Turf and Terrain is a public art project kicking off this weekend; the ~fifth~ installment of the Arts in Foggy Bottom Outdoor Sculpture Biennial involves sculptures, new media installations, and performance art, all taking place in the historic Foggy Bottom District (24th-ish and H-ish, NW, and thereabouts), in front of private residences. Featuring work from 14 artists – local, national, and international – there's a ton of Turf and Terrain to take in during its five month run (May 14 - October 22), and we caught up with curator Danielle O'Steen for a few quick questions on how it came together, how it fits into #aCreativeDC, and W H E N to check it all out:
What takeaways do you hope D.C.'s creative community has after engaging with Turf and Terrain? This exhibition is a true community effort, and shows what’s possible with civic partnership in Washington. The Arts in Foggy Bottom directors are neighborhood residents who are very passionate about bringing the arts to their community. Most of the homeowners who donate their properties have been part of the show since the beginning in 2008, and act as caretakers and contributors to the works throughout the exhibition's run. I hope visitors take away the incredible energy that comes from this collaboration, and find new ways to experience art that lives in public space. Most of the work was also commissioned specifically for this show, so visitors can see how these local, regional, and international artists have responded to the sites of the Foggy Bottom Historic District.
How did you select the various artists to be included in Turf and Terrain? The Arts in Foggy Bottom Outdoor Sculpture Biennial is a very unique public art exhibition...It gives artists the chance to show their work outdoors, on private property, and in a historic district for more than five months. For this year’s show, I was very interested in the idea of expanding the landscape of the Foggy Bottom Historic District where this show takes place, with work that gave visitors the chance to see the neighborhood’s history and idiosyncrasies anew. That's at the heart of Turf and Terrain. I also wanted to bring in artists that would push the boundaries of what constitutes outdoor sculpture, so the 14 artists participating in our show chose work in metal, wood, plastic, concrete, and ceramic, but also interactive new media and performance. The artists were selected to represent what’s going on in the larger field of sculpture in the D.C. area and beyond.
When's the best time to attend the show? We have some terrific programming throughout the show, including tours led by myself and the artists, three performances by D.C. artist Eames Armstrong, and two workshops by Baltimore artist Benjamin Andrew [above, images of his Foggy Bottom Microobservatory installation], who will lead visitors on a tour of the neighborhood’s wild microorganisms. We want to offer visitors many ways to get involved with the show, and have more information on our website: artsinfoggybottom.com.
For those who cannot attend our events, the show is available to them at any hour of the day. It's free, open to the public, and only two short blocks from the Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro stop, making it one of the most accessible — and hopefully, rewarding — arts programs in Washington!