Transforming public spaces, celebrating
creativity, and building pride
Recognizing the importance of art in creating a more vibrant community, the SWBID focuses on bringing public art into the neighborhood. In 2017, the SWBID partnered with the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Gallery to bring the art of Yayoi Kusama outside of the museum’s walls. The installation served a dual purpose by both enhancing public space and providing wayfinding from the L’Enfant metro station to the Hirshhorn’s entrance on Independence Avenue.
In 2018, the SWBID again partnered with the Hirshhorn to support their Brand New exhibition. Brand New SW was a public art project celebrating Washington’s innovative and collaborative art scenes. Washington-based artists No Kings Collective, NoMüNoMü, and SUPERWAXX created branded graphic posters inspired by Brand New: Art & Commodity in the 1980s, an exhibition exploring the iconic decade when artists blurred the boundary between art and marketing. These limited-edition posters were wheat-pasted, guerrilla style, around the public spaces of Southwest DC in April through mid-May 2018, in homage to the underground art practices of the 1980s.
For the newest Hirshhorn in the City project, the Hirshhorn brings the 1980s back, with a contemporary twist.
Traffic Box Art Wrap
Our Southwest Traffic Box Art Wrap project turns electrical boxes found on sidewalks and street corners into a collection of public art pieces. Find out where and what our 13 (and counting) art-wrapped traffic boxes look like!Learn More
Vision Zero: Art + People For Safer Intersections
Thanks to a Vision Zero grant, a city-wide initiative that aims to have zero transportation-related fatalities and serious injuries by the year 2024, from the District Department of Transportation, we commissioned local artists from Chalk Riot to install a traffic calming pavement mural at the busy neighborhood intersection of 4th and I Streets Southwest. The mural complements new bulb outs along the crosswalk corners, drawing attention to this protected pedestrian zone.
In addition, two other traffic calming interventions now exist at 4th and I Street. We’ve also added five new micro mobility parking corrals and enhanced bike lane protection along 4th street. The micro mobility parking corrals provide a designated parking area for dockless vehicles, clearing the way for pedestrians to easily navigate sidewalks. The BID team made use of stencils to bring fun shapes and color to the designated spaces, creating safer and more beautiful intersections and streets.
Public Art Framework
In Spring 2023, SWBID collaborated with community stakeholders to create the Southwest DC Public Art Framework. This framework aligns with our core goals of creating a vibrant community, fostering shared prosperity, enhancing connectivity, and showcasing the story of Southwest. With extensive experience in public art initiatives and ongoing community engagement, this framework will guide our annual planning, sustain a community-centered approach, and shape our collaborations with artists and creators. Together, we can bring more beauty and cultural enrichment to Southwest DC!See Our Public Art Framework