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Unless you’ve been hiding under a (pretty large) rock somewhere, you know that the annual ART ALL NIGHT extravaganza is happening on September 26 (this Saturday! Is anything NOT happening this weekend?) and bigger and better than ever. With a new focus on five neighborhoods, it is definitely one of the most anticipated (and most fun) art events in our fair District. In order to get a handle on what is going on, how it is going on and what you should definitely NOT be missing, we both caught up with Ariana Austin, founder and mastermind behind the whole operation. Get ready for a VERY BUSY (in the best way imaginable) Saturday.

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(photo courtesy of Jati Lindsay)

Brightest Young Things: You are now a veteran Art All Night producer. If you had any advice for your freshman year Art All Night self, what would it be?

Protect my ideas legally, send far more thank-you’s, and be vigilant about collecting post-event data, numbers, and a proper email list.

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BYT: How is the 2015 edition of ART ALL NIGHT different from the previous ones?

We expanded last year city-wide. But this year, we just had more time to get it right. We also have 5 featured installations-one per neighborhood-produced in honor of the festival’s fifth-year anniversary. There will be an additional featured projection on the façade of the Carnegie Library.

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BYT: What is the process in organizing this year’s event? How do the participants get chosen, is there a curatorial process, are there regular meetings?

Art All Night is a large, deeply collaborative project. There are 5 Main Streets Organizations tasked with producing their respective festivals. This year, we matched curators + cultural partners with the Main Streets. We had a first-round DCCAH-led juried call. The lighting projects were a joint decision between the MS executive directors and me. We have monthly meetings with the Main Streets and Curators. From about May on, Alissa Maru, our operations director and I are in full-gear matching artists from the call to venues/spaces. After the Main Streets and lead curators (Art Whino for H Street, Art Soiree for North Capitol for example), there are lots of other venues—some of whom program themselves, some we help to program, and others we match with new curators.

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BYT: You mentioned light installations. Tell us more.

Yes! We selected one larger project per Main Street that we hoped would be reflective of the neighborhood and use light innovatively. We love the mash-up vibe AAN has, but wanted at least one work that felt like a must-see. (View the entire listing here)

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Monsieur Arthur, Colored City |Riki K, Mugen no Mori (Carnegie Library)

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Laia Cabrera, Aire (H Street)

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Tim McLoraine, Sit Stand Lie, Bayonne (Dupont)

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Jim Webb, Shaw Shadows (Shaw)
IIII & Ballou High School Marching Band, Nomadic Performance, composed by Hisham Akira Bharoocha; curated by Ken Farmer (Congress Heights)
Riki K, The Cube (North Cap)

BYT: If teleportation was an option, what would your ideal list of must-see spots & events on this weekend be? (I know it is hard to pick but…this is an important one):

Last year, we encouraged all 5 neighborhoods. This year I’m saying, pick two or three and I think you’ll have a good night. My personal picks:

Carnegie Library: 801 K St NW
Monsieur Arthur and Riki Kim’s video projections are AAN’s largest to date.
Inside: Olivia Tripp Morrow’s sculptural paintings, maya.rouvelle’s audio installation, Strathmore’s Institute Alumni’s prints, collages, paintings, digital prints, and an interactive video project. Brendan Smith’s vinyl-inspired installation and dance party.
Vaudoux Aerial Dance Theatre’s 2 hour performance at Techworld Plaza.

Dupont: Excited for The Embassy Row Hotel: Jonn Marc’s live art painting, Black Knight Events’ neon black light rooftop party, Parallel Film Collective’s experimental films on The Rooftop, Tim McLoraine’s video installation.
Hillyer Art Space + Projection Mapping DC’s interactive sound and light installation, music, plus a pop-up jewelry shop, a DIY activity, and three exhibitions.

North Capitol, curated by Art Soiree. The area is dense so it’s all right there: Live Performances, Video Art Installations, LED sculpture, Silent Disco, Live Painting, Body art and light happenings.

Shaw: Wonder Bread Factory: Lionz of Zion’s Breakdancing Competition;
Step Afrika!’s interactive step show, performance, and dance party at Center City Charter School.

Congress Heights Main Stage: A great line up including Footwerk and Jo-Go Project, a Rooftop Fashion Show, William McKenna’s video projection, and HumanitiesDC’s HATFEST, including their Evening of Philosophy.

H Street: Art Whino: G40 x AAN: 140 artists | 30 solo muralists | pioneering light artist Vicki DaSilva | 150’ of illuminated exterior façade | DJs and Music; Gallery O on H: Site-specific art and video installations in the Gallery, plus live music, fire sculptures, video presentations in the Courtyard.

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BYT: If people want to get involved what is the best way to do this?

Look for the artist call in the spring, and then there’s usually a second round in the summer by neighborhood. If you’re located in one of the neighborhoods and want to get involved, reach out to the Main Streets executive director. For overall operations, volunteers, or a venue/artist that wants to join up, Alissa Maru. For staffing, partnerships, and random requests, contact me.

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BYT: If you made an Art All Night survival kit, what would it have inside?

Cell phone back-up chargers, water, cash for coffee and bars.

BYT: What are your plans for the morning after Art All Night?

Rest! Then re-emerge in the evening for a post-AAN glass of champagne.

BYT: Any shout-outs? Anything we missed?

Shout out to BYT ☺ And all the attendees! 30,000+ last year–they always show up enthusiastic, curious, and good-looking.

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Light installation photos provided by Art All Night. All other photos from Art All Night 2014 unless noted.

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