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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Meet The New ARCH: Nonprofit Developer Transforms Into Arts Funder
Earlier this year, Washington Area Community Investment Fund (WACIF) acquired the Anacostia Arts Center from ARCH Development Corporation (ARCH). The much-publicized transfer of ownership is the capstone of a series of ARCH property divestures dating to 2016. The nonprofit is employing the proceeds of these sales to transform itself from a nonprofit developer into an arts funding powerhouse both in Historic Anacostia and the region.