City Paper is not for tourists
Organizers of the Party Animals promised that the decorated statues would be “displayed all over Washington, D.C.” They never said they’d be evenly distributed. So it is that Hiding an Elephant, a pink-and-blue pachyderm with red toenails, stands alone by a four-lane, high-speed stretch of South Capitol Street SE, outside the gate of the Department of Public Works (DPW) Solid Waste Administration’s parking lot. The statue—painted by artist George Lucas with images of the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument, and fluffy cherry blossoms—is one of only five Animals east of the Anacostia River. No tourists are visiting it on a recent Monday afternoon, and DPW workers and visitors seem indifferent to its streetscape-enhancing effects. “I’m just waiting for my wife,” says a man pulling into the gate in a brown sedan. DPW employee Shirley Tramun says she hasn’t seen any drivers detouring to inspect the artwork. “In the morning, people might be looking at it while they’re stuck in traffic,” she says, “but otherwise, they don’t stop and look.” Party Animals project manager Alexandra MacMaster says the animal was moved from the Navy Yard Metro Station, where it received an unwanted graffiti tattoo. This is all news to Lucas, who “thought it was going to be by Metro Center.” —Annys Shin
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