Washington, DC (September 22, 2020) — The Golden Triangle BID, the first LEED-certified business improvement district in the world, has installed four new permanent sculptures created by local artist Foon Sham along 19th Street. Joining four existing artworks situated within the 19th Street Rain Gardens, the project lines two city blocks of DC’s central business district with public art.
“This project builds on our longstanding efforts to make public spaces more beautiful, sustainable, and culturally rich,” said Leona Agouridis, Executive Director of the Golden Triangle BID. “We hope locals and visitors will enjoy the museum-quality artworks integrated into the rain gardens and surrounded by pollinator-friendly plants, while many of our cultural institutions remain closed.”
The sculptures are part of the 19th Street Rain Gardens, located along both sides of the street between K and M Streets. The rain gardens are a model green infrastructure project that contributed to the Golden Triangle’s LEED Platinum for Communities certification in 2019. Since 2012, the BID has installed 15 rain gardens and 10 expanded tree boxes along 19th Street. Capturing and filtering up to 53,000 gallons of runoff per storm, the project has added more than 6,700 square feet of green space. The BID will build two additional rain gardens between H and I Streets next year.
Symbolizing the function of rain gardens to collect, hold, and filter stormwater, the new Foon Sham sculptures amplify the beauty of the green street. The artworks are stitched together from small wooden blocks and rise to heights of 10 to 13 feet tall. The works are geometric and precise and evoke the movement of water with curved forms echoing rivers and streams.
“I am honored to create the new sculptures for the 19th Street Rain Gardens,” remarked artist Foon Sham. “Each layer of blocks creates a sense of movement, making the sculptures appear to spin as your eye travels upwards. These new pieces add texture and character to the streetscape, and I hope they bring joy to the Golden Triangle community.”
This initiative was awarded a Public Art Building Communities Grant from the DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities with matching funds from the Golden Triangle BID. Additional support was provided by Share Fund.
“The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is proud to have provided support to many of the Golden Triangle BID’s public art projects over the years,” said Heran Sereke-Brhan, Acting Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. “These installations are investments that activate and enhance the downtown environment and help make art accessible to all.”
Photos of the 19th Street Rain Gardens sculptures are available here.
About the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District
Formed in 1998, the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (BID) enhances Washington, DC’s central business district, the 44-square-block neighborhood stretching from The White House to Dupont Circle. Home to roughly 6,000 businesses, the BID provides a clean, safe, and vibrant environment for hundreds of thousands of workers, residents, and visitors, and encourages economic development through capital projects, public art, sustainability, and events. The Golden Triangle has been awarded LEED Platinum, the highest level of LEED certification, by the U.S. Green Building Council. It is the first BID in the world to be certified through the LEED for Communities program. For more information, visit: goldentriangledc.com and connect on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
About the Artist
Foon Sham holds a BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts and a MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is a Professor of Art at the University of Maryland.
He has exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Art Museum of the Americas, and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. His public art is in collections at Nayatad Sculpture Park in Hungary, Universidad De Palermo in Argentina, the Museum of Contemporary Arts of Yucatan in Mexico, the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metrorail Station, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, and the Hong Kong Museum of Art. Commissions include Smithsonian Gardens and the US Embassy in Suriname. Sham has received numerous awards including from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Virginia Commission of the Arts, and the Franz and Virginia Bader Fund. He is represented by Gallery Neptune & Brown.