Art All Night artistically takes over Wisconsin Avenue

Tenleytown and other D.C. neighborhoods celebrate the District’s creative communities with free event

Art All Night artistically takes over Wisconsin Avenue
Crowds from 2018 Art-All Night Tenleytown watching a Batalá performance

Tenleytown Main Street, a community-based non-profit organization, will produce and sponsor their fourth annual Art All Night event in Tenleytown on Saturday from 7 p.m. to midnight. 

“Art All Night is really about celebrating the District’s creative community and highlighting the diverse depth and breadth of the artistic talent in the District,” said Leigh Catherine Miles, the executive director of Tenleytown Main Street. “In Tenleytown, we fully embrace that.”

Art All Night is an annual, free overnight art festival that is presented by Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Department of Small and Local Business Development. The event takes place in eight different neighborhoods, including Congress Heights, Deanwood Heights, Dupont Circle, H Street, Minnesota Avenue, North Capitol, Shaw and Tenleytown, on the same night.

“[Tenleytown is] one of about 1,200 main streets across the country, and one of more than 18 here in the District of Columbia that focuses on revitalizing our commercial areas and our specific neighborhoods,” Miles said. “Part of that revitalization is the arts.” 

This year, Tenleytown will host over 200 artists and performers in their 19 different public and private venue spaces along Wisconsin Avenue. Each of the locations will be transformed into a pop-up art gallery or performance area. For example, Guapo’s second floor will host a flamenco dancing performance and a comedy club featuring AU students and alumni, which is run by Asteria Entertainment, a group created by AU senior Rebecca Lamis.

The idea to have an event like Art All Night was not a D.C. original, however. The event was inspired by Paris’ Nuit Blanche, a similar overnight arts festival in France, which was introduced to D.C. by Shaw Main Street 11 years ago. Tenleytown entered the list of participating neighborhoods in January 2016. The event has only grown since, with 13,000 art-lovers in attendance last year in Tenleytown alone.

While Miles said that Tenleytown’s Art All Night is for “art-lovers of all ages, of all tastes and all backgrounds,” she still offers her opinions on which events may appeal the most to college students. These include the “Art in DC/DC in Art” at Citizen Heights curation, the “Art Of A Woman” exhibit at the BOLD Center and the outdoor silent disco at the Art All Night Welcome Center in the open lot next to Tenley Bar & Grill on Wisconsin Avenue. 

Tenleytown’s Art All Night even features AU’s Katzen Arts Center as one of the 19 venues, which brings the evening close to home.

“American University is a great partner of Tenleytown Main Street,” Miles said. “The Katzen Art Center [and] the AU Museum will be open for a special after-hours showing of their early fall exhibits, and they’ll have more activities going on there as well.” 

Nicole Martin, an M.A. candidate and the marketing and publications assistant for AU’s museum, said in an email that both students and community members should come to Katzen this Saturday between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. for “make-and-take art activities, light refreshments, live music, ask-me docents to guide you through our early fall exhibitions, as well as pop-up performances from [Professor] Britta Peterson’s capstone class.” 

Beyond the Katzen Arts Center, three of AU’s a cappella groups—On a Sensual Note, Pitches Be Trippin’ and Dime a Dozen—will be performing outside Janney Elementary School between 7:15 p.m. and 8:20 p.m.  

Art All Night is free, which makes all there is to do even better. 

“It’s a fully free event, which we’re really proud of and all the neighborhoods are proud of because it means that your access to enjoy and experience and explore the arts is not determined by your economics, it’s open to all,” Miles said.  

Miles said that if you haven’t been to Tenleytown’s Art All Night, you aren’t seeing the neighborhood at its fullest.

“You can’t possibly fathom the amazing array of music, dance, art, color, vibrancy [and] energy that comes to Tenleytown,” Miles said. “We want to encourage people to come to Tenleytown and experience this neighborhood in a different way.”

Correction: This story previously reported that Main Street had 12,000 programs nationwide. It has been updated with the correct number.

smirah@theeagleonline.com

Never miss a story

Get our weekly newsletter delivered right to your inbox.

More from The Eagle