5 Curators, 25 Artists, 8 Wards, 16 Weeks, 1 Cultural Capital

Transforming the District with Public Art

5×5 – A Project of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is an ambitious District-wide program of contemporary, temporary public art dedicated to exploring new perspectives on our city through the lens of five curators. In fact, it is the largest, temporary public art project in the District. The project will begin in early September and end by December of 2014.

To achieve the 5×5 objectives, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) commissions five highly-experienced and innovative art professionals, who each select five artists to develop and present exciting, publicly accessible art works. The result is twenty-five projects that activate and enliven all eight wards and add a layer of creativity and artistic expression to the District’s neighborhoods. This unique curatorial approach allows for a different artistic viewpoint from each curator, resulting in a wide range of diverse, compelling installations and performances.

Through 5×5, DCCAH continues to develop opportunities for curators and artists to engage in the experimental and to further their artistic development through authentic relationship building with the community, actively using the environment and its materials in the creation of artworks, and exploring themes of social justice.

5×5 Objectives

• ACTIVATE spaces and sites to attract residents and visitors to explore within and beyond the monumental core.
• SHOWCASE works of art that are innovative and engage the viewers in dynamic, interactive and creative ways.
• DEVELOP opportunities for artists to experiment with approaches not possible through permanent public art commissions.
• BUILD relationships with local residents, galleries and cultural institutions.
• CREATE an environment in which the works of local, regional, national and international artists merge to reflect the character and identity of the city.
• PROMOTE the creative profile of Washington, DC to the nation and the world.

History of 5×5

5×5 was first launched through the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) and presented with the National Cherry Blossom Festival in the spring of 2012. In the inaugural year, DCCAH set a precedent and broke new ground for temporary public art programming within the nation’s capital. The twenty-five projects reached all eight wards and attracted close to 5,000 residents and visitors to the sites. These installations and performances activated and enlivened publicly accessible spaces as diverse as the Evidence Warehouse in Anacostia, the SW Waterfront and Upper 14th Street. Additionally, 5×5 built strong relationships with local residents, galleries and cultural institutions such as the Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Arc, Washington Project for the Arts, Capitol Hill Arts Workshop and the Sasha Bruce House through hosting projects and events.

For the 2014 project, the DCCAH issued a call for curators in 2013. An expert selection committee was established to review and select projects. Each curator was asked to explain how they view Washington, DC through a curatorial lens and how they would approach temporary public art in the city. After rigorous review, the five 2014 curators were awarded.

About DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) is responsible for providing grants, programs and educational activities that encourage diverse artistic expressions and learning opportunities, so that all District of Columbia residents and visitors can experience the rich culture of our city. One tool with which the agency accomplishes this goal is our DC Creates! Public Art program (DC Creates!). This program is responsible for purchasing, commissioning and installing public art works throughout the District to cultivate dynamic, vibrant and nurturing communities through the use of art and design. DC Creates! provides opportunities for individuals to encounter art in parks, libraries, community centers, government offices, bridges and other public venues. DCCAH currently has a public art portfolio that includes more than 120 permanent site-specific works and an Art Bank Collection of nearly 2,500 artworks purchased from local artists and installed within District government agencies.