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Statement of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities regarding the removal of temporary artwork from Good Hope Road

Friday, September 12, 2014

Responding to local community feedback, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) will remove The New Migration installation by artist Abigail DeVille from its location on Good Hope Road. DCCAH is currently seeking a new site for the artwork. 

The New Migration artwork is part of the District’s contemporary art project, 5x5. The intention of the project is to challenge and engage audiences through art but never to offend. The community reaction has been that the work is not suited to the location. As good stewards of the public trust, DCCAH has determined to remove the installation from its current location on Good Hope Road, SE.

The New Migration installation in storefronts on Good Hope Road is one part of the artist’s concept to expand on the theme of The Great Migration. A pivotal, but largely overlooked event in American history, The Great Migration was the exodus of over 6 million African-American citizens fleeing the terror of Jim Crow South in search of social and economic freedom in the far corners of the United States. The materials used in the art installation are accumulated objects and heirlooms from Washington, DC, to Jacksonville, Florida; a trip that navigated one of the most popular routes of The Great Migration, The Seaboard Air Line Railway. A processional, featuring wearable art, music and District residents on Saturday, September 6, marched from Frederick Douglass House to the Anacostia Arts Center.