D.C. murals create artful alternative to illegal graffiti

Anieken Udofia works on a mural in an attempt to beautify parts of D.C. Photo: ABC7

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - D.C. leaders are fighting illegal graffiti with some art of their own. They’re putting up massive murals in spots repeatedly targeted by vandals in hopes of inspiring creativity and deterring crime.

The latest work is causing many to do a double-take off Florida Avenue and 4th Street Northwest. It shows a larger-than-life woman wielding a pencil-shaped gun. The brains behind it says it's her weapon of choice: creativity.

Soaring high into the air and armed with spray paint is Aniekan Udofia with a vision for change.

“I just want this to be a meeting point like a landmark,” he says while hard at work.

The district resident and visual artist who created the famous Ben's Chili Bowl mural is now coating another massive wall in color. This one is in the Shaw neighborhood.

“I do think someone might be like, ‘Whoa, she's holding a pencil and it's like a gun,’ but when you look at it it's beautiful and she's empowering,” says District Public Art Coordinator Keona Pearson.

“That pencil represents inspiration,” explains Udofia.

He drew inspiration from the old saying, "The pen is mightier than the sword." It’s a message several youth and artist apprentices want their peers soaking in.

“There are a majority of people my age who are prone to violence,” admits Dea-Kwon White. The Words, Beats & Life teenage apprentice continued, “It's usually just for entertainment purposes.”

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