(Issue 19) Feature: Art All Night at the Howard

Article by Laquavia Alston, Photography by Russell Visions

Something exciting is happening in Washington, D.C. In the last three-five years, I’ve witnessed an explosion of talent in the arts and culture scene of D.C.

On Sept 30th, the city was buzzing with arts and creativity, the avant-garde community leading Mayor Bowser’s 2023 installation of Art All Night. It was a great night in Shaw. Reminiscent of the before times, with the spirit of collaboration fostered during the pandemic. Since 2021, An Indivisible Art Collective, Right Proper Shaw Brewpub, The Black Brew Movement and Howard Theatre have joined forces annually to show up and show out! The Historical Howard Theatre is the aesthetic and Right Proper Shaw Brewpub the venue. 

I remember my earlier days, as a young singer new to the area, getting to know DC in all its glory, making lifelong friends, not to mention some nice coin at RP Shaw Brewpub. I would daydream during my breaks about the energy vibrating and circulating the building. Rumor has it that Duke Ellington first launched his performing career in this space, in what was a dive pool bar. Duke was just a kid, a D.C native playing piano for the folks hanging out on Black Broadway. Can you imagine? We could still feel it. When I was a server at Right Proper back in 2016, the Brewpub was young, but the staff was close, artsy and business was popping. We knew there was something here to continue building on energetically. Right Proper was intentional about their employees maintaining their whimsy and fostering new ideas. In that spirit An Indivisible Art Collective (@aiacdc) was born. 

That is the undying energy that we conjure up every year during our Art All Night Block Party. I remember meeting and working with actors like Jade Jones, being impressed by this person’s talent level and comedic timing in real life. This year, we were so happy to have Jade come home for the block party. Coming right off of their Off Broadway debut in NYC, Jade added their storytelling magic to our experience! We are grateful to all performers, our incredible House Band Murphy Mast, our Sound Designer Erik Ventura (Ventura AV), Sensational Rappers Steven X, Nomad Mal and of course, the very funky Ric Lucero. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to the vision. 

New to our experience this year was a live muralist, visual artist Aundrae Williams. This brother does not play around! He is an incredible artist who knows exactly how to execute his vision. You can visit his vibrant work displayed on the streat-ery at RP Shaw Brewpub. This is all energy work from curating the sounds of the evening to curating local vendors who proudly stand by their products and represent so much of our city’s unique culture and creativity.

This year our vendors included @mytwoscents_, @dianemakesthings, @marileepurple, @kittyfoxseahorse_art, @litarodc, @talkingparrotmedia, @down2earth_pottery, and @kuzehpottery.

We cannot help but share our gratitude to all of our partners. The Black Brew movement is monumental. We look forward to their finely curated Black Beer Garden every year. Standing tall on their own and gleaming in the unwavering support we all receive from RP due to their belief in our business models, missions and success. 

Thank you to Right Proper Shaw Brewpub and the Howard Theatre for allowing us the space to create and be free. RP thanks for bringing the party to the block with the fresh grilled eats and access to your fabulous selection of beers including our very own Collective Consciousness. Stop by to see if it’s still on tap. We hope you will join us next year as we continue to celebrate the arts, Art All Night, local small businesses and our community. 

AIAC is a 501(c)3 non profit organization. If you believe in our mission statement please consider donating to our cause via cash app at $AIACollective, Venmo @aiacdc or PayPal Charity Fund. 

Laquavia Alston is a Mezzo Soprano and co-founder of AIAC and Music/Entertainment Editor at Mixed Mag.

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