Art Brings Hope to Depressed D.C. Neighborhood
Streets in forgotten Washington DC quarter are beginning to sparkle
as artists honor over 200 residents
D.C. – September 15, 2004 – An ambitious heritage art
project provides low-income neighborhoods with a local version of
Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Community pride has bloomed through
this collaborative effort, involving D.C. artists and neighborhood
residents of all ages (from 3 to 72). A core team of 10 artists
has already taught over 135 D.C. residents 5 mosaic arts: Granite,
Glass and Mirror, Ceramic Molds, Ceramic and Porcelain Tile, and
Recycled Materials (car keys, CDs, seashells, plates, etc.).
535 feet of street curbs in NE D.C. are being decorated with stars
and names of local heroes – including famous residents such
as Byron Leftwich (Jacksonville Jaguars) and everyday residents
such as Nakia, Diamond and Moe. A new youth café and Marvin
Gaye Park are also being decked out with mosaic trees, rivers, people
and musical notes.
Sponsored solely through a $4,000 DC Commission on Arts and Humanities
grant, the group has arranged $15,100 in material donations by individuals.
Craig Duckworth of Arc Stone II donated granite from over 28 countries
(such as Russia, Zimbabwe, Brazil), while OEC Engineering provided
126 water-jet-cut stainless-steel stars. Fused-glass pieces were
also given by artists from MD, VA, DC and NY.
“It is thrilling to be using such high-quality materials,”
says founder Jenny Carden. “Mosaics originated in Iraq and
Egypt and have always been considered an opulent art form. Part
of the idea is to be as decadent and beautiful as possible on a
very limited budget.”
group prides itself on creating an alternative to traditional town-square
statues of historical figures riding horses. “It’s not
just the heroes on TV who accomplish heroic things. The project
is about realizing what a colossal impact the people around you
can have in your life on a daily basis,” says Carden.
“Public art is a gift of love – for the community,
by the community,” explains Carden. “And when you honor
everyday people in public art, you get a different level of excitement
and participation.” After waiting three weeks to install his
name, resident Wendell Kinney beams, “I'm going to show my
grandchildren that your name doesn’t have to only go up after
Final Celebration 3pm September 18th, 2004.
For information: http://www.artontheblock.net