D.C. to Announce Seven New Public Art Murals
DCCAH | 10/23/2010, 12:46 p.m.
Program is Designed to Help Combat Graffiti
Thanks to a unique partnership, seven communities in the District are a little more colorful. Councilmember Jim Graham, the DC Commission on the Arts and the Humanities (DCCAH), and the Department of Public Works (DPW) will announce seven new murals as part of the MuralsDC program Tuesday, October 26, 2010, at 10:00 am.
The event will take place in front of the Ward 1 mural at the former Bruce Monroe School site (the mural is located in the 700 block of Columbia Road, NW). The event will culminate with a brief mobile tour of the murals and a celebration at the tour's final stop at 1432 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.
Councilmember Graham launched MuralsDC in 2007, to combat the growing trend of illegal graffiti and reduce urban blight. DPW receives funding for the program through the Committee on Public Works, chaired by Graham, and works with DCCAH and the Midnight Forum, a non-profit after school arts program, to locate potential mural sites and artists.
By pairing local artists with District youth, the program provides a positive learning environment for youth to express their artistic talent, respect public and private property, and gain greater community appreciation.
Through the program, 27 works of public art have been installed throughout Wards 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8, since its inception. Murals are installed in neighborhoods, or on properties, hardest hit by graffiti.
"This year we were able to address some particularly highly targeted areas and also created original art at two locations where lots of children convene and can be inspired daily," said Councilmember Jim Graham, referring to murals located on a playground and school in Ward 1 and 8 respectively.
"With the guidance of the Midnight Forum, we will continue to work with some of the region's best known artists to help our youth turn 'blightness' into brightness."
"We are committed to strengthening communities through art as a tool for not only expression but engagement and education, especially with our youth population" said DCCAH Executive Director Gloria Nauden. "Proactive outreach to youth to do something positive is far more effective than the time reprimanding them for doing something negative. And, usually results in a better outcome in their quality of life and overall community."
DCCAH has provided a "citywide cell phone tour" of public art destinations that include all twenty-seven murals. By dialing 202-292-2656 and pressing the assigned stop number, guests can be connected to the voice of the artists who describe the artistic process involved in the creation of their perspective artwork.
The seven murals, located in Wards 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 and 8 each reflect the character, culture and, in some cases, the history, of the neighborhoods in which they are located. For example, the Capitol Hill east mural in Ward 6 pays tribute to legendary composer and marching band leader John Philip Sousa, a DC native, while the Deanwood mural in Ward 7 incorporates nostalgic scenes of the community's past.
"Municipalities, businesses and private citizens typically spend millions of dollars each year to remove graffiti from public and private property and we're seeing graffiti taggers become increasingly brazen," said DPW Director William O. Howland, Jr., whose agency responds to more than 1,000 requests for graffiti removal each year.
"We're definitely seeing the financial benefit of MuralsDC, even it means just one less wall that we have to come out and treat or repaint."
To date, very few of the buildings that have participated in the program have been retagged and those that are have reported only minimal graffiti.
"Our experience with MuralsDC has been 100 percent positive," said Ginny Johnson, Director of Development for MOMI DC, which owns and manages an apartment building that received a mural last year. The building, located near the Takoma Park metro, runs along the red line tracks and was a prime and repeat location for graffiti. "One year later - it has accomplished exactly what it was intended to do. We have had no problems with pesky tagging on the wall since the mural was completed and it is a great addition to our building, community, and to the scenery for red line metro riders."
For more information about the city's free graffiti removal services, visit DPW's website at www.dc.gov. To get a sneak preview of this year's murals visit http://muralsdc.wordpress.com/ and play the MuralsDC video or locate the stop numbers for each mural for a personal tour.