Monday, October 19, 2009

UPDATE: meeting tonight to discuss possible destruction of boxer girl mural

UPDATE: here's the word from someone who attended last night's meeeting:

Nothing accomplished. Pretty poorly run meeting and it didn't ask for community input. DCCAH said they've changed their policy but there's no mechanism to reverse what's done. Someone had actually asked police to see if it caused an increase in crime. They said there has been a 55% decrease.

(i received this information in an email from sean over the weekend)

tonight's bloomingdale civic association meeting will include discussion about the boxer girl mural. there seems to be a lot of pressure on the city to destroy the mural and the mayor's office is considering it.

if you are in support of this mural, or at least in support of the artist and property owner, please come to the meeting. in general it seems that dccah has taken a lot of heat this year, especially with public art. i imagine this is a pretty important discussion.

more info and images in these links:

bloomingdale (for now)
adventures of hoogrrl!
washington city paper: housing complex

you do not need to be a member of the civic association or a neighbor to attend.

monday night.
7:00 pm
160 u street nw
st. george's episcopal church
i'm very clearly in support of art that challenges, art that makes you think, and art that helps give us a sense of unique place. the conservative, almost reactionary, response from some quarters to this art installation worries me. i feel successful destruction of this art will lead to further attempts to quash creative growth in the city.


Anonymous said...

Don't confuse bad art with controversial thought provoking art. It's an ugly mural. Now, if its on private property and no ordinance prevents its existence, the citizenry can be hard and voice their dissatisfaction, but that's where it ends - unless the property owner can be persuaded of the errors of her ways and remove the eyesore.

IMGoph said...

anon: you've set yourself up to be knocked down so easily, i don't think it's fair. but i'm going to knock you down anyway. i say it's a beautiful mural and it provokes thought.


now which one of us is right? see, it's called subjectivity, which is what you get whenever you discuss art. there's no right, no wrong, just opinion. mine cancels yours.

Anonymous said...

There's also something called community consensus, zoning, and aesthetics. You don't have the right to stick any old crappy thing on your house and call it art or personal expression. That's part of living in a community.

I might also question why you are weighing in on this very local issue when (ahem) you don't live here any more? Isn't there a blog about Trinidad you could start?

- JM

IMGoph said...

jm: do i know you? have i discussed my living situation with you personally? just wondering.

Anonymous said...

Why does that matter? Just stop weighing in on subjects that DON'T CONCERN YOU.

- JM

IMGoph said...

jm: c'mon, if you're going to threaten me, shouldn't you do a better job of it?

i pay taxes in the district of columbia, in ward 5, and i am a paid member of the bloomingdale civic association for this year.

this 'concerns' me.

Sean Hennessey said...

its not really a "very local issue". It's a matter that concerns the whole city and impacts how public artists must interact with the neighborhoods, the requirements, limitations and jurisdiction of dccah and of property owners.

Its a pretty big deal, at least from my vantage point of an artist, a former recipient of DCCAH grant money, a resident of the city, a property owner, and a voter.

I'm not suggesting i know the answer, but its definitely of interest to people around the city. you'll see that lots of people have been talking about this mural all over.

what do you think the process should be? should art be designed by consensus? i know people were suggesting edits, lengthen the shorts, give the figure a smile, etc.. should the details be at the mercy of democracy? how many people must be happy with it for it to be approved? 51%? based on a vote at ANC meetings? should only adults be allowed to vote?

how many hours should an artist be required to put into public meetings? how many changes must be made to a piece? are those hour billable in the grant agreement? often their is a stipulation of what profit an artist can receive from projects like this. 20% is, from what i gather, the average profit that artists earn from project allotments ( this comes from a panel discussion on public art that i attended).

Also, should there be a legal mechanism for removal of art that doesn't gather community support? what if sentiment within a community changes over time, should there be a mechanism for that too?

i'm not one that thinks that art must be confrontational to be good, or even that if it opens dialogue its good. i believe in quality, integrity, and that the real benefits of art are more intangible than causing people to discuss things. i think art serves a deeper purpose and i do definitely respect when neighbors get upset about things like this.

yet, i also respect artists and their work. beauty is without a doubt, subjective.

i also wonder if giving grant money to any arts organization gives the public the right to steer the content of the art. Should DC residents pick what plays the Shakespeare Theatre performs, or the subject matter of the works of DC's Poet Laureate. should we vote on each singular aspect of city dollars? or just when its in our face everyday? of course those questions are extreme, but the public does seem to want to have their input taken, so where does the line get drawn?

There is a noticeable lack of great dc funded art gracing our streets. why? its not because of a lack of talent here we have some big names in art here locally.

perhaps the whole issue is really just about what a property owner can and cant do with their property.

like i say, i dont have answers, but the questions that this issue raises is certainly bigger than a bloomingdale issue.

Amanda said...

Sean raises excellent points. I'm curious about how other cities have responded in similar situations - are there models DC could/should emulate?

Chris in Eckington said...

This is still going on? I thought this was a dead issue. It's painted on private property. I don't understand how this is even an issue. We don't live in a suburbs where everything can be regulated by homeowner's association, including the color of your house.

Anonymous said...

yall are some dumb crackers to argue about this. please move back wher eyou came from so we can have our neighborhood back. kthxbye

Anonymous said...

or rather, neighborhood black.

mapgirl said...

Unrelated, but do you know what was up with the pepco outage last night in Bloomingdale around Adams-Channing Sts?

Heidi said...

Hi IMGoph. I'm compiling lists of outstanding blogs that address homelessness and other social justice topics for Community of Hope here in Washington, D.C. ( Bloomingdale (for now) is great. Any chance I can get a contact email for you? I'd really appreciate it! Please email me at and let me know a good way to reach you. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone see our city councilman's news release about the new retail outlet in NE?

"Forman Mills, a retail chain specializing in off-price merchandize with 28 locations nationwhide, is coming to Washington, DC"

If you noticed the glaring problems with that... you're probably a cracker!

Hilarious. Ward 5 deserves the councilman and the mural.