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What!?!??! Iconic Duke Ellington Mural Gone From True Reformer Building on U Street

by Prince Of Petworth May 31, 2012 at 11:00 am 12 Comments

Holy cow, the great Duke Ellington mural on the side of the True Reformer Building at 1200 U Street, NW has been removed. Here’s what it used to look like:


Photo by flickr user @mjb

The dedication plaque remains:

Anyone know why?

Here’s what it looked like in 1979:


Photo via Historic American Buildings Survey

UPDATE from DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities:

Two weeks ago, the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities took the first steps in restoring the famous G. Byron Peck mural of Duke Ellington on the True Reformer Building (1200 U Street, NW) to its original condition.

The artwork, which was painted on cement panels, was taken down due to elemental decay over the last eight years.

“The Duke Ellington mural is an iconic artwork in Washington,” said Lionell Thomas, Executive Director at the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. “Over the years, this mural has become a symbol for the U Street community. We are working diligently to insure that the mural is returned to the community in its original condition.”

The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities hired the fine arts services company, ARTEX, to remove, store and prep the mural for damage assessment. Restoration of the mural may take up to one year.

The mural was originally created and installed in 1997 on the side of Mood Indigo, an antique and vintage clothing shop, at 1214 U St., NW. The mural was relocated in 2004 to the True Reformer Building.

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