The Nation’s Capital may be know as a conservative city of politicians and high-profile government officials, but D.C. is also known to have a thriving artistic populations. The creative D.C. is apparent in the art you come across as you travel through the city. Whether the artwork is a symbolic abstract interpretation of diversity and community or portraits of famous historical figures, artists continue to contribute to the visual and creative landscape of the Nation’s Capital with works that many consider to be integral to the beauty and vibe of D.C.
Martin Luther King Jr. Mural
Mellon Market
2921 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. and Mellon St., S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20032

In many of the major urban cities across the U.S. you will find a street named after the peace drum-major of the the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Washington, D.C. has also dedicated a major roadway to pay tribute to his memory and legacy. The King mural is located on the side of the Mellon Market at the corner of Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue and Mellon Street S.E., is actually the latest work to be completed on this particular wall in S.E. The previous mural was an image of both Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Barak Obama. Uncertain of the choice to repaint the wall, the latest artwork is a beautiful tribute to the street’s namesake, which is an inspiring portrait of the Civil Rights leader’s vision and dream a world of racial equality for all people.

Historic Waterfront Mural
3139 M St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20007

The scene on the Historic Georgetown Waterfront mural depicts a simpler time preceding the current hustle and bustle of the modern day Georgetown. This work by artist Bryan King was commissioned by local Georgetown realtor Richard Levy. The imagery reflects the Georgetown waterfront at the turn of the 20th century and gives a sense of calm and invitation to the waterfront. The use of light, shadow and perspective give the appearance of a shared destination in two points in history. This mural is a visual time portal to beauty of yesteryear.

Bullough Wall Mural
903 U St., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001

Artist James Bullough is a native Washingtonian currently living in Berlin, Germany. He has produced several murals around D.C. that are not just created for the sake of art but also as a representation of his love for his hometown. With an extensive art resume including murals painted across the U.S. and Germany, Bullough gives back to his D.C. community with large scale visual works of art that are striking, thoughtful and uniquely designed for interesting spaces. This mural, which has been commissioned by the Philips Collection, has no official title to date, but shows two people swimming underwater. Bullough used the underwater theme as cool aesthetic component to his art that is different from many of his previous work. Wanting to incorporate elements of light and shadow from the sunlight above the water surface and the shadows and reflective blue underwater tones, he has created something very different in the heart of the busy U St. corridor. This beautiful work is massive, yet is slightly hidden on wall of an alleyway on U St., N.W. between 9th and 10th Streets. Other works of James Bullough are found around D.C. and on his website, www.jamesbullough.com.

Related: Best Abstract Art Exhibits In Washington, D.C.

Journey Anacostia Sculpture
Intersection of Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. and Good Hope Road, SE
Washington, D.C. 20020

This sculpture sits at the Anacostia gateway at 1201 Good Hope Road and Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave S.E. This mixed medium sculpture was created by D.C. sculptor Wilfredo Valladares. The sculpture, along with the colorful mural at this location, which was created by youth from the United Planning Organization’s POWER Program, is a public art installation that was a joint project of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the DC Department of Housing and Community Development. The mural and sculpture represents the diversity and the heritage of the Anacostia community.

Madam’s Organ Mural
2461 18th St., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20009

One of D.C.’s most lively and vibrant neighborhoods, Adams Morgan is known for its eclectic audiences and entertainment establishments. The Madam’s Organ mural is one of the recognizable murals in the city and resides on the outside of the bar that bears the same name. Since the creation of this large-scale outdoor mural, commissioned by owner Bill Duggan, it has been a main topic of controversy in the Adams Morgan community due to some public opinion that it’s too risqué in nature, as it depicts the image of “The Madame” said to be the bar’s burlesque mascot.  With her ample cleavage and text written on her massive 9′ X 13′ breasts, this mural is an attention grabber that some feel does not reflect positively for the Adams Morgan neighborhood, while others simply love it’s sheer boastfulness. Many people love the mural and continue head to the bar to enjoy themselves.

Related: Best Public Art In Washington, D.C.

Tara L. Aldridge is a native of Washington, DC, a freelance and published writer, blogger, and photographer. She is a DC Healthy Food Examiner at Examiner.com. In 2013, Tara published her first book of poetry and currently works with young artists to help them develop their creative talents. Read more of her work at Examiner.com.