It’s a celebration of local art and artists in the District.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser kicked off Art Week in the Petworth neighborhood in Northwest on Monday, with the goal of bringing awareness to self-expression and reducing the stigma of crime in the area.
Bowser addressed recent violence in the District, specifically the Saturday shooting at a nightclub on H Street, and how she wants residents to enjoy themselves at community events without fear.
“I have no doubt that hearing about loss of life makes people feel less safe,” Bowser said. “But I also know that people are coming out to celebrate their city at our events and festivals, sporting events, parades and the like, so I’m going to continue to tell people to be smart and to live their life.”
Alexes Haggins, who owns Flowers by Alexes on Upshur Street in Petworth, echoed the mayor’s sentiment.
“We all know that there’s violence everywhere. But I personally don’t think that should stop us from enjoying the positive things,” Haggins said.
Haggins took over her father’s flower shop with the hopes of keeping the peace in the area. A native Washingtonian, she said it wasn’t easy to maintain a business while raising four kids as a single mother, but was “finally able to bloom in business, and I’m forever grateful.”
She said events like Art All Night “(give) small businesses like [mine] the opportunity to present our activity and share what we do.”
Amid citywide violence, Haggins wants to be a part of the solution in her community.
“It makes me feel like maybe that’s the opportunity for me to put my hands in the community and try to help make things better,” Haggins said, “Maybe, if we gave people recreational things to do that might be part of a solution.”
Bowser said this event and others like it are the heart and soul of the District.
“I think D.C. has always had a great arts and cultural scene. Now, we haven’t always been known for it, and that is what we’ve spent a lot of time focusing on,” Bowser said. “I think people are now seeing that D.C. is, in fact, cool.”
Art Week will offer residents and visitors the chance to attend free events throughout the week that celebrate D.C.’s arts and culture scene, including Art All Night, the 38th Annual Mayor’s Arts Awards and World Culture Festival.
“Art Week is a great opportunity to experience and celebrate the incredible talent of our creative community,” said Bowser in a statement. “With our annual events like Art All Night and the Mayor’s Arts Awards, and new events like Dine All Night and the World Culture Festival, there is something for everyone to experience this week.”
Art All Night, the District’s annual overnight arts festival spanning two nights — this year, Friday, Sept. 29, and Saturday, Sept. 30, from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. — will feature more than 100 local artists and more than 20 Main Streets and Business Improvement Districts.
For the first time, Art All Night will also recognize culinary arts this year, with the introduction of Dine All Night.
Dine All Night, which started on Sept. 21 and will continue until Sunday, Oct. 1, offers unique menus and experiences at more than 60 participating restaurants across D.C. You can see a complete list of exactly which local spots are involved on the event’s website.
WTOP’s Kate Corliss contributed to this report.