Mustache Mural Honors John Philip Sousa

By Editorial Team on September 10, 2010

Editor’s Note: This Mural has now been covered up by a new building that has been erected in the adjacent lot as of 2014.

Last week, I caught up with Alicia Cosnahan, AKA Decoy, on the 1400 block of Pennsylvania Avenue SE.  Cosnahan was working on the latest public art project, “The Mustache Mural”, which was being painted on the side of 1432 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Alicia Cosnahan at the foot of the scaffolding for the “Mustache Mural”(Photo © East City Art)
On a vacant parking lot between a row of businesses and a vacant fast food restaurant, Cosnahan stages her supplies to paint the mural.  Cans of paint, brushes and water, used both for cleaning brushes and re-hydration, line the shaded portion of the lot on this hot summer day.  Along the wall, Cosnahan deftly climbs the scaffolding as she paints in the larger shapes and forms that will make up the mural.
View of the mural in progress(Photo © East City Art)
The mural pays homage to John Philip Sousa and his legacy, the US Marine Corps Band, part of  Washington DC’s  rich musical tradition.  The bold colors welcomes motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to the  Capitol Hill as they travel west towards the Capitol.
Detail of the mural.  The mustaches will be added by Albus Cavus Students(Photo © East City Art)
The mural is a project of Murals DC.  As Cosnahan put it “they find places for us to paint and we paint the murals”.  Cosnhan coordinated the effort with Albus Cavus, a national arts organization that provides public art project experience to students.   In addition to helping Cosnahan paint the mural, students of all ages were encouraged to design beards and mustaches for the musicians.
Mural Detail.  The pattern was inspired by the white House’s Fence(Photo © East City Art)
The mural design went through a somewhat rigorous approval process which included  input from the local ANC, the Capitol Hill Restoration Society (CHRS) and a panel of Jurors.  It is set to be completed sometime in September. A large opening ceremony is planned which will possibly include brass bands from local High Schools.   Final times and dates will be listed here as an update to this post.