Nahal Tavangar / @NahalTav
About 1,200 people attended the fourth annual Cherry Blast party in Anacostia.
Trapeze artists hovered above a crowd. A band played electronic music as green lasers flashed through the room. Nearby, people created silk-screened T-shirts, a video installation played against the wall and the crowd tossed a large, clear plastic bubble filled with pink balloons in the air.
The annual Cherry Blast event on Saturday night was in many ways a creative, warehouse party. It pulled together all sorts of artistic and musical spectacles that attracted a racially diverse crowd of 1,200 willing to pay $10 a ticket to enter.
But this party didn’t happen in Northwest or near gentrifying H Street NE. Cherry Blast, produced by The Pink Line Project, took place in a vacant police evidence warehouse in Anacostia, and drew attendees largely from other parts of town, many of whom were young and white.
Anacostia has a rich history, but in recent years the neighborhood has developed a reputation as dangerous and poor, a perception that local activists have been battling. It’s a mostly black neighborhood that doesn’t typically attract many white people.
Cherry Blast comes on the heels of Lumen8Anacostia, a weekend of art events and pop-ups held throughout the neighborhood. These events have given people, who normally don’t trek east of the Anacostia River, a reason to visit the neighborhood. But in doing so, they’ve raised questions about race and class.
hellomarkers! / Flickr
This sculpture is on top of an Anacostia warehouse
The District is funding a series of art events housed in vacant spaces in downtown Anacostia. The idea behind Lumen8Anacostia
: to make use of under-used spaces, and also spark some much-needed economic growth in Anacostia. The Ward 8 neighborhood has already seen some professionals moving in
, but nowhere near to the same degree as neighborhoods west of the river.
On Tuesday, local blog Greater Greater Washington tweeted that the Lumen8Anacostia could signal “a new dawn for Anacostia” and Washington City Paper pondered whether Anacostia could be the next Williamsburg. That sparked a conversation between locals, including Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry, about gentrification, displacement, race and the arts.
Zain Shah / Courtesy of Dana Tai Soon Burgess & Co.
Katia Chupashko performs in "Becoming American," about being a Korean child adopted by white Americans.
What: Dana Tai Soon Burgess & Co. spring dance performance.
When: 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
Where: George Washington University’s Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre (800 21st St. NW).
Cost: Tickets range from $15 to $25.
Why you should go: The contemporary dance performance focuses on identity and the Asian American experience, including a piece that tells the story of a Korean child adopted by white American parents and how Asian Americans live as “hyphenated” Americans.
Courtesy of Atlas Performing Arts Center
Srishti Dances of India will perform 7 p.m., Saturday. Multi-generational artists will stories of the immigrant experience.
What: Intersections: A New America Arts Festival
When: Thursday through March 11.
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
Cost: Ticket prices vary by show, but there are 30 free performances.
Why you should go: The third annual festival, with more than 150 performances, aims to present a variety of art forms, such as music, dance and theater, that connect audiences of diverse ages, races and cultural backgrounds. Performances include youth tap dancers, live storytellers and French-Vietnamese jazz guitarists. Some shows will be followed by discussions between artists and audiences, a space that allows for cross-cultural conversations.
From Northwest to Southeast, D.C.’s public murals help tell the story of black history. Take a look at our gallery below, showcasing some of these public artworks.
Notable figures depicted in the murals include: Carter G. Woodson, considered “the father of black history;” activist and leader Malcolm X; abolitionist and writer Frederick Douglass; and poet Langston Hughes.
Some of the murals are funded by the District government, while others are privately-commissioned. There are also a few that are quite new, while others will soon disappear due to development. The gallery presents a snapshot of D.C. murals relating to black history, so feel free to post photos of other such murals in the comments section.
Daniel Lobo / Flickr permalink
This relatively new mural off of U Street NW includes imagery evoking the 1963 March on Washington, which was originally called "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom."
art around / Flickr permalink
Duke Ellington is one of Washington's native sons. This mural on U Street NW was originally near the U Street Metro Station but was dismantled and moved a few blocks down to the True Reformer Building.