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Photo via Elvert Barnes

10 D.C. murals of celebrities, mapped

From Yoko Ono to Elizabeth Taylor, see which murals are worth a visit

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Looking for some celebrity sightings in Washington, D.C.? Below, Curbed DC has mapped the best murals in the nations’ capital that feature the portraits or words of well-known figures. Expect icons ranging from Marilyn Monroe to Yoko Ono to Duke Ellington.

Have any suggestions for other murals that should be included? Let Curbed DC know in the comments or email the tipline.

Note: The mapped points have been ordered geographically, from the most north to the most south.

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Marilyn Monroe

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On the upper outside wall of Salon Roi, passersby can find a massive mural of pop culture icon Marilyn Monroe. The work was completed in 1981 by John Bailey. It was later restored in 2001 after the artwork faded over the years. New lights were also installed. In 2014, Washington City Paper’s Reader’s Poll named this piece one of the the best murals in the city.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/John Bailey

Ben's Chili Bowl Mural

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This well-known U Street mural offers a wide variety of D.C. icons, located on the exterior wall of Ben’s Chili Bowl. This mural, dubbed “The Torch,” was completed in June 2017. Wondering which celebrities made the cut for this brand new mural? They include: Muhammad Ali, Marion Barry, Chuck Brown, Dave Chappelle, Roberta Flack, Dick Gregory, Taraji P. Henson, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Russ Parr, Prince, Donnie Simpson, Harriet Tubman, Jim Vance, and Wale.

Photo via Daniel Lobo

Duke Ellington

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Painted by G. Byron Peck with nine local students in 1997, this artwork was originally located at 12th and U Streets NW in the same neighborhood where Duke Ellington grew up. It was later repainted on large removable panels on the True Reformer Building in 2012. Ellington’s portrait was based on the portrait on the frontispiece of Ellington’s autobiography, Music Is My Mistress.

U Street Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Aude

George Washington

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Dating back to 2011, this gagged George Washington mural was painted by Aniekan Udofia and Liz Brown. In a statement, Daniel Solomon, owner of the building on which the mural is painted and founder of the advocacy group DC Vote, said, “This mural expresses in one image the injustice Washingtonians suffer, even though our founding fathers fought to end taxation without representation. D.C. residents are still fighting to have their voices heard today.” The artwork is located above the Shangri-La Day Spa.

Photo via Victoria Pickering

Paul Laurence Dunbar

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Notable African-American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar gets the spotlight in the exterior alley wall found here. This artwork was completed by Cory Stowers and named “Meet Me at the Dunbar.”

Photo via Elvert Barnes

Marvin Gaye Mural

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This is one of the newest murals featured on this list, installed in 2014. While there is no official title to this mural, Aneikan Udofia told DCist, “I do like the idea of it being ‘reborn.’ So I would call it ‘The soulful return of Marvin Gaye.’” This “reborn” idea is based off of the fact that a previous mural in Shaw depicting Marvin Gaye, created by Udofia, was covered by construction. With this new mural, Udofia said, “I added more soul to it.”

Photo via Elvert Barnes

Abraham Lincoln and the workers who built his statue

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Along the Metropolitan Branch Trail, pedestrians and cyclists alike are able to enjoy this mural, completed in September 2017. The four-story artwork, titled “28 Blocks,” was painted by New York-based artist Garin Bake. The intent of the mural was not necessarily to honor Lincoln, but instead the African-American men who quarried the white Georgia marble used to build Lincoln’s statue. (Note: The placement of this mapped point may be inaccurate.)

A post shared by Aaron (@aaronaguinaldo) on

Elizabeth Taylor

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Say hello to the best mural in Washington, D.C., as decided by Washington City Paper readers in 2014. Created in 2013 by G. Byron Peck and Ivo Koytchev, this mural rises up three stories, overlooking the popular outdoor neighborhood bar, known as Dacha.

A post shared by Kelly Paras (@flipflopcaravan) on

Yoko Ono

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This is the only mural on this list that doesn’t actually feature the portrait of the respective celebrity. Even so, it’s worth visiting. It first debuted in September 2017, made in a partnership with the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. The large-scale mural on Union Market was completed by Yoko Ono. In a statement, Ono said that her inspiration for the work was that she hopes that “our hearts will be stronger and stronger forever.”

Photo courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum/Emma McAlary

George Washington

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Should it be any surprise that George Washington shows up twice in this map of Washington, D.C.’s best celebrity murals? This recently painted mural was completed by MADSTEEZ as part of NoMa’s POW! WOW! mural festival.

A post shared by Aaron (@aaronaguinaldo) on

Marilyn Monroe

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/John Bailey

On the upper outside wall of Salon Roi, passersby can find a massive mural of pop culture icon Marilyn Monroe. The work was completed in 1981 by John Bailey. It was later restored in 2001 after the artwork faded over the years. New lights were also installed. In 2014, Washington City Paper’s Reader’s Poll named this piece one of the the best murals in the city.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/John Bailey

Ben's Chili Bowl Mural

Photo via Daniel Lobo

This well-known U Street mural offers a wide variety of D.C. icons, located on the exterior wall of Ben’s Chili Bowl. This mural, dubbed “The Torch,” was completed in June 2017. Wondering which celebrities made the cut for this brand new mural? They include: Muhammad Ali, Marion Barry, Chuck Brown, Dave Chappelle, Roberta Flack, Dick Gregory, Taraji P. Henson, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Russ Parr, Prince, Donnie Simpson, Harriet Tubman, Jim Vance, and Wale.

Photo via Daniel Lobo

Duke Ellington

U Street Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Aude

Painted by G. Byron Peck with nine local students in 1997, this artwork was originally located at 12th and U Streets NW in the same neighborhood where Duke Ellington grew up. It was later repainted on large removable panels on the True Reformer Building in 2012. Ellington’s portrait was based on the portrait on the frontispiece of Ellington’s autobiography, Music Is My Mistress.

U Street Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Aude

George Washington

Photo via Victoria Pickering

Dating back to 2011, this gagged George Washington mural was painted by Aniekan Udofia and Liz Brown. In a statement, Daniel Solomon, owner of the building on which the mural is painted and founder of the advocacy group DC Vote, said, “This mural expresses in one image the injustice Washingtonians suffer, even though our founding fathers fought to end taxation without representation. D.C. residents are still fighting to have their voices heard today.” The artwork is located above the Shangri-La Day Spa.

Photo via Victoria Pickering

Paul Laurence Dunbar

Photo via Elvert Barnes

Notable African-American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar gets the spotlight in the exterior alley wall found here. This artwork was completed by Cory Stowers and named “Meet Me at the Dunbar.”

Photo via Elvert Barnes

Marvin Gaye Mural

Photo via Elvert Barnes

This is one of the newest murals featured on this list, installed in 2014. While there is no official title to this mural, Aneikan Udofia told DCist, “I do like the idea of it being ‘reborn.’ So I would call it ‘The soulful return of Marvin Gaye.’” This “reborn” idea is based off of the fact that a previous mural in Shaw depicting Marvin Gaye, created by Udofia, was covered by construction. With this new mural, Udofia said, “I added more soul to it.”

Photo via Elvert Barnes

Abraham Lincoln and the workers who built his statue

Along the Metropolitan Branch Trail, pedestrians and cyclists alike are able to enjoy this mural, completed in September 2017. The four-story artwork, titled “28 Blocks,” was painted by New York-based artist Garin Bake. The intent of the mural was not necessarily to honor Lincoln, but instead the African-American men who quarried the white Georgia marble used to build Lincoln’s statue. (Note: The placement of this mapped point may be inaccurate.)

A post shared by Aaron (@aaronaguinaldo) on

Elizabeth Taylor

Say hello to the best mural in Washington, D.C., as decided by Washington City Paper readers in 2014. Created in 2013 by G. Byron Peck and Ivo Koytchev, this mural rises up three stories, overlooking the popular outdoor neighborhood bar, known as Dacha.

A post shared by Kelly Paras (@flipflopcaravan) on

Yoko Ono

Photo courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum/Emma McAlary

This is the only mural on this list that doesn’t actually feature the portrait of the respective celebrity. Even so, it’s worth visiting. It first debuted in September 2017, made in a partnership with the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. The large-scale mural on Union Market was completed by Yoko Ono. In a statement, Ono said that her inspiration for the work was that she hopes that “our hearts will be stronger and stronger forever.”

Photo courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum/Emma McAlary

George Washington

Should it be any surprise that George Washington shows up twice in this map of Washington, D.C.’s best celebrity murals? This recently painted mural was completed by MADSTEEZ as part of NoMa’s POW! WOW! mural festival.

A post shared by Aaron (@aaronaguinaldo) on