The lines of excited, artsy-dressed people went from the front of retro nightclub Decades all the way down the 1200 block of Connecticut Avenue, Wednesday, Aug. 30, to launch Mayor Muriel Bowser’s “202 Creates” initiative, a month of activities to “celebrate the creative community in Washington, D.C.”
And what a community it is. “The District is number one in the country for the number of creative businesses per capita in the United States,” the mayor shouted with glee at the event’s opening. “Over 120,000 jobs have been developed and filled by creative people in the District — 1,800 just the past year. That means creative people are a big driver of D.C.’s successful small business and diverse economy.”
Dozens of creative businesses and loud vibrant music filled the three floors of space. Creative sliders and cotton candy were some of the featured food items. The crowd included cosmetologists, fashion designers, commercial artists and performers in all the arts. On the third floor, two men from House of Dubs were carefully cutting and fitting bright turquoise wrap around a tire wheel; the custom-car gallery in Laurel, Maryland, offers wrapped fenders, stripes, even whole cars that can last three to seven years.
At the other end of the crowded room, a perfectly placed blossom was carefully painted onto a bare shoulder while professional hairdressers shaved and shaped hair designs for eager attendees.
Around 8 p.m., the ever-energetic and fit mayor bounded up three steep flights of stairs to greet and pose for selfies with the crowd.
“The growth of creative businesses in D.C. could only happen because of the support of an infrastructure that encourages them,” stated Brian Kenner, deputy mayor for planning and economic development. “Mayor Bowser has made the arts a core priority of D.C.’s business development.”
“D.C. wouldn’t be D.C. without the go-go rhythms, the murals, the music and the arts everywhere in the city,” said Bowser. “Support starts early in our schools, in making affordable housing and workspaces for our creative workforce, in our summer programs for creative students to get work experience and in the development of the premier national high school for the performing arts, Duke Elliington,” which reopened Aug. 19.”
“202 Creates” events in September will include a Labor Day Weekend Music Festival, Friday to Sunday, Sept. 1 to 3, at the historic Lincoln Theatre and a family-friendly arts and cultural festival on Saturday, Sept. 9, at the Southwest Waterfront and Randall Field. The Mayor’s Arts Awards event on Thursday, Sept. 14, at the Lincoln Theatre will honor outstanding achievements in the arts, humanities and creative industries. More information about all the planned events can be found at 202creates.com.