**FILE** Terrance Barton of F&T Creative Art holds one of his pieces of art where he was set up in Ward 2 for Art All Night 2022. (Jacques Benovil/The Washington Informer)
**FILE** Terrance Barton of F&T Creative Art holds one of his pieces of art where he was set up in Ward 2 for Art All Night 2022. (Jacques Benovil/The Washington Informer)

The District’s annual event celebrating and promoting the local arts community and culture, “DC Art All Night,” is back Sept. 29-30.  In addition to the two-night event featuring free activations, foodies can tap into the new “Dine All Night,” Sept. 21 through Oct. 1, allowing local restaurants to showcase their culinary talent and welcome new customers.  

An Inclusive, Immersive Late Night Event. What’s New This Year? 

Kristi Whitfield, director of the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), said she tells people Art All Night is “the coolest party that you didn’t know the government is throwing.” 

”People come every year and don’t realize that this is a government function,” Whitfield told The Informer. The director of DSLBD  encourages all communities to take part in everything that the event has to offer. 

The art activations will begin at 7 p.m. and end at 3 a.m., each night, and will be full of opportunities to celebrate and embrace the arts and entertainment community in all eight wards of the District. Whether you’ve never attended the event, or have checked out the last 12, Whitfield explained that the event’s consistent vibrance will never die. 

She recommended that this year’s attendees step out and try something new. For instance, Whitfield said if you were in Dupont Circle for last year’s event,try out Columbia Heights this year.

With the addition of the newly added experience, DC Dine All Night,  attendees will be allowed to taste items from limited-time menus. 

Each restaurant owner has been encouraged to get creative and show off their culinary skills. All types of restaurants have been encouraged to participate, allowing each attendee to experience whatever food suits their unique palette. 

The event was created to help struggling businesses, post-pandemic bounce back and attract new customers. 

‘Owly’ Artist Competition, Embracing the District’s Urban Landscape

The winners of the newly added “Owly” Artist Competition” have also been announced and published on the DC Art All Night website. The competition invites local artists to participate in creating artwork that embodies the event’s Art All Night Owl theme and connects it to the city’s urban landscape. 

 This year’s competition theme also ties into the District’s effort to reinforce its commitment to supporting local businesses.

Winners of the competition received a ticket to the 2023 Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington RAMMYRammy Awards, where their submission was showcased, a $500 stipend, and recognition and exposure on the official Art All Night website.  

What Lies at the Heart of Art All Night 

In order to organize activations and acts for the nights, Whitfield explained planners go to the community for ideas. 

“Listening to the voices of every neighborhood, about the things that they think would be fun or interesting is,” Whitfield said, at the heart of Art All Night. 

Whitfield told The Informer the event embraces the importance of engaging with the creative economy and defines the importance of “[bringing] that energy and vitality into commercial corridors,” to foster “[new] perspectives and conversations” between community members.  

The bounds of Art All Night are limitless, with the lineup reported to include a wide range of activations, including painting, performing arts, photography, fashion, music, poetry and more.  

While the list of events will drop  a week before the event, future attendees are encouraged to take the time to explore last year’s lineup, which attracted over 180,000 participants. 

Whitfield also shared that while the experiences this year will differ, some events will remain consistent with things like go-go  and  fire dancing that take place in Dupont Circle. The art event embraces D.C. traditions, while also being sure to highlight  the city’s constantly evolving culture and community. 

Art All Night is a way of bringing about crucial conversation and connecting communities, Whitfield explained. 

“Art in itself has a position and art draws conversations that have a lot of social underpinnings,” Whitfield told The Informer. “These events create a space to unwind, try new things, meet new community members, and embrace D.C. culture so whether you want to taste, explore, or both, it may be worth it to give this year’s event a try.”

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