DCentric » Public Art http://dcentric.wamu.org Race, Class, The District. Wed, 16 May 2012 20:20:35 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 Copyright © WAMU Black History Through D.C. Murals (Photos) http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/02/black-history-through-d-c-murals-photos/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/02/black-history-through-d-c-murals-photos/#comments Tue, 21 Feb 2012 19:28:55 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=14235 Continue reading ]]> From Northwest to Southeast, D.C.’s public murals help tell the story of black history. Take a look at our gallery below, showcasing some of these public artworks.

Notable figures depicted in the murals include: Carter G. Woodson, considered “the father of black history;” activist and leader Malcolm X; abolitionist and writer Frederick Douglass; and poet Langston Hughes.

Some of the murals are funded by the District government, while others are privately-commissioned. There are also a few that are quite new, while others will soon disappear due to development. The gallery presents a snapshot of D.C. murals relating to black history, so feel free to post photos of other such murals in the comments section.

This mural on 7th Street NW in Shaw depicts historian Carter G. Woodson, considered the "father of black history." Woodson lived in D.C. Poet Langston Hughes and historian Carter G. Woodson, both once Shaw residents, are depicted in the Shaw Community Mural on 9th Street NW. The Shiloh Baptist Church is also shown in the mural, a black church that played an important role in Shaw's community life. Frederick Douglass is the centerpiece of this mural on Bread for the City's building on Good Hope Road SE. Douglass lived in a home nearby. Malcolm X is included in a mural on the building housed by Sankofa Cafe and Bookstore on Georgia Ave NW. The image comes from a famous poster that shows Malcolm X wiedling a rifle and looking outside of a window, underneath the words "By any means necessary." This relatively new mural off of U Street NW includes imagery evoking the 1963 March on Washington, which was originally called "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom." Duke Ellington is one of Washington's native sons. This mural on U Street NW was originally near the U Street Metro Station but was dismantled and moved a few blocks down to the True Reformer Building. This Duke Ellington mural was just completed in late 2011, and was painted on a building on Ward Place NW near where the jazz legend was born. This mural off of New York Avenue NE pays homage to some of D.C.'s great music legends, including Marvin Gaye. The Black Family Reunion mural shows a collage of an anonymous family through the years. Originally commissioned by the National Black McDonald's Operators Association, the 18-year-old mural on 14th Street NW will soon be replaced by development. ]]>
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Who is Tagging the Red Line? http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/04/who-is-tagging-the-red-line/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/04/who-is-tagging-the-red-line/#comments Wed, 13 Apr 2011 15:59:43 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=5684 Continue reading ]]>

Red Line D.C. Project/Katrina Paz

Saaret Yoseph has been riding the Red Line since she was a kid, and for years she casually observed the graffiti scrawled along the route from Silver Spring to Union Station. But then she became curious about it. Who was doing this?

“Around last spring or last summer, I kept seeing this one name, Ju,” she says. “He would always have images next to his tags, like Fresh Prince of Bel-Air or Kanye West bears, and I just got really, really curious about this one tag. It became kind of a personal hunt but at the same time I became very curious as to what other people thought about it.”

She started talking with a variety of folks: graffiti writers, artists, community organizers, D.C. officials and others, and the conversations weren’t just about art. Discussions about public space, access, revitalization versus blight and D.C.’s changing neighborhoods were all intertwined with the graffiti seen on the Red Line. Thus began The Red Line D.C. Project, Yoseph’s documentary project and associated blog that proclaims “in Washington, D.C., the most accessible art form isn’t in the museums. it’s on the Metro.”

“I’m hoping I’m representative of other commuters who want to have a talk back. The way graffiti is, it’s kind of this one-way conversation,” Yoseph says.

She is now using the project as a way to launch a dialogue (it’s partially funded by nonprofit Words Beats & Life) and she has even folded it into her master’s coursework at Georgetown University, where she is earning a degree in communication, culture and technology.

Yoseph sees graffiti “almost in the same way I look at street signs. For me, it’s what’s the difference between this and looking at Ben Ali Way? It’s really just a marker of the people who have been there and existing in that space.”

One of the things that has most surprised Yoseph is the demographic profile of many — but not all — of the Red Line’s most prominent graffiti writers: white teens or young adults living in Maryland suburbs.

As for why that’s the case, Yoseph isn’t so sure.

“There’s plenty more people to talk to, and more graffiti writers I want to chat with. I’m kind of an outsider coming into it,” she says. “For me, it’s almost about asking ‘why?’ to everything.”

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