Alexandra Banks, Howard University News Service
Washington, D.C. shone light on its underground visual and musical artists at the District’s very first Flower Bomb Festival. Visual artist, muralist, designer and D.C. native, Chris Pyrate, teamed with Pabst Blue Ribbon sound society to curate the unique underground festival which showcased local artists. The festival took place on Saturday, August 31, 2019 at Washington, D.C.’s Dupont Underground, located under Dupont Circle and aimed to unite the underground artistry scene.
Underground is a term used to describe unconventional forms of art that are not popular in the art world.
The origin of Go-go music is no stranger to artistry. Boasting musicians such as Chuck Brown, Wale, Ari lennox, Ginuwine, Tank and Amerie, D.C. has had a solid history of honing talent. However, depending on where you live in the city, the underground, described as unconventional forms of art, visual art scene may not be as prominent or easily available to the public.
“I’ve been gone for a bit so I feel like I have a different perspective on what the city has, a lot of people take it for granted,” said Pyrate.
Pyrate, curator of the festival, believes his hiatus from the city has provided an outside perspective that has allowed him to bring together the city’s local talent in a way that represents its creative nature.
He believes that the city has all of the elements to promote the creativity of artists but they just needed to be brought together under one roof.
Flower Bomb Fest began with a panel discussion on marketing and public relations in entrepreneurship hosted by GIRLAAA, an art and music collective catered to women of color.
The panel featured Howard alumnae Imani Pope-Johns, CEO of Influplexity PR, Morgan Davis, CEO and founder of Distinctly Creative and Kelcie Glass and Vee Clark of the 1-800-GIRLAAA podcast.
“I feel like, you know, if you’re blessed enough to be able to have the experiences and gifts to help your business thrive, why not be able to share those gifts with others?” said Davis.
Davis founded Distinctly Creative, a platform catered to helping black creative entrepreneurs professionally and personally after seeing a need for professional development within black creative entrepreneurs.
“I started it out of a desire and need for spaces that were not only havens for black creatives but also places where we would be able to really understand how to leverage our business.”
After the panel followed musical performances from artists Odd Mojo and DJ Tomi, PM Aunz, Mane Squeeze and more while attendees were able to view the featured artwork as well as clothing from local designers.
Expressionist, Diego Montoya, a good friend of Pyrate’s, was encouraged to bring as much art and as many people he could to the collaborative festival. Montoya, described Dupont Underground as “One of the nicest venues I’ve ever seen” and shared his excitement and anticipation for the next Flower Bomb Festival.
The event also featured Pabst Blue Ribbon art contest winner, local artist and creative director of GIRLAAA, Trap Bob. Her work for the festival included a Go-go styled backdrop for pictures, her own artwork as well as animations that played throughout the festival.
This game changing festival is only the beginning of the resurgence of D.C.’s underground scene. The former trolley station offered a unique and literally underground venue to showcase come of the city’s most popular underground talent.