Art All Night: The Art of Chocolate City

Art All Night in Congress Heights featured a variety of artists and their artwork that displayed the culture and lifestyle of Southeast D.C. Photo by Jacinth Jones

The heart of the District is located at the intersection of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenues. This was evident at the free overnight arts festival, Art All Night.

The African American community of Southeast, D.C. saw it fit to put on a show. Bringing in musicians, painters, photographers, dancers and poets the event showcased over 200 artists as a way to appreciate raise awareness to the city’s culture, art and identity.

Home to many local artists in the city, Congress Heights is known to be the epicenter of the black arts movement. The area significantly contributes to Washington D.C.’s own cultural renaissance fostering a community through art.  

Congress Heights Arts & Culture Center was the social and cultural hub for many vendors. Musical performances, rap cyphers, spoken word, silent disco, and a midnight brunch were among the many things that kept patrons entertained and intrigued throughout the all-night affair.

Multidisciplinary designer James June appreciated Mayor Muriel Bowser’s venture to celebrate D.C. creatives and preserve black art in the community.

“It was an amazing hub of innovation and creativity that showcases the real D.C.! The festival in Congress Heights really highlighted the essence of D.C. culture and life. It was really beautiful to see so many black people each other this evening,” said June.

He continued.

“The range of art that was displayed was phenomenal. You go from the Go-Go stage to miniature fashion shows to mural exhibitors, disk jockey sets, dance performances and so much more. The environment was very inclusive of all art forms. And of course, the overwhelming appreciation for black art and black people that you simply do not get in Northwest and Northeast.”

Musician Dominique Lee had similar sentiments. A drummer for a neo-soul band, N The Moment, Lee used the event to connect with other local artists.

“We definitely made some connections for sure. Passed out a few business cards, so I think it went really well for us. The festival was a huge opportunity for us to network with  many artists. If we had not attended, there would have been several missed opportunities for us to potentially collaborate with musical acts.

Although N The Moment did not perform, Lee says that whenever the group plays, “the aim is to provide a safe environment where people can enjoy black culture.”

For many people, Art All Night in Congress Heights was just that–a culturally impacting and immersive event. An event that takes one back to the heart and soul of D.C.