Art and the City

Arts in Foggy Bottom – Rodney “Buck” Herring, “With Due Thought & Careful Consideration.” Photo: Peter Maye and Rodney “Buck” Herring. Courtesy Arts in Foggy Bottom.

Anacostia Community Museum “To Live and Breathe: Women and Environmental Justice in Washington, D.C.”
May 19, 2023-January 7, 2024

Coinciding with Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum’s 2023 theme of “Our Environment, Our Future,” the current exhibition “To Live and Breathe: Women in Environmental Justice in Washington, D.C.,” sheds light on the role women have played in leading environmental justice movements.  Close to home, Silver Spring native Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” exposed the impact pesticides had on reducing avian populations.  While Carson is well known for her environmental activism, ACM seeks to highlight “Women of color [who] have led the environmental justice movement. They are often the ones who notice patterns of disease in their communities, fight to protect their families and neighbors, and bear the burden of health disparities.”  Curator Rachel Seidman further explains that “By learning why women have become the leaders in the environmental justice movement, which pathways they have taken to get there and how their efforts benefit not just their local communities but the Earth, we hope our visitors will come away feeling truly inspired.”  Using a series of interactive installations and a companion website, audiences will have the opportunity to not only walk in the activists’ shoes but to learn about what they’ve achieved.  In addition, ACM commissioned a series of artworks for the exhibition by Amir Khadar, a Philadelphia-based, Sierra Leonean-American artist whose work is “positioned in social movement spaces, where it is central in creating visual language for liberatory initiatives and agendas around racial, gender, and climate justice.”  1901 Fort Place SE, Washington, DC. Open Daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed December 25. (202) 633-4820

Arts in Foggy Bottom
May 6-October 21
Artist guided tours on
Saturday July 8 & August 12

Anacostia Community Museum Mural by Amir Khadar, courtesy Anacostia Community Museum.

Jackie Lemire, Jill Nevius and Mary Kay Shaw began “Arts in Foggy Bottom” in 2007 as a community project to initiate conversations through art.  Now in its 16th year, the current edition of the biennial titled “Sites for Centering and Reflection” includes 13 sculptures located on participating homeowner’s properties. The project is curated by Jarvis DuBois, an independent fine art consultant and museum specialist at the National Museum of American History. DuBois selected works by Ajmal MAS MAN Millar, Angelique Scott, Asha Elana Casey, Ayodele Mason, Jabari Jefferson, Jacqui Maggi, Kokayi, Mahari Chabwera, Orlando Dominguez, Paul Steinkoenig, Rodney “Buck” Herring and Scott Benjamin Tucker.  DuBois describes the overarching theme of the outdoor sculpture exhibition as follows: “With issues such as political turmoil, climate change, and the pandemic always on the back of our minds, we need space to stand still for a moment more than ever. The artists included in the 2023 exhibition are not only exploring their own visual representation of respite, but are hopefully inspiring audiences to do the same.”  The link above includes a map of the sculptures’ locations and each has QR-code information to provide audiences with detailed information.  For those of you interested in a guided tour, they are available on the second Saturday of each month; check the website for possible schedule changes or updates. The sculptures are located at private residences between K and H Streets NW—to the north and south—and between 26th and 24th Streets NW—to the east and west.

National Portrait Gallery – Frederick Douglass. Artist: Unidentified Artist. Sixth-plate daguerreotype. c. 1850
(after c. 1847 daguerreotype).
National Portrait Gallery,
Smithsonian Institution.

National Portrait Gallery
“One Life: Frederick Douglass”
June 16, 2023-April 21, 2024

You’ve seen him depicted in murals around DC.  You may have even visited his home, Cedar Hill, in Anacostia. But, did you know that Frederick Douglass was the most photographed American of the 19th Century?  Douglass did not believe that a white artist could accurately paint his portrait and instead favored photography to more accurately capture his likeness. On view through next spring at the National Portrait Gallery, “One Life: Frederick Douglass” assembles an extraordinary collection of artifacts, over 35 objects in all, including daguerreotypes, etchings and one of the few paintings of the famed orator, writer and abolitionist.  Born into slavery in 1818 on the eastern shore of Maryland, he escaped in 1838 to New York then to Massachusetts where he married Anna Murray.  He advised every sitting US president from Abraham Lincoln to Grover Cleveland.  Guest curated by John Stauffer, Professor of English and African and African American Studies at Harvard University and consulting curator Ann Shumard, the National Portrait Gallery’s senior curator of photographs, the exhibition will offer even the most knowledgeable “Douglassonian” new insight into this extraordinary man’s life. Eighth and G streets NW, Washington, DC. Hours: Every day from 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m., except Dec. 25. 202-633-1000.

Sycamore & Oak outside view. Photo: ©Dror Baldinger FAIA Mural by Keyonna Lindsey-Jones. Photo: ©Dror Baldinger FAIA

Sycamore & Oak
Grand Opening Features Local Artist

On June 16, Sycamore & Oak, a 23,000 square-foot “retail village” opened its door in Congress Heights on the rapidly changing grounds of Saint Elizabeth’s campus.  Sycamore & Oak collocates and incubates Ward 7 & 8 businesses which in turn provide a wide-range of services and merchandise including food, beauty products, a fitness center, clothing stores and art boutiques.  “The entrepreneurial and artistic talent present in Congress Heights is palpable and is ready to take DC and beyond by storm,” said Le’Greg Harrison, founder of The Museum DC and experience manager at The Retail Village at Sycamore & Oak. Harrison is among several business owners who offer clothing and collectibles.  Like Harrison, boutique Chris Pyrate & Friends, founded by DC-native and artist Chris Pyrate, showcases clothing which utilizes colorful patterns created by Pyrate who has already gained a large following of loyal customers.  Lastly, Congress Heights Arts + Culture Center’s Soufside Creative at Sycamore & Oak provides an annex of sorts for the venerated community arts organization at Sycamore & Oak.  1110 Oak Drive SE Washington, DC.  Check each business’ website for hours
of operation.

Phil Hutinet is the founding publisher of East City Art, DC’s visual art journal of record. For more information visit