DMV 202 ARTS
Honfleur Gallery, Good Hope Road exhibit participant from Syracuse 10-9-2105. Concept is to mimic GOOGLE and make the logo dynamic and changeable to showcase local talent. Secondarily, expand the ‘Creative Economy” concept rolled out by Mayor Gray a few years ago and expand it to Maryland & VA suburbs!
Following month-long spotlights on innovation (innoMaytion) and affordable housing (June Housing Bloom), Mayor Muriel Bowser is turning to the local creative economy with a series of events under the banner of 202Creates.
The new effort is meant to “promote the artists, makers, and entrepreneurs who contribute to the District’s thriving creative industries” through a mix of festivals, trainings, and other events throughout September.
Over two years have passed since former Mayor Vincent Gray published his administration’s Creative Economy Strategy. Part of a broader five-year economic plan, the strategy document focused on boosting sectors such as arts and heritage, information and technology, culinary arts, and professional services.
As that list would indicate, the “creative economy” is broader than one might expect, and includes industries that are generally thought of as technical in nature, but which require elements of creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. The mayor’s office maintains that nearly 60 percent of District workers are employed in the creative class.
“We work with people within traditional and contemporary art and who are working in the District,” says Arthur Espinoza, the executive director of D.C. Commission on Arts and Humanities (DCCAH). “This is an opportunity to showcase creatives in the District, and September is the right time because it’s when everyone is back in the city and it’s sort of a new year for the arts.”
The D.C. Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment and the DCCAH are leading the effort. The September events take place in all eight wards and also feature opportunities for engagement between government and the creative community. During 202Creates, the District will also launch the Creative Economy Career Access Program, an on-the-job training program for District residents seeking a sustainable careers in the creative economy.
The two marquis events of 202Creates, though, are festivals. Over the holiday weekend, a series of free concerts (RSVPs are encouraged) with local lineups will play at the Lincoln Theatre for the Labor Day Weekend Music Festival. And on September 10, Canal Park will host the 202 Festival with George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic headlining. Again, the concert is free, but RSVPs are required.
A number of other happenings and events, which would have been held regardless, are also now being brought under the 202Creates banner. Those include the avant-garde Sonic Circuits festival taking place the weekend of September 9 at the Fringe Arts Space, the annual Snallygaster beer festival will be at The Yards on September 17, the DC Shorts Film Festival on September 8, and the National Book Festival taking at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on September 24.
Some of the other events that stand out include the opening of D.C. Fashion Week, taking place on September 21, the unveiling of Creative Capacity Lounge on September 28 at Blind Whino, and the 111th Street Bridge Lantern Walk on September 17.
202Creates has not been slated to occur annually, though that is a possibility if this year’s effort is successful. For now, the city is using it as an opportunity to show off a different side of the District.
“This will help us to recognize how living in a rich and diverse city like the District means to all of us,” Espinoza says. “It’s an opportunity to say, ‘This is what people who live in the District have to offer, who we are as a city, and what it means to live in the District of Columbia.'”