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Storey Park Paint Jam Brightens Empty Lot in NoMa

1 Portion of Mural Honoring NoMa

“We Love NoMa” Mural Tribute by Master Artist Pose 2. This was the first mural painted on the Storey Park Site.

What happens when a Business Improvement District invites artists to play in an empty lot?  They come out in droves, and–using the parking lot and surrounding walls as their canvas–have a paint jam, a HUGE artists’ block party – where they proceed to paint the block.

According to Mazi Mutafa, Executive Director of Words, Beats, and Life, and organizer of last Saturday’s Paint Jam, Storey Park will be the largest mural in DC and the largest single piece of public art WBL has ever created.

The Storey Park site is located along 1rst Street, NE, between K and L Streets NE, bounded by the train tracks to the east.  The parcel is owned by First Potomac Realty Trust, and is slated to be developed, with a 712,000 square foot mixed-use project opening in 2017.

Words, Beats, and Life primed most of the asphalt parking lot and concrete retaining walls with white paint the last weekend in May.  This past weekend, organizers marked off parking lot spaces with tape, and assigned each artist a space to paint.  They marked wall space with dots of spray paint.

Words, Beats, and Life reached out to artists throughout the mid-Atlantic, inviting them to submit designs for  asphalt-painted murals.  Murals radiate out from a Calligraffiti Mandala of Haiku written by the WBL poetry class.  Paint Jam regulars were invited back to paint the retaining wall.

There was a sign in sheet to keep some semblance of order, and free paint and loaner brushes and spray tips for those who signed in.  Some artists brought paint and supplies, but supplemented with the free paint.

And then the painting began, continuing all afternoon, into the evening, and the following day.  Artists completed the wall murals, but are still working on the parking lot, which they expect to finish over the next two weeks.

The site will be open to the public Wednesday evenings during the summer for free film screeenings and for a July 4th bash, both sponsored by the NoMa Business Improvement District.  Additional events are planned, according to Rachel Davis of the NoMa BID.

Photos of the June 6, 2015 Paint Jam follow.

All photos are by Christina Scheltema for East City Art.

3 Artist at Work

Artist at Work

4 BIF danced on this wall

BIF Danced on This Wall

5 Graffiti Coaching Session

Artist JAH-ONE (Nessar Jahanbin) Coaching a Young Artist

6 Finished work

Finished Mural

7 A Graffiti Artist's Tools - Spray Tips are Key

A Graffiti Artist’s Tools – Assorted Spray Tips are Key

8 Students at Work

High school students using stencils to paint mural.

9 The Story of Tulsa, OK

Finished Mural Telling the Success Story of Tulsa, OK

11 Paint Jam, Mid Day

Storey Park Paint Jam, Mid Day

10 Poetry Class Mandala

Mandala of Poetry Class Haiku and Focal Point of Parking Lot Murals.

12  Artist at Work

Artist at Work – Mid Day

13 Artist at Work

Artist at Work, End of Day

15 Jay Hunter and Jah-One Murals

Completed Wall Murals from Story Park Paint Jam. Artists Jay Hudson and JAH-ONE.

18 P1040259

Master Artist CheLove (Cita Sadeli) Showing her Design for a Tribute Mural.

17 Kiesha Carroll

Artist Kiesha Carroll.

19 a

View of Storey Park Paint Jam from L Street NE

14 Let there be roses

Finished Mural, Storey Park Paint Jam

16 Tell me a story...

Storybook Mural in Progress

20 Looking West, Saturday Evening

View to the West (facing 1rst Street NE) Saturday Evening

21 Looking East, Saturday Evening

View to the Northeast (facing train tracks) Saturday Evening


View to the South (K Street NE)

2 Portion of Maxx Moses' Mural

Portion of Completed Mural by Maxx Moses


Christina Scheltema
Authored by: Christina Scheltema

Christina Scheltema is a freelance writer - and photographer - who resides in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, DC. She comes from a family of artists and acquired an interest in the arts by assimilation. She has previously written for the Ward 5 Heartbeat.