Dancing in the streets

A lot of life was just added to New York Avenue here in DC recently thanks to the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
A series of sculpture exhibits is planned in the upcoming 5 years for a rather soul-less section of New York Avenue right downtown near the White House (between 12 and 13th streets). The first artist selected for the series is Niki de Saint Phalle, best known for her Stravinsky Fountain in front of the Pompidou Center in Paris.
Her large and colorful sculptures bring a smile to the face of everyone who sees them. The expressions they evoke are of pure joy and exuberance, just what dreary downtown needs sometimes! Even while taking these pictures, I got a lot of comments on how great they were.
The sculptures are in stark contrast to much of the art that is featured throughout the city: overwhelmingly traditional and much of it very staid and seriously themed.
The purpose of the exhibit is to bring the museum into the streets and the community. I think it will also bring some attention to NMWA which I have to admit I've never visited, despite living a mere 3 blocks away!
Saint Phalle liked to challenge the notion of what fine art is, and these pieces are no exception. Whimsical yet still monumental, I would imagine a lot of people enjoy these pieces a lot more than they would a trip to their local museum (or so they would think). Art is to be enjoyed, and these are undoubtably joyful!
They celebrate women, children, cultural diversity and love. I think we can all get behind those subjects.
Every 1 to 3 years, the installation will be changed out, but I hope this one remains longer rather than not. Even the signage for Saint Phalle is fun!Do you have a favorite local statue or exhibit to bring a smile to your face everyday? I would love to hear about it!

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