Repainting the Sixth Street SE Underpass Murals
By Larry Janezich
Posted June 26, 2021
Restoration of Byron Peck’s 12 murals on the walls of the 6th Street, SE, underpass began earlier this month and the actual painting started on Saturday morning. The project is being led by ANC6B Chair Brian Ready who said he had been asking the city to re-do the project for two years before deciding to do it himself. While Ready was collecting paint chips to reproduce the colors, the activity caught the attention of Jim Guckert of Guerilla Gardeners. Guckert liked the restoration project and offered to help. That resulted in a grant from the Awesome Foundation https://bit.ly/2ULpVBP and volunteers from Guerilla Gardeners https://bit.ly/3xcJ51P .
Ready says he hopes the city will help preserve the paintings so “we don’t have to come back and restore it again in ten years”. Guckert says the project will take the rest of the summer and Ready is looking for volunteers to help; work sessions on are on Saturday mornings (except for July 4th weekend) from 9:00am until 11:00am. Those interested in participating in the project can email Ready at www.anc6b.org
Piet Mondrian was the inspiration for the 13 murals on the walls of the underpass painted by Byron Peck in 1988 during the administration of Mayor Marion Barry. Peck still lives and paints in DC. He has created over 80 murals throughout the US and abroad. The murals on 6th Street were supported by a grant from the DC Arts and Humanities Commission and provided jobs for the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program for youths who assisted with the project.
Until a couple of weeks ago, the paintings have remained free from graffiti for 33 years. Guckert says he hopes the restoration will serve to prevent similar acts of vandalism in the future.