Murals around town, and especially on the Hill, are reminders that our world is happier and bolder with color and art in it. The Capitol Hill Restoration Society recently shared a compilation of murals around the neighborhood, and I noticed there was a glaring omission: The mural at the Hopkins Garden.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting this mural, which was created in late summer at the Hopkins Apartments by two local artists, Mark Garrett and Dietrich Williams and organized by Destinee Johnson of the 11th Street Bridge Park. The non-profit has been working with local talent to bring the communities on both sides of the river together through art, community gardening and more. The mural was commissioned to anchor the garden, which has 40 plots and 20 fruit trees and brings pride and joy to the residents in the area. While the garden has been operational for about three years, the mural is new this year. The garden itself is situated in a calm, tucked-away plot of land that overlooks the Southeast Freeway and the Anacostia River.
The mural at Hopkins is particularly lovely: A field of blue is intersected by the words HOPKINS GARDEN in negative space and created out of wheatpaste. The surface of the mural is smooth to the touch– it has a protecting coat to deter vandalism. Mark took a photo of the apartments and printed it so it the buildings would carve the name out into the blue. A juicy pear, an orchid and other flowers come around the sides, clean and simple. Dietrich and Mark told me about how the residents of the apartments came together not just to create something beautiful to watch over their community garden, but also to troubleshoot and problem-solve. They recalled different residents’ contributions to the stability of the piece, which is attached to one of the fences in the complex.
You can follow Mark Garrett and Dietrich Williams on Instagram. Dietrich mentioned he’s been working on a mural at HIS Grooming Lounge, 1242 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, so keep your eyes peeled for that one.