The B-Side Guide to Washington, D.C.: Art

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Photo by Elizabeth Olsson

SILVER SPRING, Md.–  Washington D.C. is filled with history, culture and art– so much, in fact, that some gems are bound to get lost in the noise. Everyone knows about the National Portrait Gallery and the Renwick Gallery, but how many art fanatics have toured the alleys of U Street?

This article aims to help locals in the Washington D.C. area to get the most out of where they live and learn about the lesser-known places in the District. This week we’re looking at art in Washington D.C.

Blind Whino – “The Technicolor Church”

Photo by Elizabeth Olsson
Photo by Elizabeth Olsson
Photo by Elizabeth Olsson
Photo by Elizabeth Olsson

What was once a church is now covered in vibrant pastel color. Originally christened the Friendship Baptist Church in 1886, this beautiful building is currently the Blind Whino art house. It is open from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. The inside contains unique street art and even the bathrooms are covered in different designs. There is also a portion set off for a gallery. The galleries change every so often and have incredible themes. Most recently they’ve had Black Empowerment, the D.C. Cherry Blossoms and Famous Rappers! DJing, open mic nights, yoga and so many other types of events can all be found at Blind Whino. Reservations for this location can also be made for private events. The Blind Whino Southwest Arts Club is something you’ll want to check out regardless of whether an event is happening that day or not.

Directions: 700 Delaware Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024

Metro Stop: Waterfront Station

The Watermelon House

Photo by Elizabeth Olsson

Yes, this a two story townhouse painted as a watermelon. Owners Wade Wilson and Robert Banaszak hired painters to completely transform their house. This stunning abode is located on Q street and has been declared a landmark. People live here, so be respectful and mindful of their privacy, but they love when visitors come take photos.

Directions: 1112 Q St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Metro Stop: Shaw-Howard University Station

The Serenity Sculpture

Photo by Elizabeth Olsson
Photo by Elizabeth Olsson

 

Jose Clara’s statue is located in Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park. She sits in a quiet corner of the park, a location meant to represent her keeping of the peace. Although she was originally intended to represent  serenity and peace, she is now ironically the most vandalized statue in Washington D.C. The statue is dedicated to Navy Lieutenant Commander William Henry Schuetze.

Directions: Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park

Metro Stop: Columbia Heights Station

Barbie Pond

Photo by Elizabeth Olsson
Photo by Elizabeth Olsson

This interesting pond sits on 15th and Q St. near the Jewish Community Center. It’s created and owned by a local, right in his front yard! Barbie installations change frequently depending on the season, holiday and upcoming special events. This creative and funky art is out 24/7. The nude barbies are placed around a little pond for the whole neighborhood to enjoy. It is truly a spectacle to behold.

Location: 2, 1454 1/2 Q St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Metro Stop: Dupont Circle Station

U Street Corridor Street Art

Photo by Elizabeth Olsson
Photo by Elizabeth Olsson
Photo by Elizabeth Olsson

 

 

 

 

 

This historically African-American neighborhood is filled with street art. As soon as you enter the U Street Corridor or get off the U Street Metro, you’re surrounded. This black empowerment art covers topics from prominent black figures to important civil rights events. Creative murals can also be found, but if that isn’t your style, there’s plenty classic street art for you to enjoy. Each alley is filled to the brim with paint, whether it be a historical and inspiring work of art, a commissioned mural or a more illegal spray painted style.

Directions: U St. Corridor

Metro Stop: U Street/African-Amer Civil War Memorial/Cardozo Station

Columbia Heights’ Murals

Photo by Elizabeth Olsson

This community is not only similar to U Street, it’s also nearby! Columbia Heights is also filled with art, almost entirely made up of commissioned murals.

Photo by Elizabeth Olsson

Walk around and explore to discover beautiful street art. Walk down random streets, go into parking lots and take unexpected turns. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Photo by Elizabeth Olsson
Photo by Elizabeth Olsson

“This area is an upcoming neighborhood and has recently become very popular. Lots of hipster spots and small community gatherings,” said a Columbia Heights local. “If you are new to DC and are looking for a more know-your-neighbors community or just a more artsy neighborhood, you should come get an apartment here.” 

Location: Columbia Heights

Metro Stop: Columbia Heights Station

Thanks for reading! Check out my last B-Side Guide of history in Washington, D.C. and keep an eye out for more B-Side Guides in the future. As always, enjoy this Metro art.

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