Columbia Heights: The Art of Spray Paint

I was driving by 11th St and Park Rd. in Columbia Heights, D.C., last week and noticed a drop dead fantastic spray paint art of Obama on the construction fence around the old liquor store. I checked on the Columbia Heights e-list and found out that the whole thing was part of a public art installation project by Albus Cavus artist collective.

by Albus Cavus Collective
by Albus Cavus Collective

On Sunday, Nov. 9,  artists from the DC area and the East Coast created a public art installation that seeks to lift up the Columbia Heights community spirit by improving aesthetic enjoyment. A dozen artists worked together with renown graffiti artists, like Tim CON and Leon Rainbow, in a live, outdoor presentation of art and people changing their environment. The artists covered the 80-foot fence of a construction site with color, imagination, and reflection.

“We are transforming an eyesore to eye-candy,” said Albus Cavus executive director Peter Krsko, the organizer of the art project. “Fences around building sites are usually to be endured, not enjoyed. In Columbia Heights, public artists and residents will smash that old construct with paint and spirit.”

Read more about it at the Prince of Petworth blog..

4 thoughts on “Columbia Heights: The Art of Spray Paint”

  1. Thanks for your interest. I’d love to see a copy of your final reporting project. I’m currently working on the final draft of a book called “Who Killed Donte Manning?: The Story of an American Neighborhood” about the “metaphoric life” of Columbia Heights. I’ve lived here since 1986.

    I’m a poet. I’ve always “read” Columbia Heights from the perspective of poetry. What does the architecture say? How does the rhythm of the lives and history of individuals and families (to the limited extent that I’ve known or observed them) influence the spirit of the neighborhood? How does the architecture/form impress itself on the vibrant lives of individuals? Where are the pulsing life centers in the neighborhood? How does capital/money flow in and out and through the neighborhood? These are the kinds of questions that I bring to living here for 22 years.

    The Albus Cavus project with its panels of creative graffiti (as opposed to rage/wound-based graffiti) placed on the construction fence of the abandoned Bi-Rite represent a new generative force in the life of the neighborhood. The reclaiming of the Bi-Rite by local green architectural firm committed to Columbia Heights (as opposed to the megalith big box stores that tower over 14th St) seems to be to create a renewed affection for the neighborhood and the neighbors. An example of that affection, is the contract with Albus Cavus to create the art present on the construction fence. (http://www.3dgllc.com/news/archive/detail.php?id=24).

  2. Ms. Berger,
    I am writing because I saw your comment on the Albert Cavus website regarding the recent public art exhibition in Columbia Heights. I am doing a piece on Columbia Heights for my final Reporting project at American University (I am a Sophomore there in the School of Communications). I too went to the public art exhibit and wanted to mention a few things about it. Could you give me a few comments about what you thought about it, as well as what you think about the changes that are taking place in Columbia Heights on a whole?
    Sincerely,
    Sara S

  3. AS ONE OF THE ARTISTS I JUST WANTED TO SAY WE APPRECIATED THE POSITIVE RESPONSE FROM THE COMMUNITY AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING IN AND WITH THE COMMUNITY IN THE FUTURE.

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