Features

Unveiling of Shaw’s Outdoor Alley Museum

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Looking east down Blagden Alley in Shaw. Photo by Phil Hutinet for East City Art.

 

On Friday October 30, 2015, DC’s “Alley Museum” officially opened to the public. Located Shaw’s Blagden Alley, the outdoor museum consists of seven completed murals by artists Bill Warrell, Lisa Marie Thalhammer, Rozeal Brown, Aniekan Udofia, Cita Sadeli Chelove, Craig Nelson and Kelly Towles.

Conceived by Warrell and Thalhammer, the Museum current consists of seven works, one by each of the participating artists. Funded mostly by a DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities “Public Art Building Communities” grant, the work of creating the Museum began on the fourth of July, 2015. Warrell and Thalhammer hope to expand the outdoor museum’s offerings by adding new work in the coming years.

Warrell, who owned the 9:30 Club and DC Space during the heyday of DC Hardcore is also an artist; his mural System of Politics and Art in the Alley Museum pays visual homage to many of the city’s figures who contributed to DC’s autochthonous cultural movements of the last four decades.

Craig Nelson contributed his piece The Sitter, made up of 32,000 natural stone mosaics. The Sitter is the outline of a man whose photo was taken in Blagden Alley sometime in the 1920s. Based the artist’s interpretation of the photo, he believes that the placement of his piece in the alley corresponds to where the subject sat when he was photographed over 90 years ago.

In contrast, Thalhamer’s mural employs a complimentary purple and yellow palette to create one of her signature portraits. Thalhamer purposefully used a particular hue of purple which says “represents the highest chakra—the crown chakra” referring to the one of the seven spirituals centers of the human body as described by Indian philosophy.

A strong partnership between neighboring Blagden Alley residents and businesses helped make this project possible. As a result of the Museum’s first iteration, Thalhammer believes that other property owners who abut the alley will donate facades and garage doors to the project in the future.

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Official ribbon cutting ceremony with (from left to right): Lisa Marie Thalhammer (artist), Tonya Jordan (DCCAH), Keona Pearson (DCCAH), unknown, Alex Prado (Shaw Main Streets), Bill Warrell (artist), Lisa Richards Toney (DCCAH) and Cita Sadeli Chelove. Photo by Phil Hutinet for East City Art.

An official ribbon cutting ceremony took place at dusk with a 100 person crowd in attendance. Cutting the ceremonial ribbon included Lisa Marie Thalhammer, Tonya Jordan of the DCCAH, Keona Pearson of DCCAH , Alex Prado of Shaw Main Streets, Bill Warrell and Lisa Richards Toney as her last day as acting Interim Executive Director of the DCCAH.

For those wishing to visit the Museum, Blagden Alley is located in Shaw between 9th and 10th streets and M and N streets NW.

Below, a series of images capture the murals as they are seen in the Alley Museum

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Bill Warrell A System of Politics and Art (2015)
India ink, spray enamel, and spar glaze on steel gate
200” x 96”
Funded by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities
Photo by Phil Hutinet for East City Art

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Lisa Marie Thalhammer
Meditation (2015)
Spray enamel on steel gate 170” x 85”
Funded by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities
Photo by Phil Hutinet for East City Art

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Rozeal Brown
Makers of Saints Mural (2015)
Acrylic on steel gate
132” x 120”
Funded by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities
Photo by Phil Hutinet for East City Art

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Aniekan Udofia
Space Is the Place (2015)
Latex and spray paint on wood panels
144” x 168”
Funded by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities
Photo by Phil Hutinet for East City Art

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Cita Sadeli Chelove
7th & E Streets NW DC (2015)v 168” x 120”
Funded by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities
Photo by Phil Hutinet for East City Art

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Craig Nelson
The Sitter (2012)
Mosaic of over 32,000 natural stone tiles on wood panel
50” x 98”
Courtesy of the Artist
Photo by Phil Hutinet for East City Art

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Kelly Towles
The Grate Project (2007)
Spray paint and marker on steel grate
112” x 108”
Funded by the Creative Community Initiative of the Community Foundation
Photo 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.