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5x5 Public Art Project – Washington DC

25 Citywide Public Art Installations


As part of the Centennial Celebration of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, a public art project entitled 5x5 will install 25 ground-breaking public art installations throughout Washington DC to enliven publicly accessible spaces and add a layer of creativity and artistic expression. The art projects were commissioned by artists from around the world. Five national and international curators were selected to work with five artists each to create a public artwork for these temporary installations. All media and art forms were considered, including, but not limited to visual art, performance, light, digital, projection, and event-based work. 5x5 was created by a partnership between the District of Columbia, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

5x5 Art Projects

Curator 1 - Amy Lipton (New York, NY) is co-director of ecoartspace, a bi-coastal non-profit organization that creates opportunities for addressing environmental issues through the arts since 1999. Amy's 5x5 project is titled BiodiverCITY
  • March 25-July 25 - Butterfly Bridge by artist Natalie Jeremijenko will provide butterflies an intervention to help navigate obstacles and barriers in urban settings. The bridge will demonstrate possibilities of re-imagining our urban infrastructure to account for the diverse species that we share space and resources.

  • March 20-July 20 - p:ARK by Tattfoo Tan is a large walk-able labyrinth in an open grass field that has been left un-mowed to grow wild with weeds, grasses and other volunteer plants.

  • March 24-June 10 - Love Motel For Insects is a captivating outdoor light installation by Brandon Ballengée that forms giant dragonfly wings at the National Zoo. The work uses ultra-violet lights on large blank fabric to attract insects and creates an opportunity for public interactions with nocturnal arthropods, which are not often seen.

  • March 20-July 20 - Natural Wishing by Chrysanne Stathacosenables participants to connect with "wishing actions" from around the world. The public will be able to tie a wish to a tree at the Textile Museum, Hill Center and Sasha Bruce, a non-profit that provides homes for homeless children. People will also be able to call a number advertised on dozens of buses touring DC to leave or hear wishes.

  • March 20-April 27 - Habitat For Artists has built small, temporary, 6 by 6 foot art studios made from recycled and reclaimed materials to engage local artists and youth groups to take an active role in participating both inside and outside of the habitat. The Habitats will be installed at The Arc.
Curator 2 - Justine Topfer (San Francisco, CA) of Out Of The Box Projects is an Australian-born curator who works internationally. Justine's project name for 5x5 is Betwixt Between, referring to the artists breathing new life into the ordinary, reinvigorating the fabric of the urban environment.
  • March 20-April 27 - Using recycled material, Home Mender by Monica Canilao creates a cacophony of color, texture and movement. She will breathe new life into Anacostia, imbuing it with her warm handmade aesthetic. Canliao and crew will gather discarded refuse and create a surreal installation, infused with Native American references, which transport the viewer to a dreamlike world.

  • March 22, 7pm - Ben-Hur by Jefferson Pinder continues his investigation of dynamic movement at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Accompanied by DJ Tony Tech, six performers will exert their masculine virility and physical prowess. While referencing the historical, social and political issues, which underscore 'blackness', Ben-Hur speaks to a broader narrative and conveys through evocative kinesthesia our collective experience of human predicament and struggle.

  • March 30- April 1 - Rebar will develop an artist - led community engagement project which responds to the Central 14th Neighborhood revitalization strategy. 5x5 will kick off this series by initiating a public forum on utilizing city streets for purposes other then transportation. This process will end by building urban street furniture for the Colorado Art Plaza.

  • March 20-April 27 - Remember Me by Reko Rennie, a highly acclaimed Australian street artist will create a text - based neon wall painting. Reko will utilize his diamond iconography in a contemporary context, drawing inspiration from his Aboriginal heritage. Through this universal statement - REMEMBER ME, Reko references the original inhabitants of the land.

  • March 20-May 20 - Using vivid geometric shapes and patterns reminiscent of American folk art and quilt work, artist Clare Rojas creates narrative paintings focused on the relationships between men, women, society, and nature. Melding craft and fine art with unparalleled verve, the exterior of the National Museum for the Women in the Arts will be transformed.
Curator 3 - Laura Roulet (Washington, DC) is an independent curator and writer, specializing in contemporary and Latin American art. Laura's 5x5 exhibition is titled Activate = Participate for which she has chosen to work almost entirely with local artists to create communal, multi-sensory experiences for diverse audiences.
  • April 2, 4, 6; and April 14. Workshops at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. On-going action at Garfield Park - With Finding a Line, Ben Ashworth will work with local youths to teach them stewardship of their own environment, how to transform that environment, and creative skills like building and video filming/editing. This work will employ Ben's method of forming a skate community in DC; building skateboards and transforming a public space into a skatepark in Garfield Park.

  • March 17, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Corcoran Gallery of Art and March 25, 12:00-7:00 p.m. The Pepco Edison Place Gallery - The "ReMuseum" by The Floating Lab Collective is a participatory, mobile experiment that investigates museum processes such as collecting, valuing and displaying objects. These objects, along with unique stories delivered by their owners, will be displayed in a retrofitted taco truck.

  • March 20-April 27 - For Charles Juhasz-Alvarado's Cherry Blossom Cloud, a large-scale temporary public sound sculpture fashioned in the shape of a xylophone from cherry wood that will be situated outside the Arena Stage. Drumsticks will be available nearby for passers-by to activate the work by playing a melody or creating their own musical work.

  • March 20-April 27 - Patrick McDonough is a multi-media artist, whose Painted Rock Hunt Game, a geocaching game, will spread all eight wards. Using the Internet and GPS technology as a platform for public art, McDonough will leave clues on a website revealing the location of eight "caches" of his artwork. This scavenger hunt/art itinerary will lead seekers to piles of encoded stones hidden in various sites ranging from parks, libraries, museums and private galleries. As they log in their finds, participants are encouraged to continue seeking the other sites. McDonough will reward those who visit every site with a certificate of achievement.

  • April 5 at University of the District of Columbia and April 13 at Old Post Office Pavilion - Wilmer Wilson IV will create a suite of performances based on the historic 19th century figure Henry "Box" Brown, a slave from Richmond, Virginia (the artist's hometown), who mailed himself to freedom in the North by paying to be shipped in a crate. Wilson will cover himself with three grades of postage stamps and walk into post offices, asking to be mailed.
Curator 4 - Richard Hollinshead (Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK,) Director of Grit & Pearl is an artist, designer and curator, and holds a BA, MA and PhD by Practice with a specialism in contemporary projects for heritage landscapes. Richard's 5x5 project is titled Magnificent Distance.
  • March 20- April 1 - Cath Campbell's Marathon is a working scale-model of the original cable car from Mt Hiei, Japan - source of the 3000 cherry trees donated to Washington, DC in 1912. Threading through the concrete pillars of the Yards Park Lumbershed, Marathon draws attention to the scale and empty volume of a building that is emblematic of wider social shifts away from manufacturing towards a leisure and recreation-led regeneration.

  • March 20-April 27 - Spore by Ben Jeans Houghton is both an enigmatic object overlooking the National Building Museum's Great Hall, and a viewing device through which something unseen yet fundamental is revealed within that space. In biology, once a single spore is released it has the potential to develop into a new organism, and similarly, the Spore artwork promotes a shift in the way we perceive our everyday environments.

  • March 20-April 27 - Jo Ray's Spoken For employs text fragments selected from across DC for their capacity to suggest a meaning other than the author's original intention. A fish market stall proudly boasts that 'Our Crabs Have No Sand' and a derelict shop bears the peeling legend 'Rescue Workers', but divorced from their context and placed into the shadow of the Washington Monument these disposable snippets of text assume new meanings more reminiscent of protest and political activism.

  • March 20-April 27 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library. April 24 and 26 - Library of Congress, Screening of Hawk and Dove by Isabella Streffen. The film uses footage shot from two 7ft remote-controlled zeppelins - the Hawk and the Dove - engaged in a balletic 'dogfight' at the Library of Congress and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library. Hawk and Dove explores the corridors of power and the role of knowledge in the shaping of political debate.

  • March 20-April 27 - Res Publica by Wolfgang Weileder is a socially engaged project that uses the Supreme Court of the United States as the symbol for concepts of social justice - literally the 'shelter' under which citizens are protected. Students at the Corcoran College of Art & Design will construct a number of human-scale cardboard models of the Supreme Court of the United States for installation at various locations throughout DC, a free construction manual for making the models available via a unique version of newspaper vending boxes and a limited-edition artwork will raise funds for DC's homeless community.
Curator 5 - Steve Rowell (Los Angeles, CA) is an artist, curator, and researcher working in and between Los Angeles and Washington, DC. Rowell's project, Suspension of Disbelief, investigates the fringes of the monumental core: airspaces, zones of exclusion, perimeters, landscapes, waterways, shorelines, perceived non-places, and lesser-known or overlooked memorials, around the National Mall and along the federal periphery.
  • March 20-April 25 - Deborah Stratman & Steven Badgett's Polygonal Address (PA) System is a monumental floating platform, anchored at the Gangplank Marina and the waters behind the Titanic Memorial. This solar-powered sound system will feature a wide range of historic sound recordings, such as public addresses given during the 1932 Bonus Army protests on the National Mall. It will also provide a platform for guest sound programming by local, DC-based musicians, speakers, and artists.

  • March 20-April 27 - Sight Lines by Lize Mogel, whose practice is concentrated on cartographic representations and public actions/interventions/tours, will develop tours which traverse places that are practically invisible, unnoticed, underground, or hidden in plain sight. Some routes visit familiar historic sights or seemingly mundane parts of everyday life; presenting them in new contexts. A custom-designed map, which can be easily transformed into a viewing scope, will be available free to the public at key distributions points at all DC Public Libraries.

  • March 24 - Berlin-based artist collective, KUNSTrePUBLIK will create Fountains of DC, a group of wooden mobile replicas of the Temperance Foundation located in Penn Quarter. KUNSTrePUBLIK's work is inspired by the relationships of two significant periods in DC's history - the Temperance Movement and the Straight Edge punk rock music scene. Both periods share similar values of social reform, activism and counter culture - all influential elements of the project, which will be used as focal points for inspirational public gatherings, musical events and community dialogues.

  • March 20-April 27- 1x1 is a relational art piece and an emotional catalyst connecting the visitors for the Cherry Blossom Festival with tsunami victims by Office of Experiments. In phase one of the two-phase performance art piece, Office of Experiments will be handing out prints that are symbolic of the tsunami at media and embassy sites to remember the victims affected. In phase two, students from the Corcoran College of Art and Design will pour 1,000 vials symbolic of Japanese tears on cherry blossom trees throughout the city. Each vial will have a number that can be tracked online.

  • Dates: TBD - Charles Stankievech will be presenting Over and Out, a shortwave radio repeater station installed within the District. The public will be invited to listen to the stream of real-time shortwave radio signals captured with a customized array of equipment, installed in a building that was used as an art gallery and, allegedly, an FBI listening post from the early 1970s to the early '90s.
For a schedule of 5x5 events, and information about participating artists and organizations, visit www.the5x5project.com

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