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Artist Mia Feuer‘s planned gas-station installation is officially off. Plans to install the piece, a full-sized replica of a gas station proposed as part of the D.C. Commission on Arts and Humanities’ 5×5 series, in the Anacostia River were scrapped last week, with the commission saying it was pursuing other locations for the project. But now the commission has determined there isn’t enough time to find a new spot for Feuer’s work.
“DCCAH has explored other river and water options,” commission spokesperson Sarah Massey wrote in a statement, “but, given the time constraints for an early September project launch, securing the other sites is not a conducive option at this time.”
The project, called “Antediluvian,” drew strong objections from some members of the local boating community, Anacostia River advocates, environmentalists, and politicians, who wrote a formal letter to the commission. Among the concerns: the project would send the wrong message about the river, which has a troubled history; the piece could pollute the river further; and it could potentially disturb the District Department of the Environment’s ongoing testing of the riverbed for toxins. Ultimately it was this final point that led the commission, after consulting with DDOE, to pull the project from the Anacostia.
Feuer says that, in lieu of her installation, she plans to use the budget she received for “Antediluvian” to fund a floating event she is calling the Flooded Lecture Series. (Money raised by Feuer in an Indiegogo campaign will not be used to fund the series—donations will be returned to contributors when the 31-day campaign expires.)
“What I have decided to do is focus on what my original intent was—to create and ignite dialogue,” Feuer writes in an email. “I will be collaborating with Lee Cain from the Anacostia Watershed Society and Scott Sklar from the Stella Group in organizing a weekend of free lectures, open to the public.” Feuer envisions two-hour segments featuring three speakers, all on themes relating to climate science, green energy, and the Anacostia River. She says there will also be “an art component (poets, musicians, etc),” and she is still securing the speakers. “The lectures will all take place over a weekend in September on boats and canoes in the Anacostia River,” Feuer says. She plans to rent the pontoons and canoes needed for the series from the Anacostia Watershed Society.
In a call this morning, Massey was unable to confirm that Feuer’s lecture series is a go, or that it will be funded by DCCAH.
Rendering courtesy D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities