Pow! Wow! DC Transforms Streets of DC Into Works of Art

Kelly Towles, the festival's regional director, says the festival runs from May 5 until May 14 and is a celebration of art.

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Pow! Wow! D.C. is a 10-day festival that brings a group of local and international artist to D.C. to brighten the city with art. The festival works with the NoMa Business Improvement District to secure walls for artists in the neighborhood. Kelly Towles, the festival's regional director, says the event is an almost all volunteer effort.
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Erica Jones
This year's festival features 20 artists at eight sites, including this mural by Rich Thorne of Bristol, England. Towles says artist have creative freedom to do whatever they want with the space they're given, but there are three rules: no sex, no violence and no politics.
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Inspired by Washington's cherry blossoms, Mari Inukai of Japan decided to include cherry blossoms in her mural in the area of First and Pierce streets NE.
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EMPTY_CAPTION"My hope with this pairing is that everyone will smile and feel warm," Inukai said. Each year, Pow! Wow! D.C. has a roster of both local and international artists.
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Erica Jones
Towles says the murals stay up for about a year or two. This mural, painted on what used to be Ibiza nightclub, is from one of the festival's previous years. Other murals are painted on buildings that are slated to be demolished.
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Erica Jones
Several artists take over a 1,000 foot wall along the Metropolitan Branch Trail. Aaron Scales of BroCoLoco is painting one of the murals. Scales says the mural was inspired by chameleons. "In today's age, it's so hard to be adaptable," he said.
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Erica Jones
Christina Wing Chow of Richmond, Virginia, is painting a candy-inspired dragon mural along part of the Metropolitan Branch Trail.
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In the art world, Henley Bounkhong is known as Golden Rabbit Silent Monkey. His piece is also featured along the Metropolitan Branch Trail.
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Michael Roy, also known as Birdcap, says his mural is inspired by South Korean animations and other historical aspects.
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Roy, who is from Memphis, Tennessee, says he's been shocked by the number of people who come out for the festival's walking tours. "This is my first time in D.C., and I'm blown away by how many of you come out to see the murals," he said.
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This year, Martin Swift of D.C. is adding to his mural from last year's festival. Swift says the piece, which features one of his friends and his child, is an exploration of fatherhood.
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Taj Tenfold of Kingston, Jamaica, is also painting a mural featuring his friends. He says his colors are meant to convey coolness and warmth.
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Michael Murphy, also known as Perceptual Art, created this portrait of his girlfriend using figures cut from PVC.
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Each figure is meant to show feminine movement.
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Erica Jones
The 10-day festival includes a number of events, including a 2-hour walking tour of new and past murals. Walking tours will be held May 12 and 13 at 4 p.m.
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Other events include a digital art auction on May 9 and Secret Walls, a live graffiti battle, on May 10. Admission to the events is free and open to all ages. Click here for more information.
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