New temporary art exhibits coming to some of the most famous landmarks on the National Mall

The National Mall stretches West from the Capitol Reflecting Pool to the Washington Monument on the first day of autumn, in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The National Mall is full of artistic works, from gardens to sculptures to the big marble memorials. This summer, a series of temporary art exhibits will also be coming.

The pilot program is an exhibit called “Beyond Granite: Pulling Together,” and will feature artistic works from those Americans whose stories aren’t told on the National Mall. Six exhibits will be on display from artists Derrick Adams, Tiffany Chung, Ashon Crawley, Vanessa German, Paul Ramirez Jonas and Wendy Red Star.

Their art is expected to focus on topics including Indigenous legacies, the history of enslavement, civil rights, immigration and LGBTQ activism.

“We’ll have one exhibit on Signer’s Island, the 56 signers’ memorial,” said Catherine Townsend, with the Trust for the National Mall. Other exhibits will be found near landmarks, such as the Tidal Basin, Jefferson Memorial, the Smithsonian Metro station and the Lincoln Memorial.

“They’ll be temporary installations that run for about a month and they’ll symbolize different stories that these artists would like to share,” said Townsend. “Stories, fresh perspectives, on how to commemorate a person or a place or a movement.”

She noted the hundreds of thousands of white flags along the National Mall in 2021 that signified each life lost to the COVID-19 pandemic as an example of other temporary art exhibits that brought in visitors and had a powerful impact.

“It is a place that is open and accessible to all,” said Townsend. “There’s no gate, there’s no parking, it’s all open on all sides so what’s wonderful is that it’s also accessible to all if they would like to share their story.”

The exhibit “Beyond Granite: Pulling Together” is set to open Aug. 18 and run through Sept. 18.

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John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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