By Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at michellel[AT]borderstan.com.
So much of the local news focuses on various problems — budget shortfalls, corruption, delays and systemic breakdowns. So it is worth the five minutes of your time to check out this Washington Post piece on the “Before I die” chalkboard art project in Logan Circle (get more info on their DC project website.)
Better yet, head over to the northwest corner of 14th and Q Streets NW and check it out yourself. It’s on a wooden construction wall around the old Italian Shirt Laundry, which is in the process of becoming a French Bistro.
The chalkboard is now filled (overflowing, in fact — chalk wishes now spill over from board to wall) with the funny, sweet, sad, uplifting and trivial wishes of your neighbors. They want to fall in love, travel, be happy, give back to others… and bathe in an ocean of buttermilk. Yep, you read that right.
The chalkboard came to DC out of a man’s desire to pay tribute to his grandmother through a giving circle, a local resident who wanted to create something uplifting and an artist who originated the concept in New Orleans.
The Langston Room at Busboys & Poets was filled to capacity for Tuesday night’s panel discussion: “The Art of Vandalism: A Close Up Look at Graffiti in DC.” The event brought together graffiti artists, art advocates and government representatives in charge of cleaning up graffiti. The purpose of the forum was to better understand graffiti art and find solutions to unwanted graffiti.
The evening also served as a launch for the MuralsDC 2011 program. The MuralsDC programs hopes to create lasting efforts to keep frequently tagged walls free of graffiti by creating owner-approved murals.
Nancee Lyons, D.C. Department of Public Works (DPW) and a panelist, noted the success of the program over the past few years. Of the 34 murals created over the life of the program only three or four have been tagged by graffiti after completion. In the Borderstan neighborhood we can see examples of MuralsDC efforts at 1344 U Street NW and 1507 9th Street NW. A map and brochure about the program shows that most of the murals created in the past are east of Rock Creek Park, with almost no mural projects in Wards 2, 3 or 4.
Construction banners just went up at the long vacant lot at the southwest corner of 14th and R Streets NW. A spokesperson at Ellisdale Construction confirmed that construction of a 31-unit condominium project would begin around May 15. The property is currently a parking lot and was once a Zipcar location.
A check of D.C. property records shows that the owner of the property is Loford LLC. Back in February DC Mud reported on another property owned by Loford at 11th and V Streets NW that is being developed by Habte Sequar.
Sequar is also the developer behind The Josephine at 440 Rhode Island Avenue NW and Renaissnace @ Logan at 1618 11th Street NW.
The 14th and R property has had a number of owners and false starts over the years. At one time Robertson Development was going to develop the property. Robertson was behind the Visio, Woodson Row and Beauregard projects, all along the U Street corridor.
Just a block north of the property at 14th and S, developer JBG and Grosvenor broke ground two weeks ago for the District Condos project.
Of course many in the neighborhood will miss the love-it/hate-it mural on the side wall of the auto body shop adjacent to the vacant lot. A few years ago the mural was the subject of of an article by Washington Post art critic Blake Gopnik.