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New Public Art Sources Local Talent, Draws Inspiration from Legendary Shaw Residents

Unveiling pre-party on P Street NW between 7th and 8th Street.  Image by Phil Hutinet for East City Art.

Unveiling party on P Street NW between 7th and 8th Streets. Image by Phil Hutinet for East City Art.

On Thursday, June 11, Roadside Development, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) and Shaw Main Streets unveiled Zachary Oxman’s Symphony in DC Major, a block-long public art piece located on the 800 block of P Street NW. Attended by over 300 people, the block-party style event featured live music and speeches from the developer, heads of city agencies and the artist.

Developer Richard Lake. Image by Phil Hutinet for East City Art.

Developer Richard Lake. Image by Phil Hutinet for East City Art.

DC-based Roadside sought to rebuild the long abandoned O Street Market using a local architectural firm and to include public artwork as part of the new development. For the latter, Roadside turned to Shaw’s Long View Gallery to find a local artist capable of producing a major public commission. The result—the original O Street Market now houses a giant Grocery store in the old market building and Zachary Oxman’s piece adorns the backside of the development’s new construction. “Our goal was to commission a unique work of art that would honor, inspire and connect our community and its impressive historical roots,” said Richard Lake, Founding Partner of Roadside.

Artist Zachary Oxman. Image by Phil Hutinet for East City Art.

Artist Zachary Oxman. Image by Phil Hutinet for East City Art.

In order to realize Symphony in DC Major, Shaw Main Streets’ Executive Director Alexander Padro applied for and successfully received a DCCAH Building Communities Grant for $100k which Roadside matched one-to-one with an additional $100K. Said Lisa Richards Toney, Acting Director of the DCCAH, “We have a developer who understands the arts. This is what our office dreams of!”

The unveiling of Alma Thomas. Image by Phil Hutinet for East City Art.

The unveiling of Alma Thomas. Images by Phil Hutinet for East City Art.

Artist Zachary Oxman, a multigenerational DC-native, created a sculptural work which extends 125 feet along P Street NW and 16 feet above the sidewalk. Symphony in DC Major pays homage, from left to right, to three Shaw neighborhood legends—musician Edward “Duke” Ellington, abolitionist Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and Washington Color School artist Alma Thomas.

Ward 6 councilmember Charles Allen summarized the result of the collaboration deftly when he stated “We have a local architect, a local developer and a local artist yielding world-class results.”

Images of each famous Shaw resident follows:

Duke Ellington. Image by Phil Hutinet for East City Art.

Duke Ellington. Image by Phil Hutinet for East City Art.

Colonel Shaw. Image by Phil Hutinet for East City Art.

Colonel Shaw. Image by Phil Hutinet for East City Art.

Alma Thomas. Image by Phil Hutinet for East City Art.

Alma Thomas. Image by Phil Hutinet for East City Art.

 

Phil Hutinet
Authored by: Phil Hutinet

Phil Hutinet, a third generation Capitol Hill resident, is the publisher of East City Art which he began in 2010 to document and promote the growing contemporary art movement in the eastern communities of Washington, DC. In 2012-2013, his consultancy work east of the river yielded the Anacostia Playhouse, Craig Kraft Studios, the Anacostia Arts Center and the 2012-2013 LUMEN8ANACOSTIA festivals. He currently produces EMULSION, East City Art's annual regional juried show. In 2015, he coordinated the Gateway Open Studio Tour and continues to consult on numerous regional art projects. Hutinet has been interviewed by or has made appearances on the BBC, Capital Community News, Washingtonian, Washington City Paper, The Washington Post, WOL Radio, WJLA ABC News Channel 7/Channel 8, WTOP and other local and national media.