Washington, D.C. hosted its 12th annual D.C. Art All Night celebration September 23rd and 24th.
The festival, hosted by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the Department of Small and Local Business Development, and led by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) spanned all eight wards of the District and invited residents from 22 neighborhoods to participate in local festivities.
According to the Art All Night press release, the event is meant to celebrate many different artistic mediums.
“Art All Night 2022 is a chance for the city to celebrate the performing and visual arts. September 23 and 24, D.C. will be the center stage showcasing our city’s talent diversity,” the press release reads. “The event highlights the intersection of art and business throughout our commercial corridors, placing artists on the center stage.”
Art All Night, founded in 2011 by local nonprofit Shaw Main Streets and inspired by Nuit Blanche, is a two-day nighttime arts festival held annually in D.C. At its inception, Art All Night drew 30,000 attendees. Last year, it attracted over 120,000 residents and visitors.
Megan Lu (COL ’26), who attended the event, said it was an exciting experience.
“When I heard about it, I thought it was a really cool concept that they would open all of these art spaces for students to explore because it’s not something that people have a lot of opportunities to explore in high school, so it’s really cool that they’re doing it as a town and school thing,” Lu said.
According to the Art All Night press release, the festival hopes to revitalize cultural engagement in the District to pre-pandemic levels.
“This year’s message is simple: D.C. is open after a challenging two years during the height of COVID-19,” the press release reads. “This District-wide festival encourages residents to get excited about being back outside to enjoy the District of Columbia they know while allowing new discoveries to be made in every ward.”
Bowser, who presented the festival last week, remains excited about the future of arts in D.C. and stated that Washington, D.C. is the “capital of creativity.”
“Artists and makers across D.C. help us celebrate the history and culture of our community, and this weekend, we celebrate and honor them,” Bowser said in a press release. “When we support our creatives and their businesses, we support the type of growth and innovation that help our corridors, neighborhoods, communities, and residents thrive.”
Georgetown University participated in the festivities as well, featuring collaborations with local small businesses, art galleries and musical performers aiming to revitalize Georgetown’s local arts and cultural scene.
Al Miner, founding director and chief curator of the Georgetown University Art Galleries and associate professor at the university, said he was delighted to see the increased community engagement with local arts.
“As Director & Curator of the Galleries one of my tasks is to engage our local audience, Georgetown neighborhood residents,” Miner wrote to The Hoya. “I’m a member of a group called The Georgetown Creatives, which brings together neighborhood art-related business owners and key stakeholders. We’re trying to reinvigorate the neighborhood and make it a destination for all Washington residents.”
The university is new to this initiative, and it is only the first year that Georgetown University Art Galleries have participated in Art All Night, according to Miner.
“This was the first time our Galleries have stayed open so late, but it won’t be the last,” Miner wrote. “We did have a robust attendance for our Friday September 23rd Galleries reception, which implies our participation may have increased total attendance.”
Miner heads the Maria & Alberto de la Cruz Gallery, which held a special artist-led tour on Friday for Georgetown students, as well as an evening reception with a live performance inspired by the artist’s work.
When asked what his message about Art All Night would be to fellow Hoyas, Miner said students should look in their own backyard for arts, culture and entertainment.
“We have great things to do right in our own backyard. You don’t always need to go to The Mall to see interesting art, you don’t have to go to Adam’s Morgan or Logan Circle for fun,” Miner wrote. “Give Art All Night a try, you might discover spaces and meet people you wouldn’t otherwise.”