Marina Pitofsky is a staff writer for The Hoya.

Washington, D.C.’s government will sponsor over 100 art events throughout the city in a monthlong showcase of creativity across the District.

Announced by Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) on Aug. 30, the second annual 202Creates initiative will celebrate arts and cultures in the month of September, with events ranging from this weekend’s 202 Arts and Music Festival to culinary tastings and dance performances.

The initiative is coordinated by the D.C. Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment and the D.C. Commission on Arts and Humanities.

FILE PHOTO: SPENCER COOK/THE HOYA
Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced Aug. 30 the second annual 202Creates initiative to celebrate arts and cultures in September.

According to Chanda Washington, a spokesperson for the District Office of the Deputy Mayor of Planning and Economic Development, 202Creates aims to celebrate “creatives,” or those who are involved in creative jobs and hobbies in the District, and explore how they work to change the perception that the District lacks a cultural scene.

“You think about D.C., you think about the monuments, the Smithsonian, the existing cultural vibrancy that exists in the city. We want to amplify that. We want people to see how it blends within our neighborhoods,” Washington said. “We want people to see how you can take part in it and get a job from it, how you can build on it.”

Jeff Scott, the chief of external affairs for the District’s Commission on the Arts and Humanities, said 202Creates also applauds the creative sector’s wide-reaching impact, with creatives in fields including music and art as well as writing and technology.

Scott also noted the variety of artistic offerings across fields in D.C., highlighting the range of talents across the music, theater, fashion and design industries.

“Some of the goals of it really are to show the different individuals and organizations that are working in these creative fields, and to show within that the great range of different things that are being done. We have such a wide variety of creative and cultural offerings in the city,” Scott said.

Scott said the local government has worked to reach out to all communities in the District this year, coordinate a targeted social media campaign and build on other outreach efforts to ensure that all eight wards of the city can enjoy and take part in the creative economy.

“This is as much an awareness initiative as anything else, I feel — to use the different events and programs that we produce, but to also use social media and outreach to get the information out there,” Scott said. “In becoming aware of it, hopefully they become more active participants and engaged with that.”

Washington also said 202Creates highlights the city’s creative economy. According to Mayor Bowser’s office, creativity is a significant part of the District’s economy, bringing in over 2,400 arts-related businesses and creating over 120,000 jobs in creative sectors, 1,800 of which were added just in the last year, from hairstylists to chefs and graphic artists.

“The creative economy, in essence, is the way we create jobs, the way we grow the economy by using the creative energy that already exists in the city,” Washington said. “We believe that’s some energy that would allow us to pump up our economy and create more jobs for District residents.”

Scott said the creative economy goes beyond employing current District residents to attract potential new businesses and residents to the city, expanding the tax base and improving the overall quality of life.

“Not only are these individuals and professionals doing great work, but their work is contributing to the overall growth and vitality of the city. It’s part of why we think people want to live in D.C.: because we have these sorts of offerings, because we have these arts and humanities offerings, because we have a robust creative sector,” Scott said. “Even if you yourself do not work in that sector, your life is touched by it in some way.”

For a full list of events, see 202Creates.com.

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