Last week, special guests and the public were treated to a very special unveiling of a new piece of landmark artwork — Symphony in DC Major — that was designed by DC native and Carnegie Mellon graduate Zachary Oxman. Oxman created a massive three-part sculpture that occupies a full stretch of a city block to celebrate the history of the Shaw community.
The sculptures portrayed famous DC jazz musician and composer, Edward “Duke” Ellingon, abolitionist Union Army Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, and American Expressionist painter (and Shaw Junior High School art teacher) Alma Thomas.
Oxman worked with Richard Lake (Founding Partner of Roadside Development LLC) to create this beautiful artwork. “Richard and I talked about how we wanted to add to this community, using the arts to not only draw an aesthetic to this project, but to educate, to engage people, to draw people in,” Oxman said. “Using these individuals [Duke Ellington, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, and Alma Thomas] was a true honor as an artist and the challenge for me was to share these people not just as static images, but to share their emotion and their history. You can walk by and experience them, see them evolve in front of you the way they have helped this community evolve.”
To celebrate the unveiling, guests were treated to cocktail reception and meet-and-greet with Oxman before the unveiling, with live music by a local jazz and go-go band and cappuccino cookies by pastry chef Cassity Jones from XOCOLATA.
Among those in attendance of the event were Vincent Gray (former DC Mayor), Jack Evans (Ward 2 Councilmember), Charles Allen (Ward 6 Councilmember), and Drew Porter (Director of Long View Gallery).