Georgetown Current

Georgetown to Light Up For the Holiday Season

November 30, 2017

By Grace Bird
Current Staff Writer

Georgetown is set to showcase nine illuminated art installations in the neighborhood this holiday season starting Dec. 8. The annual monthlong light festival, called Georgetown GLOW, is organized by the neighborhood’s business improvement district.

“Public art is just something that’s increasing in every neighborhood. People want to make art accessible,” Georgetown BID vice president Nancy Miyahira told The Current. “While there are things in the world right now that feel somewhat divisive, we still have things that connect us.”

Since its conception in 2014, the yearly GLOW light festival has grown from a few days to nearly a month. The event is partly funded by a $150,000 grant from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Miyahira said.  

The BID is slated to host several holiday events around the neighborhood during Georgetown GLOW. A silent disco is planned for Dec. 9 from 7 to 10 p.m. at Washington Harbour, near an art installation dubbed “Horizontal Interference”; an “all-night” shopping event is set for Dec. 14, for which many retailers plan to stay open until 10 p.m.; and a “winter wonderland” day with music, food drinks and children’s activities is slated for Dec. 16 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Art installations from all corners of the globe will be in place across a broad swath of Georgetown. At Washington Harbour, “Horizontal Interference” by Polish artists Joachim Slugocki and Katarzyna Malejka will depict a collection of colorful cords connecting trees and light poles.

At Georgetown Waterfront Park near the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and K Street NW, Brooklyn-based artist Jen Lewin’s “Aqueous” is set to feature 62 illuminated platforms. Lewin told The Current she hopes her work will encourage onlookers to participate and interact with one another.

“Each person is playing with the sculpture and you look up and start to connect,” Lewin said. “I would never make a piece where people line up.”

In the heart of Georgetown’s commercial district, LSM Architects at 3333 M St. NW plans to project three works through the office atrium: “Strata” by London-based Quayola; “Still Life” by Casey Reas of Los Angeles; and “Rainbow Glass” by California-based Sara Ludy.

Above the former Georgetown Theater at 1351 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Robin Bell has designed a 15-minute video to depict elements of the historic neighborhood’s past. Farther up Wisconsin, between P Street and Reservoir Road, a set of sculptures titled “The Neighbors” is slated to present four figures made of LED bent wires. The sculptures are intended to represent ambiguous community members, for residents to project their own neighbors onto.

An art installation depicting a family of refugees is slated for Georgetown’s Grace Episcopal Church at 1041 Wisconsin Ave. NW. The artist, Alaa Minawi, said he was inspired by his work as a translator for refugees in Lebanon between 2011 and 2014.  

The art installation, called “My Light Is Your Light,” depicts illuminated outlines of six refugees, all but one crouched over to symbolize their immense suffering. The youngest family member, however, stands upright to represent the optimism that comes with youth.

“I started knowing … what forced them to leave their homes, what things they’ve been going through, and what are their dreams and aspirations in the new place they want to go to,” Minawi told The Current. “Somehow, this triggered something in me. … I wanted to talk about this.”

Georgetown GLOW will be presented nightly from 5 to 10 p.m. starting Dec. 8 and continuing through Jan. 7.

This article appears in the Nov. 29 issue of The Georgetown Current newspaper.

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Local Shops to Celebrate ‘Small Business Saturday’

November 23, 2017

By Grace Bird
Current Staff Writer

Stores and restaurants across D.C. are set to celebrate “Small Business Saturday” this week with discounts and giveaways, part of an annual event to encourage residents to shop locally.

Held the first Saturday after Thanksgiving every year across the country, the event is overseen by American Express as a way to promote the local retailers that bolster communities.

More than 70,000 small businesses currently operate in D.C., equating to 98.2 percent of the city’s total companies, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. In 2014, that translated to 240,441 jobs in the District.

Several Northwest business groups are participating in Saturday’s event, including organizations based in Georgetown, Adams Morgan, Tenleytown, Van Ness and Shaw.

The Georgetown Business Improvement District plans to distribute 10 American Express gift cards worth $100 each for participating small businesses to provide as extra giveaways for lucky shoppers, according to Georgetown BID communications director Lauren Boston.

“Each small business has its own unique story,” Boston told The Current. “They’re the heart of Georgetown at the end of the day.”

Nearly 30 small businesses in Georgetown have signed up to participate Saturday, offering discounts and freebies to shoppers. District Doughnut, located at 3327 Cady’s Alley NW, plans to give away “funfetti” doughnut bites; Pizza Paradiso at 3282 M St. NW is set to sell $4 draft beers, $6 glasses of wine and various discounted food items; farm-to-taco restaurant Chaia, located at 3207 Grace St. NW, is offering a complimentary side dish with every Taco Trio purchase; and secondhand retailer Christ Child Opportunity Shop, 1427 Wisconsin Ave. NW, will offer 10 percent discounts and host a jewelry trunk show. “Anything we can do to help provide a little bit more coverage, we just like to participate,” Christ Child’s Kelly Gotthardt said.

The consignment store provides another reason to “shop local,” as its proceeds go toward programs supporting District children in need, Gotthardt said. “We hope to improve the lives of kids who need attention, who need help,” she said.

Many local retailers in Adams Morgan are also partaking in Saturday’s event. For instance, Idle Time Books, which has operated at 2467 18th St. NW since 1981, is offering patrons who spend $25 or more a canvas gift bag.

“Adams Morgan is a wonderful place for shoppers to find the unique items on their list,” Rachel Davis of Adams Morgan’s BID told The Current. “We have hundreds of small businesses that offer things that you cannot find anywhere else.”

Susan Lihn — co-chair of the Cleveland Park Business Association and longtime owner of gift shop Wake Up Little Suzie, 3409 Connecticut Ave. NW — said in an interview that running a small business can be difficult but that Small Business Saturday has helped.

“It’s just a fun day in the store — people like it, they come because they want to support their local businesses,” said Lihn. “I think it’s fantastic.”

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ANC Reaches Agreement with Domino’s

November 16, 2017

By Grace Bird

Current Staff Writer

Plans to open a Domino’s in Glover Park advanced this month when Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B (Glover Park, Cathedral Heights) conditionally supported the restaurant’s zoning application.

Domino’s has proposed to move into part of the Calvert Center at 2330 Wisconsin Ave. NW, a site that has a land-use designation requiring fast-food or food-delivery establishments to secure special exception approval from the Board of Zoning Adjustment. Domino’s is slated to present to the zoning panel Dec. 20.

The planned Glover Park Domino’s is slated to replace a Georgetown location at 3255 Prospect St. NW, a property now slated for redevelopment. The new Wisconsin Avenue restaurant will include dine-in, carryout and delivery service, and company officials say it will open in late spring.

While some residents expressed dismay that another fast-food establishment might come to Glover Park — 122 residents signed a petition in opposition of the restaurant last month — ANC 3B members said there was little to be done aside from forging an agreement with Domino’s. Chipotle, which operates a few doors from the proposed Domino’s, received a similar zoning exception several years ago.

“We felt we did not have a leg to stand on, making a total opposition, and that we were much better off negotiating our own conditions, working out our own relationship with Domino’s, and taking it from there,” ANC 3B chair Jackie Blumenthal told residents at the commission’s Nov. 2 meeting.

Blumenthal said that Glover Park’s rental rates deter retailers from moving to the neighborhood, resulting in a string of empty storefronts along its Wisconsin Avenue thoroughfare. Small businesses often struggle to stay afloat in Glover Park, Blumenthal said, adding that half of the Calvert Center is still vacant — and its owners are having some difficulty filling it.

“We don’t really think that that space is going to be filled by anything else that’s going to be much better,” Blumenthal said.

ANC 3B offered support based on an agreement with Domino’s with various operating conditions.

According to the agreement, Domino’s will direct its delivery drivers to park in the rear lot until 10:30 p.m., after which drivers will be use the parking spaces in front of the store on Wisconsin Avenue; require drivers to turn off truck engines and refrigeration units during store deliveries to minimize noise levels; keep the garbage area clean and train employees in trash management; install large trash cans outside of the store and empty them three times a day as part of opening, pre-dinner and closing checklists; limit company signs to one in alignment with current signage at on the rear side of the Calvert Center on 37th Street NW; and work to install a mirror at the entrance to the parking lot from 37th Street.

While Blumenthal acknowledged residents’ concerns about late hours of operation — the chain typically stays open until 2 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends — she conceded that this was its business model and little could be done.

“I feel fairly confident that at least I know we can reach out and get … any problem solved,” Blumenthal said.

This article appears in the Nov. 15 issue of The Georgetown Current newspaper.

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