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Public Art Selected for Eastern Market Plaza

Sometime after the blue curtain comes down, there will be art on Eastern Market Metro Plaza.

The Eastern Market Metro Plaza Park Design-Build team announced that after a final round of voting, the winning artist for the Eastern Market Metro Park (EMMP) artwork installation was Jay F. Coleman with his concept submission of two hands making a heart, entitled “Loveful Hands.”

The public artwork is slated to be placed on Parcel 4 of the Eastern Market Plaza so that it is visible as one disembarks from the Eastern Market Metro escalators.

Parcel 1 of EMMP is currently behind a blue construction fence, with work underway as part of the $14.25 million renovation of the park. Renovations to Parcel 4, the site of a new playground and greenspace, were completed in summer 2020.

Members of the Eastern Market Metro Park Advisory Taskforce (EMMPAT), a group of community stakeholders who advise DGS on the project, voted on eight submissions during presented during their October meeting.

Phase 2 Construction Site Plan. Public art is proposed at the position indicated by number 14. Detail: Page 6, DGS Community Presentation, Oct. 1, 2020. Available at: dgs.dc.gov
Jay Coleman, “Communessity” in courtyard. Photo: Phil Hutinet

Coleman painted the murals at the entrance to the Dupont Underground in 2016. He has created one other work of public sculpture incorporating hands: “Communessity”, a cast bronze sculpture depicting a “fist bump,” popularized by President Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. That cast bronze sculpture, measuring 6 and-a-half feet in length, is located between Barry Farm’s Recreation Center building and the playing fields.

That sculpture was three years in the making, reported East City Art’s Phil Hutinet in November, 2019 for East of the River magazine, delayed by the search for a local foundry to cast the massive sculpture as well as administrative matters, such as the need for an occupancy permit.

In a letter to members of the EMMPAT, Project Manager Diego Martinez said that the next step is for DGS to bring Coleman on board contractually. From there, DGS will work with Jay to develop a design schedule that will incorporate opportunities for DGS, the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), and the EMMPAT to provide feedback at different intervals in the design. Martinez said he would send out additional information to EMMPAT regarding design and schedule in the coming weeks.

“I’m looking forward to working with everyone on this art work and delivering a final product that the Capitol Hill community will be proud of,” Martinez wrote.

Learn more about the EMMP project and see past DGS presentations, by visiting the EMMP DGS site. You can contact the team via email at emmp@dc.gov.

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