DC artist looks to inspire ‘resilience and joy’ with lawn art at National Building Museum

Artist Lisa Marie Thalhammer  of DC was commissioned by the Downtown DC Business Improvement District earlier this year, to use her artistic talents to create a design using lawn paint that promotes social distancing for the organization’s DowntownDC Summer Flicks series. It's called "Equilateral Network."
Artist Lisa Marie Thalhammer, of D.C., was commissioned by the Downtown DC Business Improvement District earlier this year to create a design using lawn paint that promotes social distancing for the organization’s DowntownDC Summer Flicks series. It’s called “Equilateral Network.”

Artist Lisa Marie Thalhammer, of D.C., was commissioned by the Downtown DC Business Improvement District earlier this year to create a design using lawn paint that promotes social distancing for the organization’s DowntownDC Summer Flicks series.

Artist Lisa Marie Thalhammer, of D.C., was commissioned by the Downtown DC Business Improvement District earlier this year to create a design using lawn paint that promotes social distancing for the organization’s DowntownDC Summer Flicks series. It’s called “Equilateral Network.”

Artist Lisa Marie Thalhammer, of D.C., was commissioned by the Downtown DC Business Improvement District earlier this year to create a design using lawn paint that promotes social distancing for the organization’s DowntownDC Summer Flicks series. It’s called “Equilateral Network.”

Lisa Marie Thalhammer was commissioned by the Downtown DC Business Improvement District earlier this year, to use her artistic talents to create a design using lawn paint that promotes social distancing for the organization’s DowntownDC Summer Flicks series. (Photo: Lisa Marie Thalhammer)
Artist Lisa Marie Thalhammer, of D.C., was commissioned by the Downtown DC Business Improvement District earlier this year to create a design using lawn paint that promotes social distancing for the organization’s DowntownDC Summer Flicks series. It’s called “Equilateral Network.”

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Artist Lisa Marie Thalhammer  of DC was commissioned by the Downtown DC Business Improvement District earlier this year, to use her artistic talents to create a design using lawn paint that promotes social distancing for the organization’s DowntownDC Summer Flicks series. It's called "Equilateral Network."
Lisa Marie Thalhammer was commissioned by the Downtown DC Business Improvement District earlier this year, to use her artistic talents to create a design using lawn paint that promotes social distancing for the organization’s DowntownDC Summer Flicks series. (Photo: Lisa Marie Thalhammer)

Just in time for Pride Month, a local artist has just completed her biggest work yet, and you can see it and hang out on it on the lawn of the National Building Museum.

Lisa Marie Thalhammer was commissioned by the Downtown DC Business Improvement District earlier this year to create a design using lawn paint that promotes social distancing for the organization’s DowntownDC Summer Flicks series.

“I hope to inspire resilience and joy,” Thalhammer said.

On her canvas — 20,000 square feet of grass — Thalhammer created “Equilateral Network,” a series of large triangles that include all colors of the rainbow.

“The beauty of our country, and the beauty of Washington, D.C., is all the different colors, all the different types of people who are there. That’s really what the rainbow represents to me,” Thalhammer said.

The triangles were painted extending out from a concrete slab center in the grass, and the layout influenced by Charles L’Enfant’s design of the District, Thalhammer said.

Using pink triangles, Thalhammer said, pays homage to a symbol that she said represents LGBTQ identity and gay rights activism.

“I really thought that…the historic connection between the colors and the shapes was really important and made a really nice tie to pride month,” she said.

The artwork was commissioned before D.C. announced plans to fully reopen on June 11, but its goal is to promote social distancing, with the unpainted centers of the triangles representing areas where a family or group of friends can gather to watch the movies presented on the lawn. The unpainted lines in between the triangles represent walking paths.

Thalhammer, who identifies as pansexual, said this work has special meaning for her.

“I can relate to the narratives of LGBTQ people in that very personal way,” Thalhammer said.

She also said a piece that promotes togetherness is important after a year in which many Pride events were cancelled due to the pandemic.

“So I’m hoping that this is just one way that people can celebrate and feel the joy and feel the pride of being who you are and being out with your identity,” Thalhammer said.

Thalhammer’s work isn’t done — every time the grass grows and is cut, it will need to be repainted. She plans to maintain it throughout the month.

The DowntownDC Summer Flicks movies include:

June 8 – Aliens
June 15 – Tenet
June 22 – Starship Troopers
June 29 – Solo
July 6 – Minority Report
July 13 – Tron: Legacy
July 20 – I-Robot
July 27 – Mad Max: Fury Road

Movies start at 7:30pm. More information can be found on the Business Improvement District site.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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