The opening reception was well attended with over 1000 folks coming to support the arts. Mayor Anthony Williams, Council members Linda Cropp and Vincent Gray, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Chair Dorothy McSweeney and Executive Director Anthony Gittens gave welcome speechs to visitors and lots of applause to the many artists whose works now adorn the halls. As Mayor Williams said, Art is not just necessary; it proves vital to the economy of Washington, DC. Mayor Williams reminded us that after September 11, DC was desperate to bring economic recovery to the city. With the help of the arts, through whimsical projects such as the Party Animals and Pandemania, the city made an economic recovery and is strong today! As he was speaking to the many guests, I thought G--! I’m going to miss this Mayor who is a strong supporter of the arts in DC…and his mother, Mrs. Virginia Williams. I hope they will continue working to keep the forward momentum for the arts. I’ve seen amazing changes through the partnership of the city with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities in the last decade and I like the current art climate. Now, with the newly installed City Hall Art Collection, Washington, DC is coming of age as a vital arts destination showcasing its finest creative talent. 80% of the artists in this new City Hall Art collection live in the Washington, DC area.
Artist Sondra N. Arkin was the Collection's Curator with Exhibition Selection Panelists: Betty Akers, Patricia Elwood, George Koch, Jack Rasmussen, Jacquelyn Serwer, Alec Simpson, and Ira E. Stohlman. Weighing in with essays on the art, in a handsome commemorative catalogue, are F. Lennox Campello, David Furchgott, Johanna Halford-MacLeod, Jack Rasmussen and Claudia Rousseau. The catalogue was designed by Mary Beth Ramsey with editorial assistance by Julia Morelli. The staff at the DC Commission including Charlotte Hoffman, Lisa Thomas, Rachel Dickerson, Carolyn Parker and Ebony Blanks did an exemplary job of coordinating the event and facilitating the installation.
Lots of folks put in time and effort for this amazing collection to come to life. City Hall is a cavernous building, albeit beautifully redone, which has more uncovered walls just waiting for art. Council Member Linda Cropp commented how wonderful to enter the building on the D Street entrance now and see a beautiful painting (Freya Grand’s Haute des Forets). As well, the main entrance on the ground floor showcases 13 artists and the art continues on every level up to the fifth floor. "All the artwork makes the building come alive," says Cropp. And I agree that roaming through the vast halls with open spaces and long corridors feels more like “home” now with “our” artists hanging on the walls. Great job everybody!
The City Hall Art Collection is one of many projects brought to life by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.
Contact: Charlotte Hoffman or Rachel Dickerson