Duke Ellington Mural

Photo by anonymous user. Posted March 2012.
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Artist
Year
1997
Category
Tags
Description

After being installed in 1997, this Duke Ellington Mural (painted by Byron Peck) was taken down from its original U Street location because of new construction that obscured the mural completely. This was much to the dismay of many of the Shaw community residents, such as Howard University student Amanda Miller. In a Washington Post article, the 18 year old jazz aficionado expressed that “Duke’s familiar face helped me through my first years at Howard and gave me a sense of permanence through my many transitions...With Duke discarded to make room for a larger Metro stop, a sandwich shop, and a Starbucks, it seemed that gentrification was wiping away U Street’s character. I mourned the death of my Duke and my street.”

However, in April of 2004, it was enlarged and reinstalled on the adjacent building- the True Reformer Hall, which was the site of Ellington’s first concert. Although it is no longer in its original space, the enlarged mural is easier for people to see now as it is higher up, and it covers a fading Coca-Cola logo. Many residents of the community are relieved that the mural, which represents the famous musical past of their neighborhood, was saved rather than being discarded into a forgotten pile.

Commissioned By
DCArts
Location

On True Reformer Building at 1200 U St.; visible as you walk between 13th and 12th Streets on U St.

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