Walk a Little, Talk a Little Art

This weekend, Red Line D.C. went east of the river to attend a panel discussion, The Importance of Art in Public, at Anacostia Library. In a public building showing off its own aesthetic appeal, local residents gathered to hear what the artists, gatekeepers and administrators behind citywide public art projects had to say about their work’s significance. Moderating the panel was Phillip Kennicott, arts and culture writer for the Washington Post. Kennicott kicked things off by asking the panelists to consider how they defined public art and how that art “finishes a space; keeps a space present.” Though, all the participants made interesting points, standout quotes from the Saturday afternoon event came by way of Dierde Thayer Ehlen, public art manager for the D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities, and Wanda Aikens, executive director of Ward 7 Arts Collaborative. It was Ehlen’s belief, for example, that public art be “molded into the fabric of a community,” while Aikens thought it essential for a city to have “fertile ground for people to create.” Always ready to keep the red line relevant, we asked the panelists if they valued illegal public art, like metro graffiti. Talk of the Metro-Branch Trail and marginalized artworks ensued. (Excerpted video of their responses TK!)

After talking about public art at the panel, we wandered around Anacostia to find the real thing. A nearby MuralsDC site at Bread for the City (Good Hope Rd & 10th St, SE) had just been completed last week. And, not far from there, lead artist Bryan Conner and his apprentice artists were putting in work on a massive parking lot mural off Martin Luther King Blvd. Take a look at the flicks to see whats been done and what’s in-store to see for the future. To follow Aikens’ advice, public art productions, like these, are good for “waking up brain cells with color.”

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  1. Pingback: Braving Rain for our Biggest Free Farmers Market Yet | Bread for the City

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