The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities has sponsored the design for a new mural at the recently revamped park on the corner of 14th and Girard Streets. The mural design was completed by Words Beats and Life, Inc. (WBLI) a non-profit and “hip-hop business incubator.” The mural is titled, “The Watcher.” It will be painted across the basketball court wall of the park and features a pair of large brown, owl eyes in the center, seemingly watching over the park.
In a document sent to the South Columbia Heights e-mail listserve from WBLI Executive Director, Mazi Mutafa, he writes that the mural is “designed to reflect the history and future of the 14th and Girard Street Park. It takes into account the rich history and present reality of the space.” The pair of owl eyes are intended to represent the important role of the community elders and the wisdom that they contribute while “watching” over and being the caretakers of the next generation of the community. The painting should be completed by the end of November, followed by a celebration to commemorate the mural.
In addition to the watching eyes, the image depicted on the mural design will blend together various elements of the park. On the far left side of the eyes the games of chess and checkers will be depicted, a game played primarily by the older park users. On the left, closer in toward the eyes, there will be an image that reflects the multi-cultural users of the park. On the far right side, there will be images that reflect the game of basketball being played at the park. On the right side closer in toward the eyes, again, there will be an image reflecting the diversity of the park users.
Mutafa’s document said that the mural design’s creation was a collaborative effort by the Columbia Heights Youth Club, the Mary Center, Martha’s Table, and Words Beats & Life’s own D.C. Urban Arts Academy.
To read a case study of the park prior to it’s reconstruction, click here and go to the bottom of the webpage that opens for a link to the paper on the park.