Spotlight on Our Local Partners

Saturday, August 4th was Where to Next? Race’s inaugural event in D.C. Over the past several months, the W2NR team has been connecting with local businesses to be represented in the DC race. Last Saturday’s race featured a checkpoint challenge in Eastern Market, in which racers were tasked with finding three specific vendors in the crowded market to locate their next clue cards.

“A large part of our message at W2NR is advocating for supporting local businesses and connecting our racers with the local side of the city. What better way to do that than to feature local artisans in our event?” It was such a pleasure to be able to work with and connect with three talented local artisans, and we want to share some of their stories with our W2NR community.

A Washington D.C. native, Joel Traylor has always had an interest and talent for the arts. While pursuing a professional career in writing short stories and children’s stories, Joel decided to explore his visual art inspiration. In the summer of 1996, with oils, charcoal, and a roll of paper spread along his apartment wall, he began creating his first two pieces. “That first cathartic burst never let up.” In the following summer, Joel exhibited his work in a gallery for the first time, and over the next few years, he continued to paint and explore his curiosity and imagination through visual art. “I just got hooked when people started buying my work.” In addition to his 18-year tenure at Eastern Market and various local art festivals, Joel’s work is available for purchase online at www.joeltraylor.com.

Surrounded by the bold and vibrant hues of Traylor’s booth, we spotted several D.C.-themed pieces. “I’ve done the U.S. Capitol dome a couple dozen times. Each one wildly vibrant. Never just white.” Joel’s depictions of the cherry blossoms at tidal basin and playful renderings of the Capitol building highlight and speak to the beautiful aspects of our nation’s capital.

As visitors to D.C. ourselves, we wanted to get a local’s perspective on must-see places. “The FDR Memorial at night is really spectacular. The waterfalls are all lit up. It’s a sprawling memorial. It’s dazzling.” Traylor also recommended a visit to The Canadian Embassy’s echo chamber. “The reverberation is incredible, and a lot of people don’t know about it.” As for food in D.C., Joel recommended that if we want a proper Bloody Mary and delicious crab benedict, we better head to Tunicliff’s Tavern.

Whether you’re a D.C. native or just visiting D.C., a stroll through Eastern Market is well worth it. Joel Traylor is one of many talented D.C. local artisans at the market, and it has been our pleasure working with him. At W2NR, we stand with and support local businesses.

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