Duke Ellington

Photo by Reg Davis/Express/Getty Images

Duke Ellington Mural Returns to U Street This Spring

March 13, 2019

By Scott Gelman

A stroll down U Street in the early 2000s wasn’t complete without a glance at the Duke Ellington mural that sat on the True Reformer Building. But since 2012, residents and visitors haven’t had the same experience.

The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities said it removed the mural because of “elemental decay” and despite a promise to restore it has never done so. However, the mural is on pace to return this spring, with its debut dependent on the weather, Public Welfare Foundation Spokeswoman Ashley Cross told WPGC.

“Public Welfare Foundation is excited to be working with the City’s Commission for the Arts to return the Duke Ellington mural back to the True Reformer Building at 1200 U Street NW,” Cross said in a statement.

Cross said a community unveiling event will be planned once a date is finalized.

The Ellington mural was initially created in 1997 on the side of antique clothing shop Mood Indigo. In 2004, it was relocated to the True Reformer Building, the first space the African-American community designed, financed and built after Reconstruction, according to its website.

The artist behind the new mural is unknown.

G. Byron Peck was the original artist, according to DCist, which reported tiles from the mural were falling and therefore became a safety hazard before it was removed.

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