Indiana Jones and the Alley of Doom

August 27, 2011

Remember that scene in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indy ends up fleeing from a mammoth boulder? Now imagine that scene with you in it, only instead of running through an ancient crumbling temple, you’re racing down an alley in DC. The boulder? An enormous zorb disguised like a boulder. (Don’t worry: You’ll still get to wear the hat.) That’s right folks! The DC Awesome grant for August goes to the Laurenellen McCann for her project: Indiana Jones and the Alley of Doom! She had us with the title, but we asked Laurenellen to go ahead and explain the project in more detail: The Alley of Doom is a pop-up experience that’s one part theme park, one part guerrilla theatre, and one part pure, geeky wish-fulfillment. Cameras will be set up along the course to capture the action so that, after you run, you’ll no longer have to just *imagine* yourself in the scene: You’ll be in it. All video will be edited into personalized segments that will be loaded onto YouTube (and the Alley of Doom website), and folks who give their email address when they run will get their race sent to them… read more →

Feeding and Funding Bluebrain

August 27, 2011

Sometimes, here in DC, we get so overwhelmed with awesome projects that we need to experiment with new ways to fund more than one a month. One such project came our way this August from the creative powerhouse of Bluebrain – also known individually as Ryan and Hayes Holladay. Ryan and Hayes live and work in Washington DC and have gained a reputation for innovative and often large scale works, installations, concerts and experiences. Their most recent endeavor, an album called ‘The National Mall‘, made available exclusively as an iPhone app, is a musical chose-your-own-adventure that allows the listener to explore music as they traverse the landscape in downtown DC. They have been featured in WIRED Magazine, Fast Company, The Washington Post and others. The Awesome Foundation DC is hosting a special starlit fundraising dinner in their honor to raise an additional $1000 grant to fun their new project: The Living House. The Living House is a 2 day sound installation that transforms a house on H St into a walk-through sonic experience designed by Bluebrain and featuring contributions from other sound artists and composers. Each room in the house will be equipped with a separate speaker that will combine to create the entire work. Sounds will literally run through the house, rooms will harmonize with one… read more →

Supporting Young Artists

August 27, 2011

Artwork by Kateriela Snipes This August the DC Chapter of Awesome was joined by the organizers of Tribal Affairs, a local group of arts, fashion, design and culinary students working to support young artists in The District. Tribal Affairs generously donated the proceeds of a recent event as an extra $500 grant to be awarded to a young artist. The winner of this grant was the inspiring Katrieia Snipes, for her arts mentoring project. It is an 8-week, daily after-school program designed to inspire young people to believe in themselves and build confidence in through art.

Our Awesome One Night Stand

August 27, 2011

It was a humid summer night in DC when we were seduced by One Night Stand – the winner of the July grant from Awesome Foundation DC. One Night Stand seeks out vacant lots in the greater Washington DC area and turns them into contemporary art venues for one night. The project team revitalizes the vacant lot, cleans, removes debris and prepares the space for an exhibition that lasts 2-3 hours. Photo with thanks to @PinklineProject The aim of the project is to provide spot exhibitions and involve the community in the transformation of their neighborhood. The project is the brainchild of Randal Scott, and we talked to him about his inspiration for the project: What is One Night Stand all about, what do you do, where is it, who is it for, and when is the next one? In a soundbite…ONS puts contemporary arts exhibitions in vacant lots, unused space or wherever, for one night. ONS was kinda put together on the fly. Traveling back and forth from NY I have lots of time to think and it just came to me (after a long process of looking at way overpriced commercial space in DC) to just throw an exhibition together in a vacant lot. I… read more →

Building Millennial Philanthropy, 1% at A Time

August 24, 2011

Re-posted from, for all you AF fans who love innovative philanthropy. Beginnings In 2007, Daniel Kaufman started a conversation about philanthropic giving over dinner with his law school friends that has since blossomed into the One Percent Foundation (OPF), a national organization that engages young adults in philanthropy through giving circles and leadership development. That first circle of friends realized that they were giving reactively, rather than strategically funding the things they cared most about. They uncovered a pattern of challenges that stopped them and their generation from doing more: A concern that they couldn’t afford to be philanthropists. Not knowing where their money would be most effectively shared. Doubting their potential to make an impact. That group started their own giving circle, pooling 1% of their incomes and collectively overcoming these challenges to effective philanthropy. “I never meant to start an organization,” Daniel admits.  Soon, the original founders moved to New York, DC, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Seattle, growing into a national giving circle. By 2009, they realized they were filling a vital niche. OPF was ready to scale. “Millennials aren’t at the table. [They] don’t control any of the sources of funding, and the non-profit landscape represents… read more →