Housing Complex

Arboreal Accent for New York Avenue Bridge

What the art would look like lit up at night. (Kent Bloomer 2010)

You know when you drive, bike, or walk over the crest of the New York Avenue bridge in Northeast and the city sort of opens up before you? It's a thrilling moment for the newcomer, or the homecomer, when you realize, "I'm in Washington."

In 2012, that moment will get a bit more dramatic, when the bridge is crowned with an abstract metal bower illuminated at night by spotlights. It's part of an ongiong project by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to set off key entrypoints to the city with public art, like the flashing beacon recently installed on the 14th Street bridge.

The artist, Kent Bloomer, has done dozens of monumental art projects around the country, including one at our own Reagan Airport. Some in the audience at his presentation before ANC 5C last week, while impressed, wondered whether the art might provide dangerously distracting for drivers–but Bloomer says a much bigger project, the Archway Monument on 1-80 in Nebraska, has only resulted in one accident so far. The whole project is expected to cost about $500,000 from start to finish.

More images after the jump.

A model version. (Kent Bloomer 2010)

Daylight. (Kent Bloomer 2010)

  • Rick Mangus

    $500,000 and the city deficits is how much and we are funding this? PRIORITIES, PRIORITIES!

  • park view

    Yeah, we wouldn't want our city to be beautiful! That costs money. Move to Detroit and see how the lack of investment in public art makes a city oh so desirable.

  • Lance

    I think I remember seeing a series on television showing that Detroit had some of the best public art in the nation owing to its affluence during most of the twentieth century. I think the only correlation between the amount and quality of public art in a city is with that city's ability to generate and maintain that art. I.e., It's a casual relationship with the city's economic state being the driver, and not the reverse. E.g., Do you make more money at work when you live in a nicer house? or do you live in a nicer house when you make more money at work? public art is a city's 'nicer house'. And we're fortunate that this city is the nation's 'nicer house'.

  • Rick Mangus

    'park view', if you are so hell bent on public art then you pay for it!

  • cdcd

    public art money doesn't come from our taxes and wouldn't otherwise be available to add toward the payment of our deficit.

  • Rosina

    I think sprucing up entry points is a good idea and almost think this is too muted of a project as it is.

    My question to the Commission is ALWAYS do you look to locals first when you seek out these projects? I'm sure the artist is awesome etc, I just like to think you strayed from paying a DC artist on this project because you exhausted ALL of DC's resources.

    Many DC artists don't even look to the Commission for funding, its almost easier to earn what you might get for a personal grant at a minimum wage job.

  • hillman

    This is a minuscule amount of the overall construction project. And it has a pretty big impact.

    I say its worth doing.

  • Ben

    I guess in Rick's mind, spending public dollars on anything other than the barest of necessities required for a public project to function is wasteful. I thereby suggest that public buildings no longer be painted, but rather constructed solely from concrete. And none of them should have lawns, as those require maintenance and upkeep. And do not even *think* about sticking a sculpture or mural on a building: that straight-up communism right there.

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