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The Wendy's at Dave Thomas Circle gets a mural makeover

The former Wendy's building at D.C.'s infamous intersection will comprise more than a dozen canvases to be painted as part of this year's festival.

WASHINGTON — The former Wendy's at the center of D.C.'s infamous intersection known as Dave Thomas Circle will get new life during the DC Walls mural festival.

The four walls of the building at the intersection of Florida and New York Avenues will comprise more than a dozen canvases to be painted as part of the annual festival, happening from Sept. 7-17.

Muralists began painting the Wendy's on Thursday, September 15. Here's a few shots of the mural in progress.

Credit: Rama Van Pelt
Credit: Rama Van Pelt
Credit: Rama Van Pelt

DC Walls brings together 20 local, national, and international artists who, over the course of 10 days, will collaborate and create over a dozen new, large-scale public murals. The festival has delivered more than 100 works of art since it debuted in NoMa in 2016. 

The festival's founder, director, and curator Kelly Towles targeted the iconic space as an opportunity for this year’s festival, working with NoMa Business Improvement District and the NoMa Parks Foundation. The mural will remain on view until the building is demolished, which is expected in the first quarter of 2023 as part of the city’s plans for improving the intersection.

Maura Brophy, President & CEO of the NoMa BID, said the idea for a Wendy's makeover has been brewing for awhile.

"The NoMa BID begins planning for the DC Walls annual mural festival months in advance. In fact, I find myself constantly walking around the neighborhood and assessing buildings, alleyways, and structures for their suitability for a future mural," Brophy said.  "In terms of how the Wendy's was selected as a canvas for this year's mural festival, we were touring with D.C. Walls curator Kelly Towles, and he brought up the idea of the Wendy's. We said 'why not?' and reached out to our partners at the DC Department of Transportation with which the BID has been working to bring both short- and long-term solutions to improve this notorious and vexing intersection. DDOT gave the go-ahead to include this site in this year's festival, and while these murals will be temporary as the building is slated to come down next year, we have plans to help memorialize the works themselves, just as we've done with our street pole banners throughout NoMa and the NoMa BID’s truck used by our team."

Credit: NoMa BID
The NoMa Business Improvement District’s truck parked in front of the Wendy’s, which will become a canvas as part of this year’s D.C. Walls live mural festival. The NoMa BID wrapped this truck in a mural designed by artist RichT which was delivered as part of the 2018 D.C. Walls mural festival and can be seen at 15 K Street NE.

The Wendy's artwork will be a collaboration between to Los Angeles-based artists TRAV and Emjay

Towles is eager for the next round of murals to find a home in the District.

“This festival just keeps getting bigger and better,” Towles said. “We’ve all experienced a lot of change in the last two years, but one thing that hasn’t changed is our community’s appetite for creating mind-blowing, memorable works of art. More than ever, our artists and festivalgoers are eager to get back out in the streets, connect with each other and participate in the beautification of our nation’s capital.”

The public is invited to watch the murals come to life over the course of the festival.

A kick-off celebration is scheduled for Sept. 9 at Alethia Tanner Park from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. with music and the Kam and 46 food truck. 

“NoMa is home to D.C.’s largest collection of mural art, and we’re thrilled to be adding more than a dozen new pieces to our inventory,” Brophy said. “We encourage everyone to come explore NoMa, see the artists at work, and watch their creations come to life.” 

Check out some of the art from featured artists below.

Nicole Bourgea



Kelly Towles

Tommii Lim

Stevie Shao



For more artist information and details on the festival, visit DC Wall's website here.

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