Voices of Shaw is a project of the Pleasant Plains Workshop, funded with support from the DC Office of Planning and the Kresge Foundation. More information on the events for the week is available at whatsgoingonshaw.com.