This image of a wildfire by Ryan McCoy will be on display in the "Portent" exhibit at Athenaeum Oct. 24 to Dec. 8, 2013. (Ryan McCoy)
Author Farah Griffin

Farah Griffin’s new book, “Harlem Nocturne: Women Artists and Progressive Politics During World War II,” tells the stories of novelist Ann Petry, dancer and choreographer Pearl Primus and composer and pianist Mary Lou Williams. Join the author at Busboys and Poets for a discussion and book signing co-sponsored by Georgetown University’s African American Studies Department. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.

6:30 p.m. Busboys and Poets, 1025 Fifth St. NW. 202-789-2227.

2013 Mayor’s Arts Awards

For the 28th year, the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities — along with Mayor Vincent C. Gray — is celebrating creative minds and organizations that have contributed to the District’s arts, entertainment and creative industries. Among this year’s honorees are Howard University’s Division of Fine Arts and Barbara and Jane Harman of the Harman Family Foundation. Awards will be presented in the following categories: Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education, Excellence in an Artistic Discipline, Outstanding Emerging Artist, Innovation in the Arts, Outstanding Service to the Arts, and Mayor’s Awards for Arts Teaching.

7 p.m. Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. 202-727-4135.

Visiting artists: Marco Vera and Fernando Corona

Artists Marco Vera and Fernando Corona, who participated in a month-long residency at the Corcoran, will discuss the cultural exchanges and artist expressions in border states and their experiences in the Corcoran community. Vera is the founder of Mexicali Rose, an organization created to offer young people in Pueblo Nuevo, Mexico, access to artistic media. Corona’s work is often exhibited there.

6:30 p.m. Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th St. NW. 202-639-1700.

The Arts and the Brain

Got art on your mind? Listen to a discussion about how art can affect brain processes. Speakers include Alan I. Leshner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Nina Kraus, a professor at Northwestern University. The program also will feature a musical performance and art exhibit.

5:30 p.m. American Association for the Advancement of Science Auditorium, 1200 New York Ave. NW. RSVP.

Art on the 8th: DC Casineros

Take out your dancing shoes and get moving. Visit Dance Place for one of its free monthly events and learn to salsa with DC Casineros, a company founded in 2005 that focuses on Cuban dance styles.

6:30 p.m. Dance Place, 3225 Eighth St. NE. 202-269-1600.

Asheru performance

You know the voice you hear at the start of every episode of “The Boondocks”? Well, that’s Washington-based hip-hop artist and educator Asheru. Hear him perform the opening and closing themes for creator Aaron McGruder’s hit series during a performance at the Kennedy Center. Asheru received a Peabody Award for his work on the show.

6 p.m. Kennedy Center, Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW. 202-467-4600.

‘Portent’: artist reception

Meet four of the five artists behind a new exhibit at the Athenaeum that focuses on the effects of such natural occurrences as tornadoes and wildfire. The exhibit features paintings, photography and silverpoint. It runs through Dec. 8.

4 p.m. Athenaeum, 201 Prince St., Alexandria. 703-548-0035.

— Macy Freeman