Let's Paint the Streets

Initiative Overview

Let’s Paint the Streets (LPS) is a hyper-local placemaking initiative providing residents and visitors of the Logan Circle neighborhood an art exhibit spanning xx city blocks. Inspired by the theme of Transformation and Rebirth, the artwork is meant to evoke conversations about the community’s past, present, and future. With permission from the District’s Department of Transportation, LPS commissioned 16 artists, predominantly young emerging creatives, to wrap 20 utility boxes with their original art. LPS spearheaded the production process by converting original works to high-resolution digital files, printing them on vinyl and installing them on the boxes. Artists used an array of mediums, including abstract fine art, subjective illustration and graphic design, in the collection. The art will be on display for the next decade and was created with the theme of Transformation and Rebirth based on the community’s evolution, as described in the later section of this page. 

LPS was conceived by Tarek Kouddous, a Logan Circle resident and founder of Radical Empathy, a startup charged with vitalizing community and creating belonging by bringing people together through visual storytelling. Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2F, Logan Circle Main Street, and Logan Circle Community Association worked in unison to back the effort. Logan Circle Community Association was awarded a grant for the project from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and Logan Circle Main Street provided additional funding.

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Artists

Transformation and Rebirth | Artwork Community-Based Theme

Following conversations with long-time residents and small business owners, the creators of Let's Paint the Streets identified Transformation and Rebirth as a foundational storyline  and anchored the project with that themes in mind. Paying homage to Logan Circle’s past, present, and future, LPS artists produced their visual interpretation of the neighborhood’s story, unifying the diverse artwork into a cohesive collection. After the Civil War, Logan Circle represented a tale of two neighborhoods. Both mansions and housing for freed slaves co-existed in the historic neighborhood. Since its founding, Logan Circle has undergone significant transformations. As the city grew, wealthy White families moved farther north and affluent Black residents replaced them. Fast forward to World War II and an influx of government workers flocked to the area, triggering a housing shortage which eventually led to the division of large homes into rooming houses and apartments. In the late 1950s, with new desegregation laws at play, more housing opened up to Black Washingtonians in other neighborhoods, and many left Logan Circle. The suburbs surrounding the District eventually drew attention and investment away from the city, causing the decline of many neighborhoods including Logan Circle. The area saw major civil disturbances in response to the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Logan Circle’s tenure as a prosperous shopping district known as “Automobile Row” ended with the 1968 riots, which left parts of the neighborhood burned, boarded up and abandoned. In the 1970s, the creative force of Dupont Circle’s gay businesses and counterculture expanded to Logan Circle, and townhouses were slowly reclaimed and renovated. Over the ensuing 20 years, the 14th Street corridor was brought back to life. Theaters further spurred the revival in the 1980s, and businesses followed suit as streets became safer. The positive changes have led to a steep rise in housing costs in Logan Circle and other neighborhoods across the city, displacing Black residents. 

The Logan Circle Community Association is one of the premier civic and residential organizations in the District of Columbia.

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