Washington, DC – Today, Mayor Bowser unveiled a special work of art created by local artists and residents to highlight the District’s fight for statehood. The project featured eight separate pieces of wood cut to scale in the shape of the District’s eight wards and hand-painted by eight different artists placed in each of the participating District Main Street locations during the last week’s Art All Night, the District’s free overnight arts festival. Before unveiling the art, Mayor Bowser spoke from one of the District’s mini parks as part of PARK(ing) Day, an annual event that gives District residents and businesses the opportunity to build pop-up parks in curbside parking spaces throughout all eight wards.
“As we continue to fight for DC statehood on the heels of this week’s historic hearing, we know that one of the main challenges we face is making sure Americans learn about injustices happening in our nation’s capital,” said Mayor Bowser. “This unique art project helps tell our story by giving thousands of District residents their chance to share what DC statehood means to them.”
The project was curated by Chris Pyrate and included the following artists: Trap Bob, Keyonna, Jamilla, Dieglo, Rikasso, Mensa, and Pzay. The art activation was commissioned in August by Mayor Bowser, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) and the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD).
“I would like thank Mayor Bowser for her vision with this art activation. This is the first time in the history of DC Art All Night that any mayor has commissioned an art activation and what better focus than DC Statehood,” said DSLBD Director Kristi Whitfield. “Last Saturday, DC Art All Night attracted over 100,000 people to experience the District’s thriving art scene and during the night thousands of these people were able to be educated and engaged about the importance of DC Statehood through these art pieces.”
Art All Night brings visual and performing arts, including painting, photography, sculpture, crafts, fashion, music, dance, theater, film, and poetry, to indoor and outdoor public and private spaces, including businesses. The all-night arts festival, modeled after Paris’ Nuit Blanche, debuted in DC 11 years ago in Shaw. During last year’s event, DC Art All Night generated over $2 million in revenue across all participating neighborhoods.
“I was born and raised in DC and have had the opportunity to travel the nation and the world, thanks to art. It’s very humbling to be able to contribute to a project like this for my city’s effort towards Statehood,” said Chris Pyrate. “It’s pretty surreal to be working alongside Mayor Bowser and DSLBD especially at a point in time where the District’s art scene is where I have always dreamed it would be.”