Posted tagged ‘public art’

New Park View Mural Greets Georgia Avenue Visitors

April 4, 2016

A new mural was recently painted on the south side of the old Murray’s grocery store which is simple and to the point — directly stating “Park View.” I was able to learn that the mural was painted by local Park View artist Anthony Dihle and his company, Victory Dance Creative. If you haven’t heard of Victory Dance Creative before, I’m confident that you’ve seen their work — especially the posters for their DC Neighborhood Project which are available at Walls of Books.

Murray's mural(New mural at 3400 Georgia Avenue at the intersection with Morton Street.)

Is There Room in Smaller Parks for Functional Public Sculpture?

April 17, 2015

Over the years, I’ve given a lot of thought to D.C.’s parks, playgrounds, and green spaces. Perhaps this is partially due to how little accessible green space we currently have in Park View. As vast amounts of land just aren’t going to become available anytime soon, its easier to think about how current parkland could be improved to increase their value to the community without decreasing their usefulness.

The Park View Recreation Center is an obvious site where — though it is greatly improved — there is still room for additional improvement. Fortunately, the small field house is currently being renovated which should add much needed space for community meetings, birthday parties, or any other community event without impacting the Rec Center’s programs.

With regards to our smaller park areas, amenities should be in scale with their sites, add beauty to the community, and enhance or encourage activities that already exist. For an example, just over a year ago I suggested that the small park area at Kenyon and Georgia Avenue would be an ideal place for Washington’s original von Steuben memorial (either the original or a replica). The site is part of what was once Schuetzen Park, the original site of the memorial. It is also a small site well suited to a small public sculpture.

The Fountain of Three Graces in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

The Fountain of Three Graces in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

In the same spirit, a small work of art would also be well suited to the small triangle park at Rock Creek Church Road and Park Place (aka Reserve 321-A). Having observed people use this park for years, I’ve seen two primary activities there — young adults playing catch and dog owners playing with their companions or just taking them for a walk. Keeping this in mind, a sculpture on the site would need to be small, out of the way, and ideally useful. One idea could be a small fountain.

In thinking about fountain types, I think the Fountain of Three Graces in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, offers a good example of the characteristics that such a fountain in our area could embrace. Its relatively simple, it has no front or back being instead in the round, the water catch basins are at ground level, and it includes lighting to illuminate the fountain at night. Why I’m particularly drawn to the fountain idea, and one with ground level catch basins, goes back to all the dog owners I see using the park. If it is possible to install such an amenity, it would be nice if the fountain could double as a place where dogs could get a drink of water, especially in the hot summer weather.

Many of our smaller parks serve a variety of needs, but at most have infrastructure limited to sidewalks and street lights. This seems like a missed opportunity, and one that should be fully developed with community input. Whether a fountain here, or a sculpture there, or something entirely different, D.C. needs a master plan for parks and public spaces beyond what is strictly maintained by the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Design and placement aside, the image below shows how such a fountain could look:

Park Place Fountain(Overall concept of what a fountain could look like in our smaller parks.)


Admiring the Restored “A People Without Murals is a Demuralized People” Mural

April 7, 2015

If you’ve ever been on Adams Mill Road just north of Columbia Road and looked at the side of the Kogibow Bakery, you’ll have noticed the large mural on the side of the building titled “Un pueblo sin murales es un pueblo desmuralizado” (“A people without murals are a demuralized people.”). It was originally designed and executed in the mid-1970s by brothers Caco and Renato Salazar.  When the 2011 earthquake occurred, the owner of Kogibow Bakery had to repair structural damage externally which resulted in damage to the mural. You can see the extent of the damage before efforts began in April 2014 to restore the mural in an article from the CityPaper that provides more details about the project. There is also a WAMU feature from 2012 that is worth listening to, which also provides some history about the mural.

A People Without Murals is a Demuralized People

The photo above shows the mural as it looks today, after restoration. The plaque below accompanies the mural.

People without murals

Las Bicicletas — Bicycle Inspired Sculpture in Washington Until April 5th

March 30, 2015

LAS BICICLETAS(Las Bicicletas at the Moynihan Plaza)

Last week while on the way to the Wilson Building, I had the opportunity to see the traveling sculpture exhibit Las Bicicletas by Mexican artist Gilberto Aceves Navarro. The installation is at the Moynihan Plaza by the Reagan Building until April 5th, meaning that you have until this Sunday if you want to see it in person.

The following news release from the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center provides more information:

March 5 – April 5
Moynihan Plaza

LAS BICICLETAS is an urban art exhibit created by Mexican artist Gilberto Aceves Navarro. It comprises 250 bicycle sculptures in black, white, red and orange; colors that were used by the Mayan culture to symbolize the four cardinal points. Our mission is to promote through art the use of bicycles as an alternative mode of transportation, to develop better living conditions for all people in friendlier cities. Our objective is that bicycles are universally recognized as vehicles of happiness and health.

In 2014 LAS BICICLETAS started an international tour in the streets of New York City. In 2015, the tour will continue in Washington, D.C. where the exhibit will be displayed at the Moynihan Plaza of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. As a tribute to celebrate Gilberto Aceves Navarro’s 83rd birthday, 83 sculptures will be exhibited for the public to enjoy during the month of March, 2015. This exhibit intends to offer, both visitors and residents of the city, a space for inspiration and the enjoyment of public art, as well at to render homage to the bicycle.

In addition to the exhibit, LAS BICICLETAS is an art collection composed by 250 original designs, each piece on three different scales. Each of these sculptures has its respective certificate of authenticity properly signed by the artist.

The Artist 

Gilberto Aceves Navarro (born in México City, 1931) is one of the most celebrated representatives of abstract expressionism in Mexico. He assisted David Alfaro Siqueiros as a young artist and today his name is synonymous of the best Mexican contemporary art. The most recognized awards and acknowledgements that the artist has received are The National University Prize (National Autonomous University of Mexico) in 1989, The National Prize for Arts and Sciences in 2003 and The Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts and Sciences in 2011. He has been invited on numerous occasions to show his art in Germany, Japan, Colombia and the United States.


Documentary of “The Wait”: A Mural by Nekisha Durrett

February 20, 2015

Here’s the full documentary of The Wait,  the mural by artist Nekisha Durrett that is painted on the side of Mothership at Georgia Avenue and Lamont Street, NW. This documentary is as much about the Park View neighborhood as it is about the mural. The documentary was created by local filmmaker, Lorie Shaull, who is clearly very talented and has done an excellent job.

I’m sure you’ll all enjoy watching this as much as I did.

Where Could Public Statues/Memorials Be Located in the Neighborhood?

December 3, 2014

I was happy to read in yesterday’s Washington Post that the federal government erects about seven new memorials every decade and that in response to a crowded National Mall area the National Capital Planning Commission is beginning to consider federal land located in the District’s neighborhoods. While the proposed statue in the Post article doesn’t appear to be all that welcome in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, where its been proposed, I on the other had welcome the opportunity to enhance our public space with sculpture and hope we would be lucky enough to be considered for one in the future.

The issue outlined in the Post deals with privately funded memorials, with Congressional approval, that would be placed on federal land. Keep in mind, the federal government actually owns a lot of the smaller park areas sprinkled throughout the city. In the immediate Park View area the land in question is limited to a scant few reservations, not all of which would be appropriate venues for a memorial. The map below shows a few of the parcels in our area that could be considered over time.

Possible memorial map(Map showing three possible locations for public memorials — if federally owned)

But, not all public land is federal. We also have some District owned parcels that could be good sites. I believe this is where we have more control over what the memorial looks like and where it is placed. I’ve already written about this a bit in the past when I wrote about the history of the Steuben monument and how nice it would be to have it returned to the small park at Georgia Avenue and Kenyon Street. I believe one of the key issues related to public sculpture is identifying funding for them. Along these lines, I also strongly feel that this is something that Advisory Neighborhood Commissions should consider when weighing in on land disposition or negotiating public amenities with developers. When these opportunities arise, it is my opinion that money generated from the sale of public land — or a portion of it in larger dispositions — needs to be reinvested in the immediate community from which the land was located.

I introduced such a resolution in May 2014 and received unanimous support from ANC 1A when support was given for the disposition of a small alley parcel needed for the redevelopment of the Petworth Liquors site on the 3200 block of Georgia. Now, we just need to get the DC Council to listen and act … a task I am definitely up to.




Artwork by Zsudayka Nzinga on Display at Yoga Heights

November 19, 2014

Yoga heights artIf you missed the November 9th Georgia Avenue Window Walk and haven’t been by Yoga Heights, you probably haven’t seen the artwork by Zsudayka Nzinga that is in the windows at 3506 Georgia. I’m including them with this post, but they are hard to photograph and are worth seeing in person. You can learn more about the artist, her bio, and see where her artworks are displayed, at her Web site.

The Web site also has other images of Nzinga’s work. I’m not entirely sure how long these murals will be on display, but I hope it will be a while. I also heartily support the increasing amount of public art we are seeing in the neighborhood.

Below is another image from the murals at Yoga Heights.

Yoga art


New Mural in Progress at Mothership

November 10, 2014
Artist Nekisha Durrett.

Artist Nekisha Durrett.

Over the weekend, the new mural designed for Mothership — at Georgia and Lamont — was begun. The artist of the mural is Washington artist Nekisha Durrett, and has been in the works at least since January 2014.  ANC 1A also voted in support of the mural at their January 2014 meeting.

Nakisha, along with a crew of two helpers and two students from Duke Ellington School of the Arts who were documenting the work, were at Mothership on Sunday giving me a chance to chat with her. I got an opportunity to see the overall design and think its really going to add to the growing inventory of public art we have in the neighborhood. While I don’t have a digital copy of the design to share, I don’t think people will have to worry for long. The mural should be finished by mid-week. You can get an ideal of what it is about by looking at the image and reading the artist statement below (provided by artist).

Mothership mural(Mural in progress at Mothership, Sunday November 9, 2014)

Mothership mural(Image of what finished mural will look like, provided by artist)


Fall In Line, by Nekisha Durrett

In 1975, the funk band Parliament paid tribute to the, then, predominately African-American Washington, DC with a record entitled Chocolate City which envisioned African-Americans overtaking the White House. The follow up record Mothership Connection (Starchild) imagined African Americans deeper into unchartered territory – outer space. The albums were wildly successful, especially in Washington – “the Chocolate City and its vanilla suburbs.” Nearly forty years later, DC has seen tremendous change demographically with the population nearing a 50/50 racial split between white and black residents – garnering both negative and positive opinions.

Seated in the center of Washington, DC in the Park View neighborhood of Northwest, the eclectic diner Mothership is as funky as the concoctors of its namesake, Parliament. The apt name and location of this neighborhood haunt, has inspired the large scale graphic mural by Nekisha Durrett Fall In Line. In keeping with prevalent themes related to the ubiquity of popular media and storytelling throughout Durrett’s work, Fall In Line pictures a succession of gargantuan, cartoon inspired beings of various sorts waiting to board their homebound “mothership.” This playful work aspires to celebrate the diversity of the surrounding Park View neighborhood while harkening back to a time in the city’s history that could be overlooked in the bustling swell of development and change.

Launch Event for Latest Installment of Georgia Avenue Window Walk is This Sunday

November 7, 2014

GAWW_id_8.29.11On Sunday, November 9th, at 2 p.m. the third Georgia Avenue Window Walk will have a launch celebration and art walk to showcase the latest additions of public art on Georgia Avenue. The event will start at the Pleasant Plains Workshop at 2 p.m., and the walk itself will begin at 3 p.m. The walk will showcase works displayed at five businesses (from the south to the north): Mama Chuy (2610 Georgia Ave), Pilates studio From the Core Studios (3111 Georgia Ave.), Morgan’s Seafood (3200 Georgia Ave.) Yoga Heights (3506 Georgia Ave.), and EatsPlace (3607 Georgia Ave.). A reception will be held at EatsPlace following the walk.

The Georgia Avenue Window Walk is a temporary public art project co-presented by Pleasant Plains Workshop and the Georgia Ave Community Development Task Force that engages residents and visitors to the community by placing art installations in storefront spaces along the lower Georgia Avenue Corridor.

You may also want to read Elevation DC’s article on the Window Walk as well, available here.

IMG_7505[1](The mural by artist Elizabeth Graeber at EatsPlace, one of five public art works that will be featured on Sunday’s walk)

New Mural at EatsPlace — 3607 Georgia Avenue

November 3, 2014

I like the new mural at EatsPlace, the new neighborhood “pop-uppery” in Park View. You might want to check it out next time you’re on Georgia Avenue.


%d bloggers like this: