Thursday, September 9, 2010

The 7-11 Mural: Before and After

The mural that used to grace the side of the former 7-11 at Connecticut Avenue and Porter Street is gone, as has been sadly noted on the Cleveland Park Listserv. (The 7-11's former space will become an urgent care clinic; the new owners removed the mural.)

Lamented Laine Kaufman, who commissioned the mural in 2005:
I commissioned and helped design the mural on the former 7-11 at The Monterey and was sorry to see it literally wiped away. It was a depiction of Grover Cleveland, for whom our neighborhood is named, along with his young wife around the turn of the century, when Cleveland Park was first established.
As the developers of The Monterey, we felt the mural was a vast improvement over the protruding ugly red brick wall of the 7-11, which badly contrasted the yellow brick on the rest of the historic building.
Here are two "before" photos and one "after" photo.


Photo by Jennifer Eskra
Photo by Raymond Fudge


Photo by Keith Ivey


  1. So pretty. What a loss. Does the Cleveland Park Citizen's Association or Historical Society have anything to say about this?

  2. Regarding the now-painted over mural, I’d like to associate myself with the comments made by Laine, Beverly and others on the listserve. I think what the new owners have done is truly unfortunate – both in substance and process. Yesterday I sent a note, on behalf of myself and my wife, to the owners of the new clinic. Text is below.

    To the Owners of DC Immediate and Primary Care:

    We’re writing today to express our extreme dismay over the removal of the mural from your property at 2902 Porter St., NW. The mural was an interesting and unique piece of public art, adding color and character to our neighborhood. For owners who claim “We’re trying to do right by the community,” (DCist blog, 9/7/10) this is a shocking display of non-consultation. Given your claims regarding the community, we also find it rather puzzling that anyone describing themselves as an “owner” of the new facility insist on staying anonymous in the DCist story.
    A few months ago when you started rehabilitating the old 7-Eleven space, we had a chance to meet and chat with one of the new owners. He was very pleasant, and made many comments about how much community input and involvement you all wanted. Really? You claim “several” people told you they didn’t like the mural. If you read the neighborhood listserve, you see that “several” people did like it. It appears that your claims regarding neighborhood consultation were empty promises.
    From the anonymous owner, we also learn that there will be “significant change” to the exterior. What are your plans to consult your neighbors and the community at large regarding those changes?
    We want businesses in our community to thrive, while concurrently treating the neighborhood with respect. We’re sorry to say that you have failed in the latter instance, and hope that this is not a harbinger for future actions on your part.

  3. Segregation is the obvious message of the mural with the white couple enjoying the garden and the black man sitting outside not even allowed to gaze on its beauty. Was it meant as a comentary on President Cleveland or contemporary Clevaland Park?

  4. Whoa, hold the phone! The "obvious" message is a gentle stroll through time in the neighborhood, with President Cleveland and his wife representing the past on the left side, over to the present on the right, with a realistically portrayed, well-dressed, young man sitting and reading while waiting at the bus stop (which is just in front of him at the 7-11). He is not excluded from anything -- he's just doing what anyone might do while waiting for the bus at that location.

  5. Geoff,

    It was a building decision. The people he references as not liking it our the people who live in the building. You know the people who actually own the building and can do what they like with their own property. BTW Laine had nothing to do with the mural. The mural was added a YEAR after the building was occupied. Get you panties out of a wad.

  6. Long time CP residentSeptember 16, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    “The people he references as not liking it are the people who live in the building” .. then the people who live in the building have a lack of judgment and a level of stupidity I cannot comprehend. How can anyone justify the destruction of a lovely work of art very relevant to the historical background “Cleveland Park” . What an uncaring, unenlightened, unappreciative thing to do. If you don’t like the neighborhood then move! Don’t destroy something beautiful just because you have your “panties in a wad” geez ..

  7. geoff and others,

    the gutless person who posted under "anonymous" certainly does not speak for the building. the board rammed it down our throats, and told us they could do what they wanted with or without our approval. there weren't many of us that were defending the mural, at least openly, but don't think that the building as a whole supported this mess. they seem to be under the spell of the new urgent care clinic, and will swallow whatever he says. my name is THOMAS JONES, and i live in the monterey.

  8. Hey longtime it wasnt lovely or beautiful it was ugly and weird. But I guess because of your elitist opinions that have formed from being a "long time resident" you can tell people what they can do with private property. Get a life and worry about your own issues. Maybe you should retire and move to Florida. People post anon because its easier Thomas

  9. Here's another vote for "ugly and weird."

  10. Cleveland Park is racist.

  11. To the poster above who says "Cleveland Park is racist": I've lived in Cleveland Park for many years and before that Berkeley, CA and Atlanta, and New York City, and can't think why you would slam the whole neighborhood of Cleveland Park (a generally liberal community) as racist. If you want to claim that all of America is racist, okay, but to post the flat statement that a neighborhood is racist, in a thread about a lovely mural which was painted over, makes no sense to me. I can't even figure out what is the supposed connection between the mural and racism. Was it a racist mural because it showed a modern-day black man in the same painting as President and Mrs. Cleveland? Or was it racist of the building owners to blot out the mural, eliminating these images? Personally, I think it was just a bad aesthetic judgment on the part of the building owner. I'm sorry to lose this charming painting, which had Pres. and Mrs. Cleveland representing the neighborhood's past and a modern day black man, reading as he waits for the bus, representing the neighborhood's present. Nothing racist about that.

  12. Cleveland Park is racist.

    Um. A whole community is racist? Does that include the African American residents of Cleveland Park? I think not.

    But back to the mural: It's a loss. I guess the new owners of the building now understand how much the neighborhood loved that mural. Perhaps they will commission a new mural. That would be the best outcome.

  13. I've posted this before, but am doing so again. It's entirely possible to express radically different opinions without personally slamming those of others. There's enough conflict in this world without commenters lashing out against neighborhoods (whatever the issue). It's ugly and disappointingly bad-form, and we're capable of more. Please, express your opinions as politely as possible -- and in truth, far more people will listen (I write nasty commenters off as cranks). Be the change you want to see in the world. Practice civility.

  14. make that neighbors, not neighborhoods. Please! Oh, and Thank You, too. :-)