WASHINGTON - More and more murals are popping up around D.C. as part of an initiative that aims to turn spaces that are at risk or have been defaced with graffiti into beautiful works of art.
MuralsDC is a project funded by the D.C. Department of Public Works that has led to the creation of 75 murals all across the city since it started back in 2007.
Many of the artists of these murals are from the D.C. area.
"MuralsDC was created in 2007 to replace illegal graffiti with artistic works, revitalize sites within communities in the District of Columbia, and to teach young, aspiring artists the art of aerosol painting," according to its website. "This initiative aims to positively engage District youth by teaching proper professional art techniques, providing supplies, and a legal means to practice and perform their artistic skill in a way that promotes respect for public and private property and community awareness."
In Columbia Heights, Cita Sadeli was working on a colorful, floral design on the Unity Health Care building on 14th Street that she hopes will brighten the neighborhood.
"The mural spotlights the cultural diversity of the area," she said. "This area of Washington D.C. in Columbia Heights doesn't have a lot of large scale murals, so we have rich florals and bright colors to convey a sense of hope and a sense of a brighter future."
Around the corner, Nessar Jahanbin just finished his mural of Albert Einstein.
"It's a famous picture of him at a blackboard," Jahanbin described. "Instead of the chalk, he's holding a spray can and he's writing graffiti that says E = mc 2 ."
He hopes that his artwork will motivate others.
"I don't know if the art is good enough to make people be like, 'Okay, I really enjoy that,'" he said. "But maybe the act of me being out here painting … and seeing someone else do something that is out of the norm, that might inspire them."
Jahanbin added, "People are more inspired it seems from the fact that you are doing it. You are actually painting on a wall. That's kind of magical to them."