Residents celebrate local art

Foggy Bottom residents gathered to enjoy the sunny autumn weather and celebrate the end of the neighborhood’s outdoor sculpture display last Saturday.

The exhibit, which the Foggy Bottom Association has run since May, showcases modern and abstract sculptures by area artists on the lawns of the neighborhood’s historic row houses. Saturday’s celebration marked the last in a series of tours given by the artists themselves before the exhibit will be taken down in the coming weeks.

“We already are getting a catch in our throat because the sculptures are going,” said Mary Kay Shaw, the event’s co-director.

The sculptures featured in the exhibit were diverse in structure, material and size. The first sculpture on the tour, called “Accumulative Effect,” found its inspiration from car parts and spiders. Its striking red color and large size were juxtaposed with the yellow house behind it.

On the other side of the spectrum, the sculpture titled “Leaf” blended in with its surroundings and was barely noticeable until walked upon. Made of fabricated bronze, the modern sculpture looked as though it was always a part of the neighborhood.

“We wanted the exhibit to be as new and innovative as it could possibly be,” Shaw said during the tour.

Careful consideration went into the process of choosing the featured sculptures.

In a contest conducted by the Washington Sculptors Group, curator Shirley Koller selected pieces based on the quality of work and diversity.

The curator faced challenges that included space, location and the homeowners themselves.

The area homeowners, whose yards were turned into temporary gallery space, had no choice in selecting which sculpture they would display. Instead the curator and artist determined which spots were appropriate for each sculpture.

“No one would really turn it down,” Shaw said.

Sam Noto, sculptor of a piece titled “Blue” and the artist guide for Saturday’s tour, commended the wide acceptance of the exhibit among locals.

“I’m so glad it was well-received,” Noto said.

Chas Colburn, a member of the exhibit’s advisory committee, installed the sculptures and oversaw the logistics of the project. He said the exhibit was vital in bringing the community together through the arts.

“It brings dialogue to the community,” Colburn said.

He said the temporary nature of the exhibit was a way to inspire residents without overwhelming them.

As for the future, Colburn said he hopes local businesses will become more involved. The project is currently completely funded by the community and the FBA.

The outdoor exhibit officially closes on Oct. 25.

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