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Eight permanent sculptures created by local artist Foon Sham punctuate two blocks of 19th Street between K and M Streets. Four permanent sculptures by local artist Valerie Theberge embellish the east and west sides of 19th Street adjacent to Pennsylvania Avenue. These artworks invite locals and visitors to enjoy museum-quality art in the streets of downtown Washington. The sculptures are part of our 19th Street Rain Gardens, a model green infrastructure project that contributed to the Golden Triangle’s LEED Platinum for Communities certification.
The 19th Street Rain Gardens sculptures are part of the BID’s longstanding effort to make public spaces more beautiful, sustainable, and culturally rich.
Symbolizing the function of the rain gardens to collect, hold, and filter stormwater, the sculptures amplify the beauty of the green street. The artworks are stitched together from small wooden blocks and rise to heights of nine to 13 feet tall. The works are geometric and precise and evoke the movement of water with curved forms echoing rivers and streams.
The four sculptures located at the intersection of 19th and L Streets – Droplet, Vascular Form #10, Turning Point, and Ductile – were installed in 2015.
Four additional sculptures – Swing I, Meander I, Swing II, and Meander II – were added at the north sides of 19th and K Streets and the south sides of 19th and M Streets in 2020. The 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 and additional support from Share Fund.
Vascular Form #10
Extending the creative mission of Foon Sham’s Rain Garden Sculptures, Valerie Theberge’s four sculptures located on the east and west corners of 19th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue add color, harmony, and vibrancy to this popular intersection and thoroughfare. Valerie’s emphasis on natural and manmade harmony references the purpose of the Rain Gardens as green spaces among steel and glass buildings.
Presented by the Golden Triangle BID and the District Department of Transportation in 2023, the four sculptures emulate the natural forms, colors, and light of the Rain Gardens. Their mosaic tiling contrasts and enhances the natural textures of the garden bed. Their shape and purpose as places of respite, reflection, meditation, and joy connect them to the life force of the Rain Gardens.
Two of the sculptures are benches and invite physical connections between oneself and the works. The two sculptural works hold a similar purpose; visitors are encouraged to look through the two openings on the works and remember their intrinsic connections to nature, community, and themselves.