The District seen through an artistic lens

Photo courtesy of Google Maps

Photo courtesy of Google Maps

By Lanie Rivera

While on your everyday commute, you pass by that colorful mural in your local metro station twice a day — do you ever wonder what it means? Which artist painted it? If there are any more like it in the District, and where?

Well, lucky for you, District art lovers combined their local art findings onto one convenient map, creating a simple way to plan a weekend trip to explore the city and quench your thirst for D.C. art culture.

The map features locations, descriptions and titles of public art pieces, delving deeper into the District’s rich artistic history.

Check out the mural details and the interactive map here.

Open Walls provides outlet for legal street art

By Lanie Rivera

Are you looking for an outlet for your intrinsic artistic yearnings?

Contact Open Walls, an initiative that allows District residents to leave their mark on the city by painting a mural on a public wall space (legally, of course). Open Walls is sponsored by Albus Cavus, an international artist organization that improves public spaces while promoting neighborhood engagement through art.

On the project’s website, they list many benefits to their cause, including the enhancement of local culture, improvement of education, promotion of open expression and creativity, economic benefit for property owners and most importantly, the “improvement of public health.”

An article on the Elevation D.C. website recently observed that one of these murals commissioned by Open Walls in 2009, located along the Red Line’s tracks at the Rhode Island metro stop, has been crowded by illegal graffiti.

But the mural represents a legal, beneficial and artistic contribution to the area, changing typical assumptions about street artwork.

“… it stands in loud defiance of both the surrounding gray cityscape and stereotypes about graffiti,” wrote Elevation D.C.

Current Open Wall spaces in the District include Garfield Park, Edgewood, Sherman Wall, Perry Center, Ivy City and the Raritan River Art Walk, according to the project’s website.

To participate, follow the steps listed here. Paint the city.

*Video courtesy of Liane Kay. It tells the story behind the mural on the 700 foot wall on Rhode Island Avenue, Washington, D.C.

Super Mario hits the District


Photo courtesy of Dave’s Geeky Ideas

By Lanie Rivera

Designer Dave Delisle of Dave’s Geeky Ideas has caused quite a stir among the District’s Super Mario fans with his Super Mario World Map fashioned out of the WMATA metro lines.

Gamer’s critiques are aimed at the real-life metro system rather than the artist’s creative spin on the map design.

“If this is anything like WMATA, understand that half of the stations will be unplayable due to station ‘improvements.’ And don’t even consider playing any red line station on the weekends,” commented Taytacular, a video game consumer, on’s March 20 post.

While some gamers were amused by Delisle’s design, others debated the efficiency of the map if it were played as a video game.

Many responses, like Taytacular’s, said the frequent construction of WMATA would pose many setbacks for Super Mario gamers.

“I bet my stop, Vienna, doesn’t have the princess. Just a castle under construction and a lot of magic whistle terminals that don’t work half the time,” said consumer J.D. Levite.

The District’s metro system was not the first subject of Delisle’s creative remix. California’s BART system was made into Mario Kart’s iconic Rainbow Road track.  The Canadian native artist also created maps for his country — Vancouver’s Skytrain map and Montreal’s TTC subway were designed in the likes of Super Mario Bros 3. London’s tube system couldn’t even escape his artistry.

In the future, Delisle hopes to work on designs for cities such as Atlanta and St. Louis.

His posters are for sale here.