Proposed Gaia Mural on Barracks Row Creates Unnecessary Controversy

By Phil Hutinet on March 7, 2013
Proposed Gaia mural on the side of 524 Eighth Street SE on Barracks Row.  Photo Courtesy Vanessa Lim.
Proposed Gaia mural on the side of 524 Eighth Street SE on Barracks Row. Photo Courtesy Vanessa Lim.
.
Editorial

A proposed mural by world-renowned artist Gaia has created some very unnecessary controversy on Barracks Row.  The mural would be painted on the side of 524 Eighth Street SE.  The privately owned building houses Persian restaurant Tash which opened its doors last month.

Gaia recently completed a massive mural called “Dusk of H Street” last summer on the side wall of Smith Commons restaurant located on the 1200 block of H street NE.  The public art piece received a warm welcome from the neighborhood and has had positive aesthetic impact on a block once dominated by Auto Zone’s expansive parking lot, the vestige of an era when city planners sought to “suburbanize” H Street NE in an attempt to revitalize it.

Gaia has accomplished a great deal at a very young age.  At 24, he has already been inducted into a major museum- the Baltimore Museum of Art Contemporary Wing (though not without some controversy due to his age).  He has produced commission work all over the US, in Europe and in Asia.  Purveyors of urban chique actively seek to commission his murals not only to beautify their neighborhoods but to cast their locale in a positive light while creating publicity.

However a couple of neighbors who reside nearby have opposed the mural and plan on speaking out against it.

Like other admirers of Gaia’s work, Tash owner Vanessa Lim has offered to generously commission a public art piece entirely at her expense.  Barracks Row would be extremely fortunate to have an artist of Gaia’s caliber create a significant piece of public art permanently displayed for all to enjoy.

I strongly encourage everyone who wishes to see this mural come to fruition attend the ANC 6B Meeting on Tuesday March 12 at 7pm at the Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital located at 921 Pennsylvania avenue SE between 9th and 10th streets SE.

If you cannot make it to the hearing and testify in person, please email me your letter of support to editor@eastcityart.com which I will personally present to the ANC during my testimony.

.

.

.

.