Monday, August 18, 2008

LeDroit Park Community Mural: This Is How We Live

This past Saturday the residents of LeDroit Park held their annual block party. It was the perfect afternoon: the weather was warm, and a light breeze wafted the smell of barbequing food through the air. A live DJ spun continuous dance tunes and kids played basketball and football in the street. Adults and children alike relaxed on this warm summer afternoon, keeping cool in the heat of August.

Recently Dana Bryson, a LeDroit community resident, approached DC Public Art to find a muralist to paint an exterior wall of her building at 239 Elm St NW. The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, in collaboration with residents from the LeDroit Park community selected muralist Garin Baker to design, create and install this mural. With its central location, the mural promises to add even more to the already vibrant community. It will face the site of the former Gage Eckington Elementary School, a DCPS that was closed at the end of last school year.

At the block party Mr. Baker set up a station to display a model of his mural. He spoke with community residents about his project and encouraged children to design their own murals at the arts and crafts table. Mr. Baker’s mural concept ties in the historical context of the neighborhood while enforcing a positive message entitled, “This Is How We Live.” He will engage the community in a series of workshops to gather visual concepts and ideas that will enhance the final composition. The mural will generate and reinforce a sense of place as well as create partnership and unity amongst residents.

Mr. Baker was born and raised in New York City and received his BFA from Pratt Institute in addition to traditional studies at The Art Students League. Presently he runs a small public art company called Carriage House Arts Studios, responsible for countless public and private large scale Murals projects across the country. Mr. Baker recently completed two murals located at Turkey Thicket Recreation Center in Northeast Washington, DC.

For more information please contact Rachel Dickerson, DC Creates Public Art Manager, at 202.724.5613 or email her at