Chinatown Barnes Dance

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Client: DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities

Location: Washington, DC, United States

Completion date: 2016

Artwork budget: $166,000

Project Team

Artist

Charles Bergen

Charles Bergen Studios LLC

Client

Tonya Jordan

The District of Columbia the Arts and Humanities and the Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs

Installer

Todd Angelo Albin

Alternative Paving Concepts

Overview

The Dragon Dance that celebrates and ushers in the New Lunar Year gets top billing in the diagonal crosswalks of the intersection. The long curves, colorful scales and expressive heads of the dragon lead the pedestrians from one corner across to the other. The twelve lunar zodiac symbols in the gaps between the perpendicular crosswalk bands forever reenact the race across the wild river that determined their sequence in the lunar calendar and allowed them to become zodiac signs forever. This two-dimensional piece wasinstalled using a preformed thermoplastic to the high-visibility crosswalk.

Goals

The goal was to celebrate the culture of Chinatown, DC while still keeping a highly trafficked intersection safe. Properly celebrating the culture of Chinatown was extremely important as was keeping the intersection safe. Installation was from 9 PM to 4 AM with no installation allowed on Friday or Saturday nights.

Process

I first consulted with the Chinatown Civic Association as to what was the most important element of their culture. They responded that it was Chinese New Years and in particular the Dragon Dance. I created three options for the design which I showed them. They chose one of the designes for me to enhance and refine. That design was selected and I then moved into fabrication and installation.

Additional Information

This was a huge undertaking involving the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, DC Department of Transportation, The DC Office of Planning and the Mayors Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs. There were numerous stakeholders to work with and take input from. The late night installations were exciting. The photos of the installation sequence where very popular on Social Media for a long time. Charles Bergen Studios worked with Aaron Rogers, Mara Cherkasky, Brandon Bailey to design this artwork. The fabricators and installer are listed below in the Project Team section.