I have seen that participatory public art can be a powerful platform for voice. When people come together to craft a shared vision, they start to build empathy where it may have seemed impossible, and can start to dissect complex social issues that face our world and affect us all. Creating art together helps establish bonds that transcend the boundaries that can keep us separate and siloed. Art is magic.
A commission for the Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) and their education program. A day spent in the best way possible: painting a DC Water storm drain with highly fun and energetic 5th graders from Kimball Elementary School. The aim of the AWS artist collaborator project is education and awareness raising about storm drains, water pollution, and actions that neighborhoods can take to improve environmental wellbeing.
Mural painted in Anacostia, Washington, DC, in February 2018, for the Frederick Douglass bicentennial.
Pictured is Frederick Douglass on the lawn of his Cedar Hill house, the Anacostia river, DC Capitol and Washington monument in the background. FD is with his friends and contemporaries, including abolitionist John Brown, activist and first black graduate of Harvard Richard Greener, journalist, Civil Rights leader and suffragette Ida Wells, first African American senator Blanche Bruce, abolitionist Wendell Phillips, and author and poet Grace Greenwood, PLUS a number of modern day Anacostia neighborhood kids.
Photos here include a few of the amazing creative contributors, images from publications, mural details, and opening ceremony shots with Nettie Washington Douglass, Frederick Douglass's great great granddaughter, and Ken Morris, his great great great grandson. Ken and Nettie visited as part of the bicentennial celebrations and handed out copies of a new edition of Frederick Douglass's first book,"Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave" as part of their Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives (FDFI).
Final additions to the mural were done in collaboration with community members and students.
A collective art piece created for International Women's Day in Washington DC. 700+ participants helped add color, words, names, passion and thoughts to this piece of dancing and powerful women rapidly rising up. These colorful goddesses of that International Women's Day community can't be tamed and the movement towards gender equality can't be stopped. Words embedded by audience members include: "Black Lives Matter", "Nevertheless, she persisted", "Trans Lives Matter", "Women are Inferior to None", "The Future is Female", "Keep Your Head Up", "Empowered Women Empower Women", "Women Are Strong as Hell", "El Pueblo Unido, Jamás Será Vencido", and "Le Pouvoir Des Femmes".