This September 29th, Southwest DC’s second annual SW ArtsFest proved a great success. Overall attendance, including offerings at all ten locations, soared well above 10,000, a huge increase over SW ArtsFest 2011. SW ArtsFest 2012 formed part of Art4All DC, a six-week autumn arts celebration across DC’s four quadrants.

SW ArtsFest 2012 started in the morning at three neighborhood churches, with Christ United Methodist’s weekly farmers’ market, Second Union Baptist’s flea market, and St. Augustine Episcopal’s annual End-of-Summer Fair.

Across the community, momentum built throughout the day.

The first-ever SW ArtsFest Central Art Market featured a dozen vendors and six hours of performances, ranging from Indian, Panamanian and American folk music to Middle Eastern dancing and mime. In the middle of the day, led by the Washington Nationals’ favorite mascot, Teddy, dozens of decorated bicycles raced through the neighborhood to the Central Art Market – with Teddy as the winner, four days before his landmark victory in the Presidents’ Race at Nationals Park. At the market, after his bicycle finished first, Teddy helped auction off rare Nationals memorabilia, including a ball signed by second baseman Danny Espinosa and a bat signed by rookie outfielder Bryce Harper.

Midday also saw popular highlights return from SW ArtsFest 2011. Scores of hand dancers formed a flash mob on the plaza outside Arena Stage. Inside, so many hand dancers, from pre-schoolers to seniors, crowded the Ammerman Rehearsal Hall that for five hours they exceeded the hall’s seating capacity by 50%.

Meanwhile, crowds swelled both of Carolyn Crouch’s informative neighborhood walking tours, “Renewing Urban Renewal” and “Southwest Waterfront: From Watermen to Wreckers to ‘The Wharf.’”  At the Wharf, thanks to Hoffman-Madison Waterfront, kids and adults enjoyed live music while making nearly 200 sock puppets. And at Westminster Presbyterian Church, the 11th Annual DC Jazz Preservation Festival saw so many new and returning patrons that Westminster broke its all-time record for food sales.

Thanks to George Washington University’s Documentary Center and to the DC Shorts Film Festival, after its farmers’ market Christ United Methodist Church screened 11 new films. Among them, the animated “Why Do We Put Up With Them?” amusingly explained the longtime love affair between humans and dogs. “A Night at the Office” warned of the dangers – real and imagined – of working late. “The Bench” told of class struggle on a park bench. And “Friend Request Pending” – winner of the DC Shorts Audience Favorite Award – depicted pitfalls faced by two well-aged women who try through social networking to woo the local choirmaster.

SW ArtsFest 2012 climaxed at Nationals Park, with a scoreboard simulcast, from the Kennedy Center, of the Washington National Opera’s production of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.” One of the greatest operas ever composed, “Don Giovanni” weaves the story of the legendary rake Don Juan into a comically lighthearted, yet deadly serious, musical masterpiece.

The SW ArtsFest board of directors will meet soon to start planning SW ArtsFest 2013. To learn how you can help with SW ArtsFest 2013, email or call 202-320-0286.

By the Organizers of SW ArtsFest

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