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To the East

The Rise of Murals East of the River

Phillips@THEARC Exhibition

Free / In-Person

This exhibition is on view at Phillips@THEARC, 1801 Mississippi Ave, SE, Washington, DC.

Hours: Wednesday & Thursday, 10 am-5 pm. No reservation required.

Photograph of mural of Martin Luther King Jr and a child

From the Artists

Watch interviews of artists featured in the exhibition, conducted by Ahmad Woodard for DC Murals in 2022

Cheryl Foster

Rafiki Morris

James Greggs

Richard Ward

Rik Freeman

To the East is accompanied by a book of the same name by Stowers and Kimberly Springle that presents one of the first distinct timelines to the origins of the contemporary public mural movement in the US. Set against the backdrop of early 1900s DC and the formation of the Howard University Art Department, the story follows art and culture scholars Alain LeRoy Locke and James V. Herring who shaped Black identity in the arts from the 1920s-50s. During the following decades, heightened by the arrival of pioneering mural painter and activist Jeff Donaldson at Howard in 1970, Black figurative art began spilling out of galleries and community art workshops onto the streets of urban America in the form of public murals. To the East reveals important context to the purpose and practice of mural making in Washington, DC, and beyond.


The Phillips Collection’s workshop and gallery at the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC) provides a space to view, discuss, make, and exhibit art. Our programs are co-created with our partners and participants to encourage authentic community dialogue, community planning, and community action. Our work is about making friends, sustaining relationships, and bringing joy.