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‘We Are Anacostia’ Mural Brightens Historic Anacostia

Driving over the bridge on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE, just before you reach the traffic light at the intersection of Good Hope Road, you can’t miss the bright blue mural that now wraps around the corner. Transformed by public art, residents and visitors are now welcomed into the Ward 8 neighborhood with the “We Are Anacostia” mural.

The mural is the vision of award-winning artist Luis Del Valle, with inspiration from the Anacostia community. The impressive painting is approximately 200 feet, with two sides, and serves as a visual timeline marking the proud past and present of the Anacostia Historic District; the Anacostia Native Americans who fished in the Anacostia River, Marion Barry who led the District with a fighting spirit, Frederick Douglass whose estate sits atop a hill in Anacostia, a young couple of Anacostia who stand for social justice and affordable housing and two young children who study technology and science.

The mural was made possible thanks to a unique partnership between the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) and the Anacostia Business Improvement District (BID). DCRA built the wall that serves as the mural’s canvas, and the BID commissioned the mural in conjunction with local business owners and community leaders.

“Teaming up, we were able to turn an empty lot that was a bit of an eyesore into a beautiful celebration of the community,” said DCRA Director Ernest Chrappah. “Mayor Bowser charged DCRA with making sure vacant properties are safe and secure, and with this project, we’ve taken that charge to the next level.”

Along with making sure vacant buildings and lots are safe and secure, DCRA also works to bring them back into productive use by classifying them as either vacant or blighted. Once the building or lot is determined to be vacant or blighted, it is taxed at a higher tax rate. To view a map of the 6,000+ vacant and blighted properties in the District, check out our agency dashboard.

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