Washington, D.C. – Teens from both sides of the Anacostia River are collaborating to create a 55 ft. long mural with the goal of envisioning a healthy city, community and neighborhood. The 11th Street Bridge Park, a project of the Ward 8 non-profit Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC, is proud to produce this project through its partnership with the Risa Fund, which seeks to enhance the well-being of underserved youth in Washington, D.C. through arts and improved access to mental health services. Additional program collaborators include Artolution, a community-based public arts network that facilitates community empowerment through a creative, participatory and collaborative process and ArtReach at THEARC, a year-round East of the River outreach program designed to foster D.C. youth’s visual literacy, critical thinking skills and creative expression.

From August 3rd to 14th, students drawn from Ward 6’s Cesar Chavez Capitol Hill Public Charter High School and Ward 8’s ArtReach at THEARC, will collaborate in a two week art workshop illuminating the diverse neighborhoods on both sides of the Anacostia River. International artist Max Levi Frieder, who has worked with youth to inspire public art from Jerusalem to Antarctica, will lead students to create this remarkable artwork. The underlying energy of the mural will focus on capturing the essence of neighborhoods along the Anacostia River through trans-community dialogue. “Just like the future 11th Street Bridge Park, this two week mural workshop will serve as a metaphorical bridge connecting residents on both sides of the river” said Park Director Scott Kratz. This locally designed mural will be exhibited at THEARC’s ArtReach Community Gallery from August 19th to September 30th, 2015, the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in October 2015, and then travel to the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) headquarters this winter. The mural will find a space at the 11th Street Bridge Park when it opens to the public in 2019.

About the 11th Street Bridge Park, a project of Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC
As the old 11th Street traffic bridges that connect Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill and historic Anacostia neighborhoods have aged out, a local non-profit Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC – and the District government are transforming this old infrastructure into the city’s first elevated park: a new venue for healthy recreation, environmental education and the arts.
The 11th Street Bridge Park will be a place unlike any other in Washington, D.C. – one that supports the community’s physical, environmental, cultural and economic health. After a seven-month design competition informed by more than 500 community meetings, the design team of OMA+OLIN was selected in October 2014. With the design in place, Bridge Park staff has launched a capital campaign to construct this new civic space, securing more than $10 million to date. For more information and to see the OMA+OLIN renderings, visit www.bridgepark.org.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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