5 x 5 Project to Spread Art Across DC

The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities announced its second installation of public art displays around the District. The 5×5 Project will feature five contemporary art curators and their handpicked teams of five artist who will to create 25 temporary public art exhibits throughout all eight wards.

The 5×5 project will take place this fall from September to December. After an intense application process, including art submissions, personal statements and recommendations, the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities chose Lance Fung, Shamim Momin, Stephanie Sherman, Justine Topfer and A.M. Weaver as the project curators in December 2013. The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities publicist Sarah Massey said, “All of the artists have not been chosen, but the curators have free reign to choose who they want to execute their projects.”

The initiative has a budget of $500,000. Each of the five curators was allotted $100,000 to help further develop art in D.C. based on his own original concepts.

“I was inspired to create temporary monuments with profound statements in which a city like D.C. should hear,” said curator Lance Fung, chief curator for Fung Collaboratives. Fung’s first D.C. installation, “Nonuments,” will feature five art monuments with concentrations on subjects such as human trafficking and the value of America’s hard labor workers. “We want this project to be a call to action,” he said.

Fung also plans to create Nonument Park, a temporary park for the artists’ monuments to be displayed in two vacant lots near the intersection of Fourth and I streets in Southwest D.C. The park and its artworks will include inviting features such as picnic tables, park benches and other appealing pieces geared toward the community and its visitors.  “The location the DCAAH chose is perfect, right at the doorstep of a school and library,” said Fung.  

Southwest resident Clarke Conner thinks initiatives like these are perfect for the area. “It’s crazy because D.C. can be so nice on one block, but a whole new world a few streets over. Some areas really need improvement, especially places with kids everywhere,” Conner said. “I do not know much about contemporary art, but I am excited to hear about this coming to the area.”

Curator A.M. Weaver’s background in the art community led her to the project. After being encouraged by various artists to apply, Weaver created the concept “Ceremonies of Dark Men” featuring billboards and photographic images in five locations created by five male artists.  

“I pulled from a list of exhibitions that I have been generating for years and expanded upon it,” Weaver said. Through the 5×5 initiative, Weaver plans to address issues of black manhood and incorporate the Washington literary community. “I chose to select artists who all have done work related to reimaging the black male image,” she said. Similar to her fellow curator Fung, Weaver hopes that her concept will spark the attention of the community and beyond.