Dear Friend of BloomBars, 2016 has been a, well, we’ll say an interesting year. But wait! Before your brain goes to someplace political, here’s a rem

BloomBars Weekly Bloom Newsletter
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Dear Friend of BloomBars,

2016 has been a, well, we’ll say an interesting year. But wait! Before your brain goes to someplace political, here’s a reminder of some really great things that happened this year:

BloomBars was voted the “Best Arts and Culture Nonprofit” in DC by supporters like you in the Washington CIty Paper’s annual Reader’s Poll -- the fifth year in a row!
The Washington Post Magazine wrote a full-page article highlighting our many children’s programs
Our A/C broke! But thanks to generous supporters like you, we were soon keeping it cool (and now HOT) once again
BloomBars family member 123 Andrés was honored with a 2016 Latin Grammy Award for Best Children's Album
Baba Ras D celebrated his 900th Harambee at BloomBars
Artist in Bloom Resident Rochelle Rice released her debut EP The Wonder to critical acclaim
Renowned jazz musician Mark Meadows launched a monthly program featuring students from Duke Ellington School of the Arts… in addition to winning “Best Recording” “Best Composter” Washington City Paper 2016
Artist in Bloom Resident Elena Lacayo toured her native Nicaragua and the US and launched an indiegogo campaign to support her second bilingual folk-album
Artist in Bloom Resident Tamika Love Jones celebrated two years of her weekly Little Treasures kids program and took a group of high school students to the United Nations to perform original music and facilitate workshops about social justice at the Global Youth Conference in New York.
Artist in Bloom Resident Dante Pope toured the globe with celebrated musicians Kenny Wesley, Raheem DeVaughn and Dom Felmons and started work on his debut album
We hosted the production of an awesome video highlighting products touched by child labor and child slavery made possible by the Child Labor Coalition.
We hosted Generation Listen with NPR, a podcast “listening party” and discussion about vulnerability & change
We hosted tribute events to honor Prince -- a dance party for kids and a gathering of artists for all ages
We welcomed dance and music performances from around the globe, including performers from Turkey, Finland, Japan, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Senegal, and the UK.
Our BloomScreen film night partnered with DC Independent Film Festival for International Women’s Day, in addition to weekly independent film screenings every Tuesday
We kicked-started a new weekly Spanish-language program (Conta Conmigo) and re-started our French-language music program Nous Bloomon en Francais
We hosted several gallery exhibition featuring local visual artists
We won three grants from Poets and Writers to host poetry workshops by queer writers of color at BloomBars

But most of all, we continued providing opportunities for diverse, multi-lingual, multi-generational communities to gather in a culturally rich and alcohol-free environment, day in and day out!

It hasn’t always been easy, but I’m really proud to say that BloomBars has been there through all the difficulties that 2016 has brought. And here’s where you come in:

Will you help support BloomBars in 2017?

Make a year-end, tax-deductible donation today through Fractured Atlas, and support our programs in 2017 and beyond.

Thanks for keeping this intentional community going… and making 2016 memorable. Seriously, we need your support now more than ever.

Forever grateful. Always in service. Trusting in love.

Until soon, keep blooming.

John R. Chambers
Chief Executive Gardener, BloomBars

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:: bloom in the news ::

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American University's the Eagle: Open Mic nights at BloomBars pop the “AU bubble”

The Columbia Heights bar offers a community feel without alcohol

By Alix Mammina

"….The venue is small and filled to the brim with positive energy. “Artist-in-Bloom” Elena Lacayo introduced the open mic event that I attended and gave background on the mission of BloomBars, before leading the audience in practice rounds of applause. She asked that the crowd cheer loudly for all performers and help create a welcoming atmosphere. While only ten people were in the audience for the first few acts, a sincere applause echoed throughout the venue for the entirety of the night.

BloomBars’ open mic night showcased a level of creativity and talent that’s usually hard to find in D.C. Singer-songwriters played indie pop, piano pop and acoustic folk songs. A young girl prefaced her spoken word with a disclaimer that she was terrified, before launching into a strong, emotional performance that touched on addiction, relationships and depression. A storyteller and stand-up comedian spun self-deprecating tales about New Orleans, alcoholism and graffiti. The event finished with the special feature of the night, singer-songwriter Jahnel Daliya, who performed several songs that covered topics from travel to her struggles with sleep paralysis.

As it was my first open mic I wasn’t sure what to expect from the night, but I left with a deeper appreciation for this city. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with classes, work, and internships and never leave the “AU bubble.” But there’s more to D.C. than Tenleytown, monumenting and late-night Ben’s Chili Bowl runs. Spaces like BloomBars offer a way to connect in a different way with where we live and to experience the strong community of artists in this city. With its intimate setting and creative, positive energy, BloomBars was the perfect way to spend a weekday night. If you’re looking to express yourself or experience others’ art, make sure to check out the BloomBars event page."

Read the full article here.


11th Street Named One of America's Best Main Streets!

"The nation’s capital is famed for a work-intensive lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fun place to play. If you’re ready for a night out in Washington, D.C., and you’d also enjoy discovering a very interesting neighborhood, you can’t do better than 11th Street Northwest.

“Washington’s hip strip” is what the New York Times called Columbia Heights, the central D.C. neighborhood for which 11th St. NW is the main street. Once a thriving, culturally rich African-American neighborhood, this area was ravaged by the riots that followed the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. A decade ago, noted the paper’s Travel section, the area was still “best known for vacant homes and empty storefronts” — but a new Metro station that opened in 1999 sparked a surge of activity and commercial development.

A few blocks from the station in the 11th Street area, the Times says the nearby “big box stores and chain restaurants give way to indie rock dance parties and guerrilla theater peformances.” 11th Street NW offers cozy wine and beer spots — even BloomBars, a nonprofit art center that doesn’t actually serve alcohol. Instead it offers children and adults a wide diversity of programs, from music jams and family drum circles to indie film nights, folkloric dance classes and kids’ art sessions….continue reading.

:: NOW AT @BloomBars ::


NEW WEEKLY PROGRAM - Capoeira for Kids (Ages 4 and up)

Saturdays at 8:30am (Starting June 18th)

Capoeira provides physical fitness for children, ages 4 and up. It is intended to be a no- to low-contact martial art that helps children with gross motor planning and gross motor skills.

Children will also learn maculele (a dance done hitting sticks against your partner’s sticks), samba, capoeira instruments, and Portuguese through this fun, interactive class.

Mstre Bomba was born in Bahia, Brazil, and has practiced capoeira since 1980. He became interested in capoeira at the age of ten after he saw his father, a well-known capoeirista, fighting in a roda. Because his mother prohibited him from practicing capoeira, which at the time was seen as an outlaw fringe activity, Bomba initially trained in secret under Mestre Buguelo of Grupo Cativeiro in Bahia in 1980.

He later moved to Grupo Esquiva where he trained under Mestre Coentro, and in 1985 started training with his current Mestre, Mestre Benivaldo, who founded Capoeira Barro Vermelho in 1993. Bomba attained the rank of Professor, was later promoted to Contra Mestre, and in May 2014 attained the highest rank of Mestre.

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Canta Conmigo en el Sol o en el Frío

Mondays at 10:30am (Ages 0-4)

Join Veronica Jimenez, for this Spanish language singalong, story time, puppet playgroup. Parents, expecting parents and caregivers are encouraged to participate.

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Little Treasures w/Tamika Love Jones

Wednesdays at 10am

Artist in Bloom Resident Tamika Love Jones presents Little Treasures, an educational and interactive journey for babies and children (under age 3) that explores a special box of little treasures. Each treasure that is picked from the box will lead tots and parents to sing their favorite songs, read fun stories and explore their bodies through exciting movement. The theme of Little treasures is self-love and teaching the tots that they, too, are little treasures!


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It’s time. BloomBars is looking to re-imagine our website, so we can better serve our community. We’d love to assemble a ragtag group of volunteers to help make this a reality. There are a variety of tasks to be done, from the conceptual to the nitty-gritty. If you’re an experienced WordPress developer, graphic designer, and/or content producer with time on your hands and love in your heart, please reach out!


:: photos highlights ::

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Mt. Pleasant Puppet Hour Crew!

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We made blowfish w/Marina!!

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Thanksgiving Vegan Potluck

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Our little ballerinas at Ballet en Françes

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Our Halloween welcome committee. Thanks, Gabriel!

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Monthly Songwriting Workshop w/Elena Lacayo

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Part or our Cause/Change exhibition parked at the front door!

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Special thanks to Andrew Krieger for our curating Cause/Change exhibition

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Last open mic of 2016! Thanks for hosting Nightrain357!

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Always a good day when Courtney Dowe comes through

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Artist in Bloom Resident Elena Lacayo Releases New Video Highlighting Powerful Story of an Immigrant Mother

A few months ago, I sat down with BloomBars' Chief Gardener John Chambers to talk about an idea I had for a music video for my song “Amor Migrante.” It’s a love song told from the perspective of an immigrant mother who came to the US to provide a better life for her son, but in doing so was forced to leave him in her home country. The refrain captures this idea saying “por ti me fui, de ahi de ti” or “for you I left, left there, left you.”

I was hoping the video would capture the spirit of immigrant life in the US – of people doing backbreaking jobs after having left behind all of the places they have ever been and all the people they have ever known. The concept was simple – we would highlight the story of a real person going through a normal day at work and at home, while also showing the pain they carried regarding the relationships they left behind. That day, John and I brainstormed ways to get support and funding to make this video happen.

And it did. With the support of various immigrant-advocacy organizations including the National Council of La Raza, We Belong Together, National Immigration Law Center, and America’s Voice the video for “Amor Migrante” was released just in time for Mother’s Day. It features the heartbreaking story of Rosario Reyes, an undocumented mother who has not seen her son in 12 years. I am so incredibly proud of this video, not only because it tells such a powerful story, but also because it is the first time I have created an artistic project that can also be used as a tool for justice.

So now, I would like to extend a very special BloomBars invitation to you to watch and share the video for “Amor Migrante.” I could not have done this without you.

Click HERE. to watch

Facebook Page Reaches 6k Likes & 3k Twitter Followers!

Proof that social media and social people can live in harmony, we're humbled to see our digital community continue to grow. If you're not following us in this space, here are the places:

Facebook Page:
Facebook Group:

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Grab a Book at Our Little Free Library!

We need more children's book donations!

Little known fact: we've had a wonderful lending bookcase library for the last five years. Now we're ready to step it up and offer our books to the world, or at least our neighborhood. That means joining the global Little Free Library movement!

:: bloomTV ::

The Weekly Bloom MORE THAN 13,000 Readers! Please SHARE with friends!

After nearly 350 editions, The Weekly Bloom has reached MORE THAN 13,000 readers. It's a tribute to all of the artists, volunteers and supporters like you who believe in our mission and want to see this grand experiment be successful. We hope you will continue to follow and participate in this beautiful odyssey. As prehistoric as it may seem, we seek to find a unique and purposeful voice in this method of communication. If you respond to it, we promise to answer. If you want to amplify its voice, please share it with your friends. If you can't come to events, let us know you are there in spirit. If you have an idea you want to share, event you want to host or organization doing good works you want to elevate, email us.

:: about bloombars ::

BloomBars' works to inspire compassionate, creative and purposeful communities through the arts. Our goal is to foster personal and collective growth and cultivate a legion of artists to be the catalyst for community transformation across the globe. We offer a safe space for creative expression, community building, wellness, entertainment and anything that nurtures meaningful human connections and motivates people to service. We redefine the perception of a bar by providing opportunities for diverse, multi-lingual, multi-generational communities to gather in a culturally rich and alcohol-free environment. We are 100% donation driven, volunteer run and love fueled.

BloomU is the all-ages college of BloomBars. Our mission it to help you reach your full potential by exploring the heights of your creativity! Led by a talented team of artist/instructors, we host a variety of classes and workshops for people of all ages and experience levels, including dance, theater, visual arts, music, poetry and film. Classes are donation based. Suggested donations range from $5-$25. Drop-in on a class or workshop today!

Artists in Bloom At the center of our broad mission is a core belief that art and artists have the power to transform people, communities, and the world. The Artist in Bloom Residency Program is designed to identify, cultivate and incubate artists who will advance that belief and supports their growth as professionals, community activists, educators, social entrepreneurs, and human beings.

The Gallery at BloomBars presents exhibitions and programs that spark important conversations and encourage relationships between the artist and community. The Gallery’s interdisciplinary approach opens the door to bold experimentation and unique partnerships that support its mission to present the diversity of human experiences, raise consciousness and inspire personal growth.