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Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Councilmember Jim Graham to Celebrate End of MuralsDC 2012 Season

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

MuralsDC will end its 2012 season with a dedication of the program’s most recent mural on the side wall of Ben’s Chili Bowl, located at 1213 U Street, NW, Thursday, September 13, at 11:00 am.

MuralsDC is a graffiti prevention initiative funded by the DC Department of Public Works (DPW) in cooperation with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH). It installs original art work on walls previously vandalized with, or at risk of, graffiti. Seven artists were selected this summer to work on walls located in Wards 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7.

“Washington, DC is steadily gaining a reputation for amazing public art,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “I think it’s fitting that MuralsDC has created an original work of art that will not only pay homage to one of the city’s most treasured landmarks but to some of its most treasured icons as well.”

MuralsDC was created in 2007 by Councilmember Jim Graham to address the spike in illegal graffiti in Ward 1 at the time. The program is similar to other public art programs around the country designed to deter graffiti; and, the murals it installs are rarely vandalized.

“I am pleased to see that MuralsDC has been embraced by the entire city and that DC artists and communities are at the forefront of using public art as a means for crime prevention and beatification,” said Graham. “It’s a win, win for everyone.”

The program kicked off the season in July with a bicycle tour allowing several hundred eager cyclists to explore many of the program’s 36 murals. Seven additional murals have been (or will be) installed this summer.

"The popularity of MuralsDC has been remarkable,” said DPW Director William O. Howland, Jr. “We were honored to be able to place a mural on such an historic building and, in doing so, honor some of DC’s most cherished resources.”

The Commission on the Arts and the Humanities works closely with the program’s art consultant—Words, Beats & Life—to select artists for the program.

“This year’s MuralsDC program supports the vibrant and growing arts community in Washington,” said Lionell Thomas, Executive Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. “It is fitting that we end this season with a piece that salutes an iconic business with iconic entertainers that have touched the lives of Washingtonians for decades.”

This marks the second consecutive year that Ben’s has donated wall space to the MuralsDC program.

“The Ben’s Chili Bowl family is delighted to have such a meaningful work of art grace our wall,” said co-founder Virginia Ali. “Aniekan Udofia and his team did a beautiful job of honoring four outstanding individuals. We are extremely grateful to MuralsDC.”

MuralsDC has installed, or is scheduled to install murals at the following locations this summer:

1213 U St., NW                            3225 8th St., NE              

710 S St., NW                              1179 3rd St., NE      

3400 13th St., NW                       2314 Pennsylvania Ave., SE

4400 Iowa Ave., NW