Admit it: You thought the Kennedy Center and the White House had cornered the market on arts honors in Washington. But just as it does with most of the big national stuff, the District has its own scrappy civic equivalent. In this case it’s the Mayor’s Arts Awards. Awards aren’t limited to the artists themselves, of course; institutions, patrons, presenters, and educators get their fair share of official kudos as well. It’s not restricted to performing arts, either—but this is an awards show, after all, so performances are part of the package. Among the many are D.C. staples like the National Hand Dance Association, and homegrown hip-hop talents Poem-Cees (shown) and Christylez Bacon. In that sense it’s bigger than the honors in the Obamas’ East Room: It’s proof that as both a city and a cultural beacon, D.C. has the goods to stand on its own.
The Mayor’s Arts Awards begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. Free. Reserve seats at mayorsartswards.eventbrite.com. (202) 724-5613.