Mayor Muriel BowserGo-go musicians, a symphony and a performing arts group descended on a Navy Yard park today for a pop-up showcase, as part of a new program to encourage art in D.C. neighborhoods.

Teaching for Change, the Gourmet Symphony and the Atlas Performing Arts Center came to Canal Park to show off projects they’re working on for the Capitol Hill area and other parts of the District. The event launched “District Innovation Zones,” which Mayor Muriel Bowser said will provide a temporary “stage for artists” at Canal Park and other locations across D.C.

“We want to open up the arts to all of the people of the District of Columbia,” she said at a news conference at Canal Park. “We want our city to be known for more than the Congress and the White House and the downtown museums on the Mall. We will make arts a signature activity in the District of Columbia.”

A group of musicians with Teaching for Change performed go-go music, while children danced nearby. Through its “Teach the Beat: Go-Go Goes to School” program, Teaching for Change aims to bring the District’s homegrown music genre to history, language arts and music classes in Ward 6 and other portions of D.C., said Deborah Menkart, the group’s executive director.

Across the park, members of the Gourmet Symphony played near a table of Italian food. The group is working with local social service groups to bring live chamber music to the District’s homeless when they eat.

Atlas Performing Arts Center representatives also showed examples of mobiles it will use in a installation that is set to go on display in September. The organization is looking for the public to help it make more than 50 mobiles for the project.

To help create the mobiles, the arts center will have workshops in its space on the H Street corridor, as well as D.C. community centers and schools.

“We look at these mobiles as a great metaphor of many different parts coming together to create a new whole,” said Douglas Yeuell, the organization’s executive director.

Teaching for Change, the Gourmet Symphony, the Atlas Performing Arts Center and other organizations received grants for their projects earlier this month through the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities.


Dan Finnegan (Photo via’s a shame to eat organic, locally sourced food off of factory-made plates.

That’s a message that should motivate farmers market regulars to attend a ceramics show in Capitol Hill soon, organizer Dan Finnegan said.

The Pottery on the Hill Show and Sale, scheduled at the Hill Center for Oct. 31 through Nov. 2, aims to show locals how useable art adds the same “little richnesses” to life that fresh produce does, Finnegan said.

“Young people are really behind the local food movement, but they’re serving all the local food on Ikea plates,” he said.

The ceramist — who makes wood-fired stoneware on the Fredericksburg farm of Hill Center board members Nicky and Steve Cymrot — said the show in its third year will present work by 16 artists from across the country. The dishes, bowls and more will cost from $20 to about $1,000 each, Finnegan said.

Attendees can expect to see work ranging from the mugs with colorful bicycle images that Arlington resident Stacy Snyder makes, to Japanese-inspired designs by Warren Frederick.

Finnegan, 59, said he thinks handmade ceramics will grow in popularity among people who appreciate “a certain romanticized lifestyle.’

“Think about how often you hold a mug in your hand,” he said. “You put it to your mouth, you caress it with your hand. When you’re doing that with a handmade piece, there’s a little bit of magic.”

The free show and sale will be held at the Hill Center (921 Pennsylvania Ave.) Saturday, Nov. 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 2 from 12 to 4 p.m. A preview reception will be held Friday, Oct. 31 at 6 p.m. Reception tickets cost $25 each in advance and $30 at the door.


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