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Ward 7 Welcomes Three New Murals

Artist William Howard works on mural Murals are a common form of public art in Ward 7, adding to the richness of our neighborhoods culture and history. This season three new murals produced by members of the Ward 7 Arts Collaborative will be added to east of the rivers portfolio of public art. The Unity Health Care East of the River Health Center is hosting the newest mural in ward 7 in their newly refurbished children's reading room. Approximately 2,000 children visit the reading room each year. Muralist William C. Howard designed and executed a full wall painting that will promote the reading room renovation projects goal of promoting literacy among young people. The refurbished room has new seating and new books to go along with the new mural.

The projects contributors included Sherry Ways (an interior designer as well as a board member of the Ward 7 Arts Collaborative), Mr. William C Howard (an artist and Ward 7 Arts Collaborative member), and John Earl Cooper (an artist and member of Black Artists DC. The reading room renovation project was recognized and chosen as one of three nationally recognized Project H.O.M.E. sites by the Decorators Alliance of North America. For more information on the project please look for the article in the October issue of East of the River and visit the Project H.O.M.E. blog.

This year two public elementary schools will be adorned with murals made by local artists. Artist Roderick Turner will be developing a 20 ft by 30 ft mural on the history and progression of African American dance at Smothers Elementary School. Schoolteacher and Chairperson of the Ward 7 Arts Collaborative, Julia Jones, will be spearheading the project. Ms. Jones has done her part to give Smothers Elementary School a place in the history of African American dance by heading the Smothers Dance Ensemble for 24 years. The dancers, ranging in age from five to over 18 years old, have performed throughout the DC metropolitan area as well as New York. The artist Roderick Turner has produced other murals throughout the city and is currently a participant in the National Gallery of Art Copyist Program.

The second public school mural is being developed by artist Osana Akin at Benning Park Recreation Center. Osana Akin has showed his work at various festivals on the White House Grounds, The District Building, MLK Library, Howard University, and the Smithsonian Institution.

Artist William Howard works on mural