Look Up: New Endangered Animal Sculptures in Woodley and Cleveland Park

photo by Craig Garrett

Thanks to Cassandra for sharing the awesome The Endangered Animal Public Art Project from District Bridges:

“Public art encourages people to move around a space differently and encourages them to engage with the world around them. This is just one of the reasons why Cleveland Park Main Street (CPMS), a program of District Bridges, has joined forces with Woodley Park Main Street (WPMS) and the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW) to bring ten new works of public art to the Connecticut Avenue NW corridor in Washington, DC.

This new series of sculptures will adorn ten light posts along Connecticut Avenue NW, specifically showcasing endangered species. The design focus came about because of the proximity to the National Zoo and their shared concern for the environment. The Endangered Animals Project combines an educational component with aesthetic excellence, celebrating local artists that will draw residents and visitors alike. In addition to the sculptures themselves, CHAW, CPMS, and WPMS have plans for the Endangered Animals Project to be the basis for more events and activities, such as an afternoon of live classical music at each lamp post.

This public art project is an outgrowth of a similar project on Capitol Hill. A father, out walking with his two children, used the single lettered streets in his Capitol Hill neighborhood to teach them the alphabet. “K is for Kangaroo, B is for Butterfly” he would often repeat to them. This inspired the idea to mount works of art on the lampposts and he approached CHAW about bringing the idea to life. Thus the Alphabet Animals came to exist in twenty unique locations across Capitol Hill, and art became a conduit for fostering community In 2014, 10 sculptures were successfully installed through a pilot partnership with DDOT, and in 2020, another 10 joined the menagerie through a grant from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities

CPMS and WPMS hope that this public art series also has an economic impact, encouraging people to visit the small, local businesses that will surround the art. Businesses along Connecticut Avenue are still struggling to reach pre-pandemic profits as people’s going out habits have changed. This project will encourage residents, business owners, artists, makers, and passersby to explore the inter-connectivity of community through the entry point of unexpected encounters with high-quality art in public spaces, as well as introduce them to the importance of protecting the wild and wonderful world around us.”

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