We're convinced this is THE weekend to be in DC: between Crafty Bastards, #UncensoredDC, and Landmark Fest it's likely you're already game-planning stops in three out of four quadrants; factor in Art All Night and the logistics get REAL. And you should factor in Art All Night – now in its fifth year (and celebrating its second in partnership with the DC Commission on Arts & Humanities), the citywide festival takes place across five neighborhoods and features over 300 artists: you'd be hard-pressed not to stumble into Art All Night by accident, but you should absolutely be out and about on/with purpose Saturday night – there's so much that you won't want to have missed .
We were glad to have caught up with Art All night DC founder Ariana Austin this week to chat all things festival history, AAN Best Bets, and how she keeps this behemoth of a project organized (#NOTEBOOKS) – more with Ariana below, and related: we're THRILLED to media partner with Art All Night this year, and will be featuring our F A V O R I T E AAN-related images from the #aCreativeDC feed next week in a special, Art All Night edition of our homepage FEATURED gallery. So tag away!
Art All Night was centered in Shaw for its first few years – what was the response, year one? It was great! My non-profit partner was Shaw Main Streets which is a community revitalization organization. So we always had a developer/business connection built in—availability of vacant spaces to program and dining/drinking options. The very first year (2011) 15,000 people came out—we had planned for about 3000. So not only Shaw, but the [whole] city embraced the event.
CONGRATS on five years! So amazing. We'd love to hear how it all got started? Thank you! Living in Paris and attending Nuit Blanche, their massive nighttime arts festival. I loved it and wanted to bring it home. I met with a couple of people: Gloria Nauden - then director of DCCAH, and Roland Celette - then Cultural Attache at the Embassy of France. They encouraged me to find a non-profit partner, apply for a grant, and Roland drew a little diagram for me about how to structure a festival :)
And AAN is now city-wide! How and when did you start working with the Commission, and what's the breakdown of artists and venues? I think DCCAH recognized the value of the event: that it was good for artists, attendees, cultural centers, and businesses. They wanted to take it into five different neighborhood and keep the structure of the Main Streets integration. In 2014, we began all working on it together. The effort is a deeply collaborative one happening across 5 diverse neighborhoods and including more that 300 artists, 50+ venues, and 20+ cultural partners/curators.
There are neighborhood-specific lighting installations going up for AAN, and which is a first for the festival. Can you talk about each? Yes! We selected one larger project per Main Street that we hoped would be reflective of the neighborhood, and use light [in an innovative way]. We love the mash-up vibe AAN has, but wanted at least one work that felt like a must-see. Here is the listing:
Riki K, The Cube (slideshow images 1 + 2) (North Capital), Monsieur Arthur, Colored City, and Riki K, Mugen no Mori (Carnegie Library); Laia Cabrera, Aire (images 3, 4, and 5) (H Street), Tim McLoraine, Sit Stand Lie, Bayonne (Dupont), Jim Webb, Shaw Shadows (image 6) (Shaw), IIII & Ballou High School Marching Band, Nomadic Perfomance, composed by Hisham Akira Bharoocha + curated by Ken Farmer (Congress Heights)
Super excited about all, but in particular the Carnegie projection, sponsored by Citelum which is our largest project to date. And Laia’s project is presented with the Embassy of Spain. Laia has been an AAN favorite - she and her team did the lighting at the Wonderbread Factory in 2013.
Besides lighting – best bets, by neighborhood?
Dupont: Excited for The Embassy Row Hotel: Jonn Marc’s live art painting, Black Knight Events' neon black light rooftop party, Parallel Film Collective’s experimental films on The Rooftop, Tim McLoraine’s video installation. Hillyer Art Space + Projection Mapping DC’s interactive sound and light installation, music, plus a pop-up jewelry shop, a DIY activity, and three exhibitions. [special thanks to the Projection Mapping DC team for the behind the scenes photos and insight into planning and process, above]
North Capitol, curated by Art Soiree. The area is dense so it’s all right there: Live Performances, Video Art Installations, LED sculpture, Silent Disco, Live Painting, Body art and light happenings.
Shaw: Wonder Bread Factory: Lionz of Zion’s Breakdancing Competition; Step Afrika!’s interactive step show, performance, and dance party at Center City Charter School.
Congress Heights: A great line up on their main stage including Footwerk Band and Jo-Go Project, a Rooftop Fashion Show, William McKenna’s video projection, and HumanitiesDC’s HATFEST, including their Evening of Philosophy.
H Street: Art Whino: G40 x AAN: 140 artists | 30 solo muralists | pioneering light artist Vicki DaSilva | 150’ of illuminated exterior façade | DJs and Music; Gallery O on H: Site-specific art and video installations in the Gallery, plus live music, fire sculptures, video presentations in the Courtyard;
How do you stay organized, re: AAN, and who helps you make it all happen? Black Moleskins, Whiteboards, Multicolored Flair Pens :) And Alissa Maru, our operations director! I met her when Roland Celette took me to Downtown BID (where she worked full-time) to pitch the idea. She emailed me that night to tell me she was in. We’ve been working together ever since. The DCCAH team -Jeff Scott and Patrick Realiza, and of course the Main Streets who really are tasked with producing the festival at the neighborhood level and do an awesome job.
You split your time between DC and NYC – what do you look forward to whenever you're headed back this way? Catching up with close friends. Chatting with my parents over a good glass of wine. And Ethiopian food :) And what would you like to see more of in DC, arts-related or otherwise? To attract more artists through aggressive funding + housing options, and a strategic plan to highlight and/or attract people who determine value for art/artists. I’d like to see a stronger relationship between the Smithsonian and local DC arts organizations. Also, I love your blog! And hope to see more fresh takes like it highlighting creativity and innovation in the city. Thank you, Ariana!
download the full schedule for Art All Night here.