Occasionally opportunities come along. The DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities’ largest public art project is coming to Southwest in a big way. In addition to an installation at Arena Stage, the grassy, or mostly grassy, lawn between CVS and Christ United Methodist Church will see an explosion of visual and performance art during September as part of 5×5.  Lance Fung, who has organized projects around the world, most notably in Turin for the Olympics, is curating the works of five different artists here. The installations will activate the vacant lawn administered by the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development (DMPED).

Yet one thing lies in the path: the gravel pathway.

For all too long, Southwesters have bemoaned this pathway. It quickly became an infamous eyesore, tripping hazard, and impediment to otherwise activating the lawn. Yet DMPED had no inclination or incentive to address it.

Recognizing the incongruity of one DC agency compromising a preeminent public investment by another DC agency, I raised this issue with ANC Commissioner Stacy Cloyd. We pointed this incongruity out to DMPED and combined it with the fact that the agency was seeking the support of the Southwest community on a number of projects, including an extension of their Planned Unit Development approval.

As unveiled at May’s ANC meeting, we’re grateful that DMPED has acquiesced and will be providing a new pathway in time for the 5×5 installation in September. The pathway is uniquely designed to be functional while also supporting the 5×5 art project.

By: Kael Anderson

Southwest Neighborhood Assembly President

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