Lou Stovall printing “an Exanthema of Clouds” in his Cleveland Park home, 1974; Jim Wells

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Lou Stovall: Of the Land

The artist Lou Stovall was born in Athens, Georgia, grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts, and studied at the Rhode Island School of Design. But he moved to Washington in 1962 to earn an arts degree from Howard University, and has lived in the District ever since. This winter brings a flurry of celebrations of Stovall’s long career—a book and two exhibits at the Kreeger Museum. Each is profoundly intertwined with his longtime home city. The book, edited by his son Will and published by Georgetown University Press, as well as one of the Kreeger exhibits, spotlights Of the Land, a collection of drawings, silkscreen prints, and poems celebrating the seasonal changes on a circular path that Stovall and his wife Di Bagley Stovall carved from untamed vegetation around their home and studio in Cleveland Park. In writing about Stovall’s early career leading up to their move to Newark Street in 1974, Will invokes a wealth of quintessentially D.C. places (the Dupont Circle fountain, restaurants in Adams Morgan, U Street jazz clubs), characters (including Katharine Graham and Ben Bradlee, who visited Stovall to buy prints for their Washington Post offices, and the National Zoo’s newly arrived pair of pandas, who were the beneficiaries of the Stovalls’ offloaded bamboo), all set against the city’s transition to home rule, and the era’s turbulent politics. In addition to its Of the Land exhibit, the Kreeger is also showing Lou Stovall: On Inventions and Color, a broader career retrospective. The exhibits run through April 30 at the Kreeger Museum, 2401 Foxhall Rd. NW. kreegermuseum.org. Free–$10.