How artist Justine Swindell would spend a perfect day in D.C.


If I’m going out to brunch, I’ve a nostalgic place I’m going to which is Booeymonger in Friendship Heights. There are just a few different places, however this specific location is the place my sister and brother labored once they have been in highschool. They’re older than me, so I’d all the time go go to them, and my dad liked the breakfast there. My dad and mom would meet up with us — I do know my dad all the time will get the identical factor (Mr. B’s French toast). They’ve completely different breads, however I really like French baguettes. They’ve sandwiches referred to as the Ace and Tuna Turner, which I all the time add bacon to.

After that, my dad and mom would take my youngsters, and I’d take the Crimson Line to Dupont Circle. One among my favourite museums is the Phillips Assortment. There’s a everlasting assortment of Jacob Lawrence’s “The Migration Series,” and it’s a sequence of work that he made in regards to the Nice Migration of African Individuals from the South to the North. At a very younger age, that exhibit simply hit me in so some ways. The fashion of the piece and the storytelling of it affect my work. There’s additionally one other room referred to as the Rothko Room, which is a small room of Mark Rothko’s work. You don’t actually get to see his artwork in that approach. His use of coloration is all about emotion.

After the museum, I’d stroll round Dupont. I’ve some gadgets which might be offered at Store Made in DC, and I’d most likely pop by there as a result of I all the time love seeing if there are new makers. They do a superb job of bringing in native makers who don’t essentially get a ton of publicity. My husband is from North Carolina, so if I have been in that neighborhood, I’d additionally go to the Krispy Kreme. It’s an actual deal with if there’s a nasty day or a celebration.

I normally don’t do two museums in in the future, however I’d most likely stroll by the Nationwide Portrait Gallery to at the least see the atrium and the reward store. At that time within the day, with mates, I’d most likely wish to cease by Oyamel Cocina Mexicana and have a margarita. I really like all of José Andrés’s eating places basically. I simply suppose they add a distinct taste to the Penn Quarter neighborhood. The opposite enjoyable factor about being at Oyamel is that I did a mural for Woolly Mammoth Theatre that’s proper subsequent to it, so I get to have a drink whereas trying proper at it! It’s a Black pleasure mural, in a way, only a lady holding a flower and at peace. I did that after the protests [of George Floyd’s killing] occurred, they usually needed to board up.

Earlier than covid, if it’s a Friday, I’d stroll all the way down to Jazz within the Backyard on the Nationwide Gallery of Artwork Sculpture Backyard. It’s informal, it’s free and it’s the right meetup with mates. I really like sushi, and there’s a spot [near] U Avenue referred to as Sakerum [which has permanently closed] the place I’d go for completely happy hour. The ambiance of the area is so good — they’ve a high ground the place they’ve their completely happy hours and it has a retractable roof.

It was closed once I was a child, however within the ’50s, my dad informed me these tales about how he would spend the entire day on U Avenue, first catching a present on the Howard Theatre, then see a film at Booker-T Theatre, after which return and catch the night present on the Howard Theatre. To finish my good day, I’d go to the Howard Theatre and see one among my favourite neo-soul artists from the ’90s. Then I’d pop in an Uber and head again house — and hopefully, somebody remains to be babysitting my youngsters.

In D.C. Dream Day, we ask our favourite folks within the space to inform us how they’d spend an ideal day within the District.

The killing of George Floyd by the hands of police in Might ignited a worldwide counting on racial injustice and the way folks of coloration are portrayed in media. For

, the state of present affairs additional upended her view on one medium particularly: protest artwork.

“My subjects are often in states of joy or pensive states or at peace, which to me didn’t necessarily feel like protest art at the time, but as I was creating it, others started to recognize it that way,” says the Petworth-based artist.

Swindell’s vivid illustrations illuminate a world the place Black individuals are celebrated not focused. One among her works, titled “BLM,” exhibits a Black lady standing stoically carrying a shirt with the names of the Black lives misplaced to mindless violence. She’s showered in a cascade of purple flowers towards a medley of pink and blue shades, accentuating her neon-pink hair and drawing additional consideration to the trauma and tragedy impacting the lives of Black Individuals.

A D.C. native, Swindell labored within the artwork and design worlds in Los Angeles and New York earlier than settling in her hometown, the place she balances her time between freelance paintings and her day job at a world well being nonprofit group.

“I’m inspired by human resilience and our way of finding peace in difficulty,” she says. “Whenever I see things through that, that rawness of that, that’s something I really like to draw and bring out some hope for people in difficult times.”

Swindell’s dream day peels the curtain again on the folks and locations that drive her inventive inspirations.

— as informed to Stephanie Williams





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