On Saturday, Sept. 29, Southwest DC will hold its second annual SW ArtsFest. Like last year, SW ArtsFest 2012 has the theme “Discover Southwest,” and will feature live music, outdoor art and flea markets, hand dancing, a film series, walking tours, many types of food, an outdoor art studio and much more.

Admission to everything is free.

This year’s festival also has some spectacular new features. The corner of M and 4th Streets will hold a central art market produced by Nagaa Events, a team with extensive experience organizing artistic, cultural and neighborhood festivals. Down the road in Southeast, Yards Park will host the first-ever FIGMENT DC, a free interactive family-friendly arts event. Starting at 1 p.m., SW ArtsFest and FIGMENT will co-sponsor, BicycleSPACE will organize, and Councilmember Tommy Wells will lead the Festival of Decorated Bikes: A Rolling Art Parade along M Street from Yards Park to 4th Street in Southwest. At 7 p.m., the Washington National Opera will cap the day with Opera in the Outfield, a free scoreboard simulcast at Nationals Park of Don Giovanni.

Launching on Twitter Sept. 1, SW ArtsFest 2012 will also include the Discover SW Challenge, a creative way to explore the neighborhood. To take the Discover SW Challenge on Twitter, use #DiscoverSW to track a series of clues. Weekly clues will point to different neighborhood locations. Once you discover each week’s site, you can take a photo of yourself there and tweet it or post it.

Like last year’s festival, SW ArtsFest 2012 will include events at neighborhood churches. Westminster Presbyterian will host its 11th annual DC Jazz Preservation Festival. St. Augustine’s Episcopal will hold its annual End-of-Summer Fair. Christ United Methodist will host dancing and singing, a farmers’ market and a film series. And Second Union Baptist will hold its second annual “Find the Art in the Flea Market.”

Like last year, Washington Walks will offer neighborhood walking tours, Arena Stage will host hand-dancing performances and workshops, and The Wharf (at the 7th Street Landing) will hold a hands-on outdoor sock-puppet art studio (bring a sock and some imagination).

This year’s SW ArtsFest will be part of Cultural Tourism’s Art4All DC, a six-week-long autumn celebration of the arts in Washington.

ArtsFest needs volunteers. Volunteers can fill a variety of needs, from public relations to litter patrol to security. Carolyn Mitchell is heading up SW ArtsFest’s volunteer effort. To become part of SW ArtsFest 2012, contact Carolyn Mitchell at (202) 438-1069 or carolyn.mitchell@yahoo.com.

The neighborhood can’t have a festival without funding. Contributions to SW ArtsFest are tax-deductible under federal and DC law. Make checks out to SW ArtsFest and mail to the festival at 400 I St. SW, Washington, DC 20024. You can also contribute via PayPal on the festival’s website.

For more information about specific SW ArtsFest events, see the SW ArtsFest 2012 Schedule, elsewhere on this page. For more information generally about SW ArtsFest 2012, email swartsfest@gmail.com, call (202) 320-0286, or go to www.swdcartsfest.org.

All SW ArtsFest programming is subject to change. One thing’s for sure: this year, for art at the end of September, Southwest DC is the place to be.

SW ArtsFest 2012 Schedule  (view map)

Bicycle Parade. From FIGMENT at Yards Park along M Street to 4th Street SW, 1-2 p.m. For more information or to participate, email contact@bicyclespacedc.com or call (202) 962-0125. FIGMENT DC takes place from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. For more information go to www.dc.figmentproject.org.

Central Art Market. At the northeast corner of M and 4th Streets SW, in front of Safeway, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Arts, crafts, food, vendors, and live entertainment. To participate or for more information, email info@nagaaevents.com or call (202) 681-6628.

Dance and Theater Tours. At Arena Stage, 1101 6th St. SW, noon-6 p.m. Hand-dancing performances and workshops, starting outside on the corner plaza, proceeding to the Ammerman Rehearsal Hall (Terrace Level). Also, hourly guided tours of the Mead Center for American Theater. For more information email durquhart@arenastage.org, call (202) 600-4023, or go to www.arenastage.org/swartsfest. For more information about hand-dancing, call (866) 583-0780 or go to www.nationalhanddanceassociation.org.

End-of-Summer Fair. At St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, 600 M St. SW, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Live music, arts, crafts, raffle and rummage sale, children’s activities and food for sale. To participate or for more information, email office@staugustinesdc.org or call (202) 554-3222.

Film Series and Open House. At Christ United Methodist Church, 900 4th St. SW. Farmers’ market, yard sale, choir and liturgical dancing 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Film series 2-7 p.m. To participate or for more information, email rokofages@yahoo.com or call (202) 554-9117.

Find the Art in the Flea Market. At Second Union Baptist Church, 1107 Delaware Ave. SW, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Arts and crafts, jewelry, photographs, pottery, vintage clothing, water and soft drinks. To participate or for more information, call (202) 486-1521.

Jazz Festival. At Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 I St. SW, noon-8 p.m. Annual jazz festival with crafts and food for sale. To participate or for more information, call (202) 484-7700 or go to www.westminsterdc.org.

Neighborhood Walking Tours. Leaving from Waterfront metro station, 401 M St. SW, 11 a.m. (residential Southwest) and 2 p.m. (Southwest Waterfront). 90 minutes each. For more information call (202) 484-1565 or go to www.washingtonwalks.com.

Opera in the Outfield: Don Giovanni. On the high-definition scoreboard at Nationals Park, 1500 S. Capitol St. SE. Pre-opera entertainment at 5 p.m.; opera 7-10:30 p.m. Food for sale. For more information call (202) 416-8453 or (202) 467-4600, or go to www.operaintheoutfield.org.

Sock Puppets on the Waterfront. At The Wharf on Southwest Waterfront, Seventh Street Landing, 700 Water St. SW, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Live music, barbecue, and a do-it-yourself sock-puppet art studio. For information call (202) 688-3590 or go to www.wharfdc.com.

From the Organizers of SW ArtsFest

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