Tourist season is here, and while locals may find their folkways annoying, it’s not exactly a surprise that the District would like to get tourist dollars spread a bit more throughout the city. The Atlantic Cities touts 5×5, a new public art exhibition designed to draw tourists deeper into D.C.
The city gave five curators $100,000 each to bring five temporary public art pieces to Washington. The exhibit is on display from March through August, scattered throughout the city.
“Tourists don’t know about the truly rich communities we have outside downtown,” says Mary Beth Brown, the public art coordinator for the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, which is co-sponsoring 5×5 along with the Cherry Blossom Festival. “We wanted to excite people and get them out and exploring.”
It seems to me, though, that this is a problem all cities have. People who visit New York don’t really travel uptown or out to Queens. People who go to Boston stick to the major tourist attractions. L.A. tourists stick to a well-beaten path of Hollywood spots and popular beaches. The only big difference in D.C. (and yes, it’s a big one) is that when tourists visit national monuments and museums, they’re often spending their cash at federally owned cafeterias and shops—which reduces the city’s cut.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery