CFA 17/NOV/22-6


500–600 4th Street, SW
Washington, DC
United States

D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities
Walls of I-395 underpass
Installation of public artwork "Gallery of Southwest"
Review Type


Dear Mr. Markey:

In its public meeting of 17 November conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the proposed installation of twelve murals titled the “Gallery of Southwest” along the walls of the underpass below I-395 in the 500–600 block of 4th Street, SW. The Commission members present recommended approval of the proposal and provided the following comments.

The Commission members commended the intention to improve this dark, unwelcoming underpass to create an enlivened connection between the residential and institutional areas of the neighborhood with a series of bold and expressive murals. They observed that pedestrian views of the murals will be constrained by the narrow existing sidewalks, resulting in either an awkwardly close viewing position or a more distant view across moving traffic, bicycle lanes, and parked cars. Accordingly, they recommended the consideration of removing the parking lanes and possibly widening the sidewalks to provide a setting commensurate with the proposed art installation. They expressed appreciation for the careful attention to the lighting design, and they emphasized the importance of long-term maintenance for the murals.

As a quorum was not present for the review, this recommendation will be placed on the administrative agenda for confirmation at the Commission’s next meeting. As always, the staff is available to assist you with future submissions.

/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

David Markey, Interim Executive Director
D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities
200 I Street, SE, Suite 1400
Washington, DC 20003

cc: Jessie Himmelrich, Southwest Business Improvement District
Reinhardt Swart, SmithGroup