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Art Yards Turns a Vacant Building Near Yards Park Into DC’s Biggest Canvas

Artists Kelly Towles, Jasper Wong, and Dabs Myla are covering an empty building at First and M streets, Southeast, with murals for the next ten days.

The “Pour Mural” visible from M Street. All photographs by Ian Roche.

The former National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency building at the corner of First and M streets, Southeast, has long fascinated local residents thanks to its lack of windows, impossibly touchy security guards, and general air of desolation. So what better way to bid good riddance to a neighborhood eyesore than to cover it in pretty colors and drawings of dinosaurs?

Washington-based artist Kelly Towles has been tasked with transforming the building before its eventual demolition early next year, and will be covering it in murals for the next ten days in a project called Art Yards, finishing up on November 29. He’s enlisted the help of Hawaii-based artist Jasper Wong, who’s already finished his mural, and Australian duo Dabs Myla, who will outline and finish theirs starting November 22. This morning, Towles created a “Pour Mural” visible from M Street, pouring 111 gallons of paint over the side of the building.

Like all great works of street art, Art Yards is ephemeral—after the building is demolished, only photographs will remain. Follow the artists’ progress on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook using the hashtag #artyardsdc, or check it out in person through November 29.

Jasper Wong’s work at Art Yards.
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