Public Art by Location
Words Beats & Life acts as the lead arts consultant for governmental and private mural creation programs, creating public art for over a decade with local, national and international graffiti and fine arts artists, muralists and street artists. We recruit & train youth apprentices to work under the direction of Master Artists in residency in collaboration with MuralsDC and our own public art program, Fine Lines.
In the Summer of 2015 alone, we brought almost 20,000 sq/ft of new public art featuring almost 100 artists from around the world.
Public Art Programs
MuralsDC is a partnership between the District’s Department of Public Works, the DC Commission on the Arts and the Humanities, and Words Beats & Life. Initiated in 2007 by Ward 1 Council member Jim Graham, the project has resulted in the creation of over thirty murals that reflect the character, culture, and history of neighborhoods in the District, particularly in areas with high incidents of illegal graffiti. The MuralsDC project promotes respect for public and private property as well as community awareness for the young people we work with by teaching them the art of creation versus destruction.
How We Do It
MuralsDC is a collaborative program where Words Beats & Life and the Department of Public Works (DPW) leads a collaborative process with community residents, property owners, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities to create murals that reflect the character of a community. Here’s how we do it:
- Identifying the mural site. DPW selects sites based on nominations by property/business owners and community residents with permission from property owners.
- Involving the community. Community support of a mural is what ensures the success of this program. We reach out to gather suggestions and ideas that are then given to the artists to develop mural designs at ANC meeting and civic association meetings.
- Designing mural options. The artist creates renderings of the design based on community and property owner input, which are then presented at a selection committee meeting where final designs are selected.
- Choosing a Design: A representative of the property and community members review designs. The designs are then voted on by these groups, along with staff members from DPW, the DCCAH, and Words Beats & Life staff.
- Setting a date. A date for the mural workshop for community youth, when requested, and a start date for painting is chosen. Property owners are encouraged to post this information along with the final design at the property to alert residents that a new piece of public art is being created in their community. This information is also available online at www.muralsdcproject.com.
- Creating the mural. Artists lead an on-site mural creation workshop for Fine Lines Apprentices to participate in as they prepare to assist the Master Artist in the creation of the mural.
There’s More than 1 Way to Jam!
Fine Lines showcases the work of muralists, graffiti writers, graffiti fine artists and street artists. We named our program Fine Lines because graffiti artists, muralists, and street arts are united by their use of line work in each form. We value the leaders of each community and the divergent histories that each has trail blazed. We honor and celebrate each form.
Fine Lines Master Level Artist Residency:
Words Beats & Life has developed an artist in residency program. This program includes the creation of a mural, teaching class to Apprentice Students and a gallery show that includes an artist talk back. Residencies are currently by invitation only.
The Apprentices are the student leaders of The Academy. With more time spent at WBL and more finely tuned arts skills, Apprentices literally lead by example developing portfolios, artistic statements, and resumes to bring them closer towards getting paid for their art. The Apprentice program includes instruction, project creation and participation in a gallery show.
Public Art Creation
We use a similar process to the one outlined as part of MuralsDC, but we work to give the artist more freedom and control of the work he/she produces as recognition of the sacred nature of their work in creating new community hubs and magnets for attention. We call our program Fine Lines because graffiti artists, muralists, and street arts are united by their use of line work in each project.
City Full of Walls
Our newest donor supported mural creation program for Apprentice students and master artists to be the lead artists for a series of 2 new murals. These murals will represent stories behind the walls of DC homes. One will capture the legacy of a DC social advocate while the other will embody the mission of a group striving to give returning citizens second chances.
Capital City Bike Mural Tour
Artistic treasures cover the landscape of DC, but do you know where they all are? Join BicycleSPACE and Words Beats & Life for a tour that will let you explore and discover these great public art pieces. Resting periodically, your guides will offer unique insight about each mural like, which ones were created by WBL Apprentices and Master Artists??? Uncover a new side of DC with us at a relaxed and casual pace.
- Top Notch- A DC breaking cipher with some of the region’s dopest crews hosted at The Kennedy Center.
- Freshest of All Time- A 2×2 Bboy/Bgirl battle featuring breaking workshops and cash prizes!
- District Classic- A qualifying round of the World BBoy Classic held right below our NW office featuring crews all the way from Las Vegas to Queens!
- Paint Jams: We’ve had 100’s of artists from all over cover thousands of square feet of public space with incredible works of art! Go to Upcoming/Past Events to find out when the next one is!
- Virtual Musical Jam Sessions
- Student Mixtapes
Bum Rush the Boards: A Hip-Hop Chess tournament for youth where chess teams from across the country come to DC to battle it out on the board!
All City: This is what it’s all about! This student showcase displays the work via live performance, gallery or chess game in order to show the world the skills they’ve acquired during their time at WBL.
Park Jam: A special twist on All City, Park Jam is more than a student showcase; it’s a 5 hour community cookout featuring live performances from other DC talent, giveaways, games and guaranteed good time