by Tim Regan — November 12, 2015 at 11:20 am 0

Sweater art project

Locals will place dozens of donated sweaters on the ground throughout Kalorama Park next month as part of an art project to help remember D.C.’s homicide victims.

ANC 1C Commissioner Hector Huezo is collecting sweater donations for the project that he and other Kalorama-area residents conceived in September.

“I was keeping track of all of the homicides in D.C. … and we started seeing a spike,” Huezo said. But it wasn’t until a man was shot during a robbery near Kalorama Park that the commissioner decided to do something.

“After that, I said, we’ve got to do something to bring the community together and bring awareness to what’s going on,” Huezo said.

So far, Huezo said he has collected 90 sweaters, but would like to match the total number of D.C. homicides by next month. The tricky part, said Huezo, is that the target keeps getting higher.

“One of the ideas that came to my head was to collect a sweater for every single life lost in the District,” Huezo said. “But the number of deaths keeps rising.”

The art project itself will come together on Dec. 12 at 2 p.m., when a group of Kalorama residents will carry the sweaters from Huezo’s apartment building to the park and lay them on the ground. The crowd will then take a two-minute moment of silence to remember the homicide victims.

Huezo said the sweaters will be donated to a local shelter after the art exhibit concludes.

“It serves a dual purpose,” Huezo said. “From my perspective, it’ll bring our neighborhood together … It’s a symbol.”

To donate a sweater to the art project, e-mail Hector Huezo.

Photo courtesy of Hector Huezo

by Tim Regan — November 2, 2015 at 1:30 pm 0

New art coming to L and 19th streets, photo courtesy of Golden Triangle BID

An intersection downtown will soon look a little more artistic.

Workers will install four new wooden sculptures in the small “rain gardens” on all four corners of 19th and L Streets NW this Friday and Saturday, announced the Golden Triangle BID this morning

Local artist Foon Sham will officially unveil his new wooden sculptures at 19th and L streets NW next Friday at noon. The temporary works of art were constructed from 3,700 pieces of wood and made to look like water-collecting vessels.

More information from the Golden Triangle BID press release:

“The sculptures bring natural elements to an unexpected place. They complement the function of the rain garden and contrast the busy urban intersection,” said Sham.

“Thousands of people walk by this busy intersection on a daily basis; we wanted to catch their eye with this unexpected art so they will take a moment to stop and enjoy the beautiful space. This project supports our greater goal to add visual diversity and interest to the public realm,” explains Executive Director Leona Agouridis.

The four rain gardens at 19th and L streets NW can filter tens of thousands of gallons of runoff annually by capturing rainfall and controlling the storm water overflow. They were built by the Golden Triangle BID in partnership with the District Department of Energy & Environment, with funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 319 Program.

The new sculptures are not the first public art pieces in the Golden Triangle; the BID continuously adds color and texture throughout the neighborhood. Past projects include artistic lights along the Connecticut Avenue Median, art on the walls of the entrances to the Farragut North and Farragut West Metro stations, six artistic bike racks throughout the neighborhood, and most recently, light art at Murrow and Monroe Parks.

Renderings courtesy of Golden Triangle BID

by Tim Regan — October 30, 2015 at 10:30 am 0

Five local artists will debut new murals during a ceremony in Blagden Alley this afternoon.

Attendees can witness the ceremony and view art from muralists Bill Warrell, Lisa Marie Thalhammer, Rozeal Brown, Aniekan Udofia and Cita Chelove between M and N and 9th and 10th streets NW today at 4 p.m.

The event is meant to mark the opening of the “D.C. Alley Museum,” an outdoor collection of murals “that features D.C. artists open 24/7 without restrictions.”

“As the lead artist I have committed my entire career to this city’s artistic wellbeing, first as a curator and now joining my fellow artists,” said Warrell in a statement. “A coalition of painters from the region have been coming together in my studio and we have created the DC Alley Museum here in Blagden Alley.”

The outdoor exhibition was assembled with “generous support” from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities’ public art program.

Photos via Shaw Main Streets

by Andrew Ramonas — October 23, 2015 at 11:55 am 3 Comments

Ben's Chili Bowl mural on Oct. 19

When a North Korean dictator temporarily ousted an American comedian accused of rape from a mural on Ben’s Chili Bowl earlier this week, some people cheered. Others weren’t as pleased.

Though many have agreed the Cosby mural needs to go, some criticized the pasted-on art as being unfair to the artist who painted the mural, Aniekan Udofia. During a “Kojo Nnamdi Show” interview earlier this week, Udofia said he was upset that the street artist affixed a grinning visage of Kim Jong Un over Cosby’s face, calling it “disrespectful.”

Smear Leader, the artist who defaced Udofia’s mural, told Washingtonian the art was a “success,” and that his aim was to generate discussion about Cosby’s place on the mural, not diss a respected local muralist.

But even some who loudly criticize the Cosby mural don’t agree with Smear Leader’s approach.

Devin Boyle, who wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post calling for the controversial mural to be painted over and launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to help fund a replacement work of art, said defacing the mural was “counterproductive” to bringing about change.

“At the end of the day, he is someone [the owners] have respected for so long,” said Boyle, a 30-year-old public relations professional who lives on U Street.

What do you think? Do you back the street artist who defaced the Cosby mural at Ben’s, or do you think the act was disrespectful to the muralist? Weigh in by voting in the poll and telling us what you think in the comments.

by Tim Regan — October 19, 2015 at 12:10 pm 7,364 3 Comments

Ben's Chili Bowl hit by Smear Leader

(Update at 5:44 p.m.: The Kim Jong Un face has been removed.)

The Bill Cosby mural at Ben’s Chili Bowl has been defaced. As in, literally.

A street artist going by the name “Smear Leader”affixed the grinning visage of Kim Jong Un on top of Cosby’s head some time within the past 24 hours. The artist took credit for the piece earlier today on Instagaram.

“Instead of looking at a sexual predator, people can celebrate in jubilation that the great leader is now on the their wall,” the post reads. “Eat sh-t Cosby.”

Why Kim Jong Un? As detailed in a recent interview with The Daily Beast, vandalizing things with Kim Jong Un’s face is kind of Smear Leader’s thing.

We reached out to Smear Leader via e-mail earlier today. This afternoon, he responded:

“I drew the original piece but get them printed now due to the overwhelming demand for them on our site,” he said. “We have them posted all over the world from Australia, Kazakstan, South Korea, Russia, Brazil, you name it, the Leader is somewhere smiling.”

When asked whether he was afraid of being identified on the eatery’s security cameras, Smear Leader said, “as far as the security camera thing goes, I was aware of that but the fact that they still have that monster Cosby up on their mural is a risk worth taking.

Smear Leader continues: “It’s even more of an outrage that they have said nothing and distanced themselves from the situation that a man used his power to take advantage and sexually assault over 35 women. If you had a friend who did this, would you do the same thing?”

“Why Kim Jong Un?” he added. “The man is happily married with a  beautiful daughter and works to make a better life for his people. Some may disagree but between the two of them in comparison to one another but it’s not even a debate. Cosby is Slime and as long as Ben’s allows his face to be up there, they don’t have the right to be upset at ANY criticism coming their way.”

A representative from Ben’s Chili Bowl was not available to comment.

by Tim Regan — September 28, 2015 at 10:35 am 0

Art All Night, photo via Twitter/ArtAllNightDC

Musicians, artists, performers and crowds of onlookers filled the streets and sidewalks in five D.C. neighborhoods during this year’s Art All Night.

In Dupont Circle and Shaw, musicians played, shadows came to life, buildings changed colors and artists collaborated. Naturally, such a spectacle prompted a veritable tweetstorm of art:


Did you see anything interesting? Let us know via e-mail or Twitter and we might add it to this post.

Photo via Twitter/ArtAllNightDC

by Tim Regan — August 25, 2015 at 2:10 pm 1 Comment

The founder of a Columbia Heights arts nonprofit had plenty to curse about earlier this month.

BloomBars founder John Chambers says a thief broke into his organization’s art space at 3222 11th Street NW and stole two donation boxes and change from a swear jar on Aug. 9 around 2:25 a.m.

“He threw a rock through the window,” Chambers says. “That guy must be a pitcher or something because he really wound up.”

The organization’s surveillance cameras filmed the alleged crime.

In a video Chambers uploaded to Youtube yesterday, a man can be seen donning a ski mask and gloves, then hurling a chunk of pavement through a glass window. The man then appears to scoop up loose change from an overturned jar and nab two metal donation boxes.

“He probably made away with and three hundred dollars, and the window was about three hundred and fifty to four hundred dollars,” Chambers says. “We’re coming up onto Columbia Heights day, we need to get brochures printed and there’s a lot that needs to happen. That’s seven or eight hundred dollars we don’t have now.”

Chambers says he reported the theft to police, but hasn’t heard if any arrests were made.

A spokesperson for D.C. Police was not available to provide more information about the crime.

In the time since the burglary occurred, the chunk of cement thrown by the burglar and the window it broke have both been turned into art installations on display at the gallery.

BloomBars will launch a crowdfunding campaign to recoup some its losses later this week, Chambers says.

Video via BloomBars

by Jared Holt — July 27, 2015 at 11:30 am 0

The Beach

Ward 2 residents can frolic in a giant ball pit for free tomorrow morning.

From 9 to 11 a.m., residents of Councilmember Jack Evans’ ward can freely enter The BEACH, a National Building Museum (401 F Street NW) exhibit with nearly one million translucent plastic balls and a “shoreline” decked with beach chairs and tables.

Visitors are welcome to dive into the massive ball pit, play beach games like paddleball and bring a book to read in the beach furniture.

Attendees must show a valid form of I.D. at the admissions desk to enter the BEACH. Visitors must use the F Street entrance between 5th and 6th streets.

The event is part of the museum’s Ward Days series.

Photo via Flickr.com/NationalBuildingMuseum

by Tim Regan — July 22, 2015 at 2:45 pm 1 Comment

DC Zine Fest

More than 55 artists will set up shop at St. Stephen Incarnate (1525 Newton Street NW) in Columbia Heights this weekend as part of this year’s DC Zinefest.

Attendees will be able to view and buy small-press comics and zines from artists and creators from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Local artists in attendance will include Andrew Cohen, creator of Howzit Funnies, Fantom Comics manager Esther Kim, DC Conspiracy co-founder and DC Punk creator Evan Keeling and comic book journalist Josh Kramer.

The event is free to the public.

Photo via DC Zinefest

by Jared Holt — July 22, 2015 at 1:00 pm 0

Satellite shorts video club

An art space will screen a looped compilation of short films all weekend near Farragut Square.

Workingman Collective will debut the films as the final event of its “Satellite” project with Hemphill Art Gallery at 1700 L Street NW.

Films from artists James Huckenpahler, Marc Ganzglass, Sue Wrbican, Sean Watkins, Anne Smith, Justin Plakas, Rachel Debuque, Casey Smith, Kate Plourde and Colby Caldwell will be screened starting Friday at 7 p.m.

The premiere will include free popcorn and a discussion of the project with members of the collective.

Caitlin Berry, Associate Director of Hemphill Art Gallery, says the artists’ films are meant to “reflect on the analog creation of media in a now mostly digital age.”

Following the film premiere, the short films will be projected onto a wall behind a plywood recreation of the Early Bird, the world’s first commercial communications satellite.

The short films will be continuously looped inside the space, which is visible from the street, for the remainder of the weekend.

Image Courtesy of Hemphill Art Gallery

by Daniel Levitt — July 9, 2015 at 5:00 pm 0

DC Arts Center will exhibit work from dozens of local artists this weekend during its annual 1460 Wallmountables show.

A mob of artists showed up yesterday and today to pay $15 to hang up to five pieces of art on the gallery’s walls.

Executive Artistic Director B. Stanley said the event regularly attracts up to 100 artists from around the District. This year was no exception.

Artists lined up outside the gallery door before the submission period yesterday, said Stanley.

“Everybody was trying to get the middle row. It was sort of like a race to the great frontier,” Stanley said.

Tomorrow night at 7 p.m., a group of judges will survey the art and award one artist with $100 and a a “Best Use of Space” superlative.

Artist Steve Wanna won top honors at last year’s show.

“As an experimental artist, it inspires to come up innovative ways of using the space,” said Wanna in an e-mail. “It’s the perfect lab to test out some ideas in a playful, encouraging space.”

The exhibition runs until Aug. 30.

Check the DC Arts Center website for details on attending the event and submitting your own artwork.

by Tim Regan — July 1, 2015 at 4:05 pm 1 Comment

Gallery Neptune and Brown

A new art gallery will open in the space formerly occupied by Gallery Plan B on July 18.

Two Georgetown galleries, Neptune Fine Art and Robert Brown Gallery announced today the opening of a joint “satellite space” called Gallery Neptune and Brown.

The new gallery will be located in the old Gallery Plan B space, across the street from the Studio Theatre at 1530 14th Street NW.

Former Gallery Plan B Director David Kalamar will be hired on to help manage the new location, confirmed Robert Brown of Robert Brown Gallery.

Nepture Fine Art owner Christine Neptune and Robert Brown will co-own the space.

Gallery Plan B owner Paula Amt announced the closure of her beloved 14th Street art space last Monday.

“We decided after the 10 year anniversary that it was time,” Amt told Borderstan. “Go out on a high note with good memories and accomplishments.”

Amt will not return to help with the new gallery.

The gallery’s first exhibit, “Summer Splash on 14th Street,” will run from July 18 until September 5 and feature artists Polly Apfelbaum, Donald Baechler, Ellsworth Kelly and Philip Taaffe.

Neptune Fine Art was founded in New York City in 2000, an focuses mainly on modern and contemporary art.

Robert Brown Gallery first opened in Georgetown in 1981. Over the years, Brown has exhibited artists such as Roger Ballen, Oleg Kudryashov, Sol Lewitt and David Nash.

Photo courtesy Gallery Neptune and Brown

by Tim Regan — June 22, 2015 at 12:45 pm 0

Plan B Gallery, photo via Plan B Gallery

Local artists now have one less place in which to hang their work.

Gallery Plan B owner Paula Amt and director David Kalamar announced in a Facebook post yesterday that the gallery located across the street from the Studio Theatre is closed for good.

Amt confirmed the closure earlier today via e-mail.

“We are closing, not moving,” said Amt. “Our last exhibition finished yesterday and we will be out of the space by the end of the month.”

“We decided after the 10 year anniversary that it was time,” added Amt. “Go out on a high note with good memories and accomplishments.”

The business, which opened a decade ago on the first floor of 1530 14th Street NW, had been a popular exhibition space for local photographers, painters and sculptors.

Amt said a new art-themed business would open in the space later this summer, but would not offer any additional details.

Photo via GalleryPlanB.com

by Bryan Doyle — June 18, 2015 at 9:00 am 0


K-9 Tragedy — Romo, the beloved bull mastiff/pit bull mix and unofficial mascot of Adams Morgan, is leaving the neighborhood for Arlington. [NBC Washington]

Red Onion Revival — Sadly, Romo wasn’t the only loss for the 18th Street area. Red Onion Records is leaving too; luckily, the popular record store is moving close by on U Street NW. [Borderstan]

Cool Map Bro — A couple of adventures in D.C. mapping today. First, a look at all the D.C. outdoor art projects throughout the city. [Bad Wolf DC]

Housing Legacy of Segregation — Our next map is more academic, and it’s worth a read. It focuses on the efforts of historians Sarah Shoenfeld and Mara Cherkasky as they document, block by block, the historical ramifications of segregation in the district. [Park View DC]

by Laetitia Brock — June 1, 2015 at 1:10 pm 0

U Street is paying homage to american actor, singer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson with “Living Timeline,” a new mural currently in the works on the 1300 blocks of U Street NW.

ART B.L.O.C is an art collective founded by Cory Stowers. As reported by the Washington Post, the collective received a $50,000 city grant from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to paint the tribute on the side of the Hung Tao Choy Mei Leadership Institute at 1351 U Street NW. The work looks almost complete.

Currently, two large portraits of Robeson occupy the two opposite ends of the dark grey wall. Between them, a series of seven round vignettes depicting Robeson at various stages of his life are scattered throughout the wall.

Above the vignettes, passers-by can read a quote widely attributed to Robeson:  “I make no distinction between my work as an artist and my life as a human being.” According to drawings and plans for the mural, the vignettes still need to be linked by a timeline, with important dates in the life of Robeson.

An interactive component of the mural will allow Washingtonians to scan a photo of the mural into an app on their phone to gain access to stories of the different stages of Robeson’s life included in the timeline.

My favorite is the last one, which depicts him in front of the Eiffel Tower, a reference to the trip he took to France to attend the Soviet Union-sponsored Paris Peace Conference.

This will be the second tribute to Paul Robeson in the city. “(Here I Stand) In the Spirit of Paul Robeson,” a public artwork by artist Allen Uzikee Nelson, can currently be seen at the intersection of Kansas Avenue and Georgia Avenue NW, in Petworth.

Laetitia Brock grew up in Paris and landed in D.C. to get her masters at George Washington University. During the day, she works for a trade association near Thomas Circle, but in the evening and on the weekends, she loves discovering new street art around town and exploring the district’s bustling restaurant scene. In addition to contributing to Borderstan, she writes about her favorite DC spots for the travel website Spotted by Locals, and on her own blog, FrenchTwistDC.

Follow her on twitter at @laetitiabrock.


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