Art All Night lights up D.C. neighborhoods with live performances, art markets

Media Credit: Dean Whitelaw | Hatchet Photographer

A fire dancer from Peculiarity Productions performs at Dupont Circle for Art All Night Friday.

Art All Night, a citywide art festival, set up installations and roving art projects in neighborhoods around D.C. Saturday night.

The free event took place in eight neighborhoods including Congress Heights, Minnesota Avenue, North Capitol and Deanwood Heights from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. with participation from 100 artists.

Art All Night was founded in 2011 by Ariana Austin and Alexander Padro from the Shaw Main Streets community after a successful nighttime art festival in their neighborhood. The two organizers brought the idea of expansion to the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, which has been organizing the event for the past eight years.

In case you were asleep for Art All Night, we highlighted some of the neighborhoods’ festivities:

Tenleytown

Tenleytown kicked its night off with a parade of drummers, dragons and dance performances from CityDance Pop studio. Crowds gathered around Metro Plaza on the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Albemarle Street to watch the dancers in their purple and blue sequined costumes.

Matthew Frumin, president of the Tenleytown Main Street board, who was among the crowd making sure the performances went smoothly, said he was proud of the progress made to the annual event.

“It just grows and grows,” Frumin said. “The first year we were learning how to do it, then the next year we kind of had our legs and we knew what people liked. Now this year, we’ve been through it a number of times and have a feel for what people enjoy.”

Papier-mache and mixed media artist Scott Hunter had his work on display at the Whole Foods location in Tenleytown. Saturday’s exhibition marked his first time participating in the event.

“It gives local artists an opportunity to meet with people in the area, to be able to show their work, especially for artists who aren’t able to show their work in a gallery,” Hunter said. “I think it is also a really nice partnership with the D.C. Commission on the Arts to get connected with communities.”

Dupont Circle

From art galleries to Bolivian dancers and a “living” graffiti wall, there was no shortage of things to do in Dupont Circle with 19 events for guests to visit.

At the ArtJamz Studio on Connecticut Avenue, participants were invited to grab a brush and paint graffiti on the walls. Ruby Homan, a student at the University of California, Washington Center, stumbled upon the ArtJamz Studio after starting her night at the Peruvian Embassy.

“I really like that this is happening – amazing that so many different venues are open really late and it’s all about the art, which I love,” Homan said.

On Connecticut Avenue, artists Armin Kuljis, Leo Calisaya and Ivan Orellana displayed their work in the Miko Gallery. The group’s work has been shown all over the world from Pakistan to Italy to Houston. Calisaya was live watercolor painting outside of the gallery, demonstrating some of the techniques he used in the pieces on display inside.

“Miko is an independent movement of contemporary art,” Kuljis said. “We have another place in Mexico City and the main one is in La Paz, Bolivia. The most important thing is the artists – what they can show you.”

H Street

Neighborhoods like H Street faced significantly more foot traffic than usual during Art All Night.

Anwar Saleem, the executive director of H Street Main Street’s Art All Night, said exposure was one of the main goals for the event.

“People come and frequent some of the businesses, spend money and see what’s going on, watch the development that’s taken place,” Saleem said. “And hopefully they can come open up a business, work on H Street or live on H Street.”

For the neighborhood-wide occasion, installations and events included an interactive poetry board at Solid State Books, a blue screen installation called The Lucile and a hair model fashion show called Art of the Cut.

“The arts tell so many stories about culture, they bring people together. They teach people, it’s not just about a book, it’s about exposure, it’s about vision,” Saleem said.

Shaw

Shaw’s All-Night Art Market was the hub of the neighborhood experience. At the plaza between Seventh and R streets, artists set up shop while musicians and fire dancers captivated the constantly changing audience. Shaw’s glow-in-the-dark theme carried through multiple interactive exhibits and a lively glow parade at 9 p.m. that marched down T Street.

Local artist Ira Tattelman presented an interactive art installation at the Night Market called “Hedge,” where visitors could choose and arrange flowers on a wooden canvas. His art is inspired by the awareness of “intentional and unintentional” aspects of our environment, he said.

“On a night like this, because there are so many people around, people feel much more comfortable. They discover a neighborhood, which they might not otherwise,” Tattelman said.

Because Art All Night originated in Shaw, there is a strong foundation for the annual event. Gretchen Wharton, the chairperson of Shaw Main Streets, had little issue attracting artists and locals alike.

“What’s amazing is that it’s not a lot of work to get them to come out because of the track record of the event,” Wharton said. “We had more artists than we had space for and we had more musical artists than we had time for.”

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