Public Art Installations to Come to DC
Published: Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 02:02
The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities recently commissioned its second installation of the public arts exhibition, The 5x5 Project, which will place 25 curated art installations around the District this fall.
The project, which runs from September to December 2014, will feature exhibits from five renowned curators: Lance Fung, Shamim Momin, Stephanie Sherman, Justine Topfer and A.M. Weaver. Each curator will choose works from five artists respectively, culminating in 25 art installations to be placed throughout the District’s eight wards.
“It’s like having a canvas in the community where people can enjoy, experience and have civic pride in their neighborhoods. It really helps to spur civic pride within the neighborhoods of the city,” DCCAH Executive Director Lionell Thomas said.
According to Thomas, the project was initiated in spring 2012 in conjunction with the National Cherry Blossom Festival and has served to further develop art in the District.
“It is part of our overall 10-year master plan, and as a part of that, it was cited that we need to do more public temporary art in order to help expand and develop art in the neighborhoods,” Thomas said, as well as to “bring the art to the residents and visitors of the District of Columbia. That’s why we undertook this project, because it was something that was identified as a need from the community.”
The DCAAH has allotted $500,000 to the project to be split amongst the five curators. Lance Fung, Chief Curator at Fung Collaboratives said that the small budget poses a unique challenge for the project.
“Our projects are typically huge,” Fung said. “Fung Collaboratives and I have done public art exhibitions usually in the multi-million dollar range … What is an asset for doing this project in D.C. and with DCCAH is that they really want it to be intellectual — and they want it to be cutting edge: the most interesting, thought provoking art work that we can do.”
Fung’s project, “Nonuments,” will feature five art monuments based on contemporary themes, such as human trafficking and global warming.
“D.C. is known for its monuments,” Fung said. “There are so many historical monuments and many are beautiful and artistic, but in creating ‘Nonuments,’ I felt it would be interesting to give the artists a chance to create these sculptures that relate to their current passions and concerns and things that may not really get addressed for a monument in current day.”
For fellow 5x5 curator Stephanie Sherman, who will explore disparate visions of the future with her project, “Near Future,” the importance of public art lies in its ability to touch the daily lives of D.C. residents.
“I think the most important thing is that lots of people who aren’t looking for art discover it, [which is a] really different situation than a gallery or museum where people have to want to discover art,” Sherman said. “I think public art is something unexpected, sort of a vision of a landscape that is part of the big landscape that we all have in our daily lives.”
Thomas said he hoped the installations would show off a more cultured side of the District.
“That’s what I want people to see: that Washington D.C. is the vibrant cultural capital of the United States, and that there is a lot of art and culture that is really bustling here,” Thomas said. “Our hope is that we touch the lives of all of our residents and visitors, and that in some way, shape or form everyone is touched by this project and that they are really engaged.”
Soraya Eid (MSB ’17) looked forward to seeing the exhibits in the fall.
“I will definitely go see them,” Eid said.“I really appreciate that the District is taking the initiative to promote art, because D.C. is one of those big cities [where] other than the big museums there’s not much art in the city.”