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The District Will Be a Canvas for 25 Public Art Installations This Fall

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
The 5x5 Project returns with five internationally-renowned curators
Mayor Vincent C. Gray and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) are pleased to announce the second iteration of 5x5, A Project of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Five curators, Lance Fung, Shamim M. Momin, Stephanie Sherman, Justine Topfer and A.M. Weaver, have been commissioned to initiate 25 ground-breaking public art installations. These highly experienced and innovative contemporary arts professionals will each select and work with five artists or artist teams to develop and present exciting, ephemeral works of art in public spaces throughout all wards in the fall of 2014.
The five curators will work with five artists each to create five bodies of public work, resulting in 25 installations and activations throughout the city. The curators will manage and oversee each artist's concept, budget and schedule. The DCCAH Public Art Committee, a four-member selection committee chose these curator's proposals from more than 25 submissions. The installations will range in duration, but will not exceed four months.  The installations will be unveiled and showcased during September - December, 2014.
"Thriving public arts programming has always been a hallmark of a world-class city," noted Mayor Vincent C. Gray. "I am particularly proud of our continuing efforts to lead the way in integrating the arts into communities all across the District of Columbia."
Washington, DC has a proud heritage of public art, enjoyed by residents and visitors. The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is dedicated to fostering access to the arts with innovative programs like 5x5. Public art engages and enlivens public spaces for audiences to connect with artwork. For the 5x5 project proposals, all media and art forms were considered, including, but not limited to, visual art, performance, light, digital, projection and event-based work. Selected curatorial proposals included such concepts as: a temporary sculpture park featuring "monuments" devoted to the common struggles of humanity; artists engaging the cityscape through the use of abandoned buildings and blighted areas; installations by five artists whose work is deeply informed by their relationships to multiple cultures and their shared experience of traveling between various homes and homelands.
"5x5 brings attention to Washington's thriving and diverse arts," said Lavinia R. Wohlfarth, Acting Chair of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. "Our goal is to showcase the District as a world-class cultural capital on the world stage."
"The Commission considered submissions from curators across the globe," said Lionell Thomas, Executive Director for the DC Commission on The Arts and Humanities. "These selected projects spotlight the significance of a vibrant arts community, which contributes to making our city a wonderful place to live, work and play."
About the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities
The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities provides grants, professional opportunities, education enrichment, and other programs and services to individuals and nonprofit organizations in all communities within the District of Columbia. The Arts Commission is supported primarily by District government funds and in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities' DC Creates! Public Art Program purchases, commissions, and installs artworks for public sites throughout the District of Columbia. The DC Creates! Public Art mission is to maintain a quality public collection of diverse media and to create a dynamic, vibrant, nurturing community through art and design.
Watch the first 5x5 promo video and for more information, go to http://www.the5x5project.com.
The five selected curators include:
Lance Fung
Lance Fung is the chief curator for Fung Collaboratives, an organization that conceives and realizes art exhibitions around the world. Fung has been curating large-scale public art exhibitions for decades after closing his successful NYC gallery to pursue a career in the not for profit sector. Most recently, Fung is transforming vacant lots in Atlantic City into a much-needed park system through his exhibition Artlantic. These "giant living sculptures" attracts local residents and visiting art enthusiasts to experience art in "green" settings designed by Fung and the participants Diana Balmori, Robert Barry, Peter Hutchinson, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov and Kiki Smith. With his unique curatorial eye, Fung has curated internationally-recognized exhibitions such as The Snow Show in 2003, 2004 and 2006, Lucky Number Seven (2008) for the seventh SITE Santa Fe International Biennial and Wonderland (2009-2010).
He has created other important exhibitions such as Revisiting Gordon Matta-Clark at Next: The Venice Architectural Biennale in Venice, Italy; The Snow Show: Venice at the 50th International Art Exhibition/La Biennale di Venezia; The Ship of Tolerance by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, in Siwa, Egypt and Dreams and Conflicts-The Viewer's Dictatorship, in Venice, Italy; Crossing Parallels at the SSamzi Space in Seoul, Korea and Going Home at the Edward Hopper Historical Museum in Nyack, New York.
Most importantly, Fung Collaboratives has had the pleasure to commission many artists and architects to realize new, site specific works. Norman Foster, Williams & Tsein, Tadao Ando, Kiki Smith, Cai Guo-Qiang and Yoko Ono are only a few of the visionaries that Fung has worked with. He is currently developing a cultural village in Bali as well as Sink, an underwater exhibition about marine conservation.
Fung is a member of the International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art (IKT).
Shamim M. Momin
Shamim M. Momin is the Director, Curator, and co-founder of LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division), a non-profit public art organization committed to curating site- and situation-specific contemporary art projects, in Los Angeles and beyond.  LAND was founded in 2009 and has since presented over fifty discreet exhibitions and programs with contemporary artists.  LAND was founded in 2009 and has since presented over fifty discreet exhibitions and programs with contemporary artists. Momin's most recent projects include The Manifest Destiny Billboard Project (2013-2015): a series of artist-produced billboards and activations that will unfold along Interstate 10 Freeway from Florida to California; Painting in Place (2013), a group exhibition of contemporary painting presented in the historic Farmers and Merchants Bank in Downtown Los Angeles; Perpetual Conceptual: Echoes of Eugenia Butler (2012), an exhibition about Eugenia Butler Gallery as part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980; and Nothing Beside Remains (2011-2012), a multi-site, multi-artist exhibition in Marfa, TX.  Momin often contributes to exhibition catalogues and publications, including most recently an essay on artist Melanie Schiff for Melanie Schiff: The stars are not wanted now at the University Galleries of Illinois State University and an essay on artist Sarah Cain for LAND's recently published monograph on the artist. Previous to founding LAND, Momin was Associate Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art where she co-curated both the 2008 and 2004 Whitney Biennial exhibitions, as well as numerous solo exhibitions.  As Branch Director and Curator of the former Whitney Museum at Altria, she was responsible for organizing exhibitions and commissioning more than fifty new projects by emerging artists for both solo and thematic presentations.
Stephanie Sherman
Stephanie Sherman curates, writes and organizes projects that collaboratively configure new visions for society. She is the co-founder of Elsewhere, a living museum, international residency program and education laboratory set in a former thrift and surplus store in revitalizing downtown Greensboro, NC. From 2009-2012 she co-produced Kulturpark--an initiative exploring an abandoned amusement park in eastern Berlin, and is co-founder of Provisions Library's residency program, which brings artists to the capital for creative research projects and partnerships. Through these and other initiatives, she has collaborated with artists to produce hundreds of time-based events, interactive public exhibitions and storytelling platforms that mobilize artists, critical thinkers and global and local neighbors to experience alternative social formations and experiment with other orders of making, thinking, being and knowing in the contemporary world. Stephanie's projects have been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Warhol Foundation, Art Matters Foundation, the Ackland Museum of Art, Headlands Center for the Arts, Philadelphia Museum of Art, amongst others. She is currently based in San Diego, CA, where she is working on a Phd in Cultural Practice at UCSD's Art History, Theory and Criticism department to research connections between technology, sites, and storytelling.
Justine Topfer
Justine Topfer was born eternally optimistic on the day that Stevie Wonder released "You are the Sunshine of my Life." Her formative years were spent in Australia between the arid outback and urban Sydney, the heritage of her native land rooted in the opposing identities of British convicts and German aristocracy. Today, Justine is based in San Francisco, where she works as a Project Manager for the San Francisco Arts Commission's Public Art Program, and as an independent curator with Out of the Box Projects. Her current curatorial forays in the public realm include Cinema Ombligo, a dime-sized peephole on the exterior of her Victorian cottage and through which the public can watch short films 24 hours a day. She is also currently collaborating with Seattle-based artist Susan Robb on an unscripted work of land art, Wild Times, which aims to cultivate and share the wild terrain that resides in us all. Recent projects further afield include Design Renegade in Hong Kong, The ZERO 1 Biennial in Silicon Valley, The DC Commission on Arts and the Humanities' 2012 5x5 Project and Sydney's Art & About festival. Justine is inspired by unmapped landscapes, offbeat spaces, and bold statements. Justine's life is a journey made sensical and non-sensical through contemporary art.
A.M. Weaver
A.M. Weaver is a curator and writer. Having worked with both traditional and alternative art and culture institutions, she remains dedicated to promoting cutting-edge visual, performance and literary arts. With a background in the history of American contemporary art and culture, Weaver has curated several significant exhibitions, including a multimedia series featuring art by women from diverse cultures entitled "Whose Vanguard" that culminated in a Lesbian Film Festival (1998); a block buster exhibit for Morgan State University, "Convergence" (2002) and a photo based project "Screenings: Public and Private" (2004). For eight years, she served as the Director of Visual and Media Arts at the Painted Bride Art Center, an alternative art center in Philadelphia that promotes art as a catalyst for social change. From 2003 to 2006, she was the Curator of Exhibitions and Collections at The Noyes Museum of Art in southern New Jersey. Through the years, she has presented and documented internationally-acclaimed artists from North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
As a journalist, A.M. Weaver continues to examine the work of diverse groups of artists whose concerns range from modernism to socio-political percepts. Her articles and reviews have appeared in Art in America, Frieze Magazine, Artvoices, Art South Africa, Art Papers, Surface Design Journal and Bomb. She is currently working on the project "In Their Midst" that features the photography and films of international artists from Africa, Europe the Caribbean and the United States.
In recent years, A.M. Weaver received a number of awards for her writing and curatorial practices, including the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship for Art Commentary, the "Transformation Award" from the Leeway Foundation and a NEA Arts Journalism Institute Residency at American University. She holds an MFA from the Hoffberger School of Painting and attended the University of the Arts for her BFA. With a major in painting, A. M. Weaver studied photography and conducted independent research on African art and aesthetics.
About 5x5, a Project of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities
The goals of 5x5 are: 
  • ACTIVATE spaces and sites to attract residents and visitors to explore within and beyond the monumental core.
  • SHOWCASE works of art that are innovative and engage the viewers in dynamic, interactive, and creative ways.
  • DEVELOP opportunities for artists to experiment with approaches not possible through permanent public art commissions.
  • BUILD relationships with local residents, galleries, and cultural institutions.
  • CREATE an environment in which the works of local, regional, national and international artists merge to reflect the character and identity of the city.
  • PROMOTE the creative profile of Washington, DC to the nation and the world.