Forecast part of national team for Washington D.C. 11th Street Bridge Park 

Rendering courtesy OMA + Olin

rendering of a bridge showing people milling about a variety of structures and green spaces

We are proud to announce that Forecast was selected through a national competition to join internationally recognized firms OMA and OLIN along with engineers at Whitman, Requardt & Associates on the celebrated 11th Street Bridge Park, a project of Building Bridges Across the River, in Washington D.C. Our team will work to facilitate a selection process to commission artwork for the Park, with a focus on amplifying the stories, culture and heritage of neighboring Black residents.

What is the 11th Street Bridge Park?

Constructed on an abandoned bridge spanning the Anacostia River, the 11th Street Bridge Park will link neighborhoods west of the River (Capitol Hill/Navy Yard) with historic Anacostia/Fairlawn—historically African-American neighborhoods east of the river. Building Bridges Across the River actively sought to create a first-class park that could serve existing residents and preserve the neighborhood heritage. They are working to protect affordable housing, create local jobs, and strengthen the bonds of culture that hold neighborhoods together. To date, over $75 million has been invested in the community, nearly matching the capital costs of building the Bridge Park. When it is completed in 2024, the park will offer playgrounds, gardens, performance spaces, an environmental education center, public art, and a boat launch.

Forecast’s mission to advocate for public art that advances justice aligns with the values of the Bridge Park, the project’s cultural strategies, and the community-centered approach we’ve had since the beginning. Their commitment to local capacity building was also critical to our collaboration, and we are so excited that Deirdre Darden, a D.C. native and curator, will join Forecast’s team to lend her tremendous expertise to this project.
—Irfana Jetha Noorani, Deputy Director of the 11th Street Bridge Park

Forecast’s Role & Work

Based in Saint Paul, MN, our team works nationally to connect and build the capacity of artists and public and private partners to effectively work together to imagine more equitable places through public art that advances justice, health and human dignity. 

Our team will work with the non-profit Building Bridges Across the River and a resident-led Curatorial Committee to identify and select artists for the initial public art commissions. To build local capacity, Forecast hired emerging curator Deirdre Darden to be part of our team guiding work on the ground in Washington.

“Forecast’s mission to activate public art that advances justice, health and human dignity aligns beautifully with the Bridge Park’s people-first approach to infrastructure investments. We also believe in collaboration and shared power and approach every partnership through the lens of addressing systemic disparities by supporting local artists, building local creative capacity and amplifying the voices of local cultures and communities to ensure that the temporary and permanent public art in that place represents the people of that place and fosters a sense of deep belonging.” —Theresa Sweetland, Forecast Public Art Executive Director

Our new publication FORWARD brings attention to the role and value of artists as vital partners to public and private development to address the most vital issues of our time from systemic racism to the COVID-19 pandemic. Forecast’s work nationally includes a current partnership with Transportation for America’s Rapid Response initiative to identify and select artists in eight U.S. cities to date to address COVID-19 related transportation challenges. 

“The 11th Street Bridge Park, and the larger nonprofit Building Bridges Across the River’s effort in southeast DC, represents a best in class example of equitable transportation, design, and community development that’s focused on making sure that new, world class amenities serve and benefit existing residents.The project is repairing the deep, persistent racial and economic inequities that separate DC communities, while helping residents remain in place to benefit from new investments. Congrats to the team for selecting Forecast. I can’t wait to see their imaginative, locally-informed approach to artist training and selection at work!”Ben Stone, Director for Arts and Culture, Transportation for America/Smart Growth America. 

Meet the emerging Washington D.C. curator who is part of our team, Deirdre Darden

Deirdre Darden

Deirdre Darden smiling as she looks at someone off to the side

Deirdre Darden is an emerging curator born and raised on art in Washington DC. She began her curatorial practice in 2014 with Black Artists of DC. Since then she has exhibited and collaborated with contemporary artists from DC, Baltimore and New York, organized panel discussions and artists talks touching themes of race, womanhood, societal pressures, and art’s ultimate power. Shows include Black Lives / White Light (2015), Pressure Points (2016)  and Lest We Forget (2016). In 2018 Darden received a curatorial grant from The Commission on Arts and Humanities to curate “We Got Next: Young Contemporaries”. She has consulted for the art fair Art on the Vine, and as a curator at Eaton Workshop. Currently she is prioritizing rest during the pandemic(s) and working on projects from home.