Vernard R. Gray is the founder of CA-FAM III, Inc. and East River Jazz. He has worked in photo-journalism, filmmaking, videography, clothing design, museum curating, exhibition design, and jazz performance production throughout his career. His work with CA-FAM and East River Jazz promotes programs in the neighborhoods in Wards 7 and 8.
Cultural Tourism DC asked some notable Washingtonians to share with us their favorite places or events that are special and unique to DC.
Here are Vernard’s five favorite places in DC:
- Shopping at Zawadi on U Street. Irene Whalen, the owner of Zawadi has the most interesting mix of African artobjects, textiles, literature and gift items in the city. Zawadi is a Swahili word for “gift” and this gallery/shop is one special place to visit.
- Busboys and Poets at 14th and V Streets. When I want to mix work with a meal Bus Boys & Poets is my away-from-home workspace. One can spend hours there, be served by competent staff, eat good food and “always” run into a friend or two.
- Georgia Avenue near Howard University. From the Nigril Café and their chicken soup with dumplings, to the Blue Nile Trading Company’s healing herbs, related books, and the interesting discussions that occur inside, to Rita’s delicious Trinidadian food, I love spending time in this area.
- 34th Street in Mount Ranier. Visiting GLUT, a worker-owned grocery health food store, Nisey’s Boutique with their clothing, jewelery, and accessories, and Joe’s Movement Emporium’s dance space makes for a perfect day.
- East of the River. I’ve chosen this section of the city to develop new venues of cultural expression because its home! From the early 1940’s my family has resided in both Wards 7 & 8. There are significant opportunities for artists to present their creative offerings in churches, cultural spaces, new galleries, libraries, senior residences, and wellness centers and schools.
To view a full list of DC Insiders click here.