Artist Says Painter of DC Mural Ripped Off Her Work - NBC4 Washington

Artist Says Painter of DC Mural Ripped Off Her Work

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    A local artist won the opportunity to paint a mural on the side of a D.C. homeless shelter, but another artist said she hasn't received any recognition for helping create the idea and design of the mural. News4's Meagan Fitzgerald reports. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017)

    A local artist's mural on the side of a D.C. homeless shelter is meant to be a beacon of hope for people in the community, but the mural is also the source of a dispute; another artist says she should be credited with creating the idea and original drawing for the mural.

    The mural of an African-American woman in front of a kaleidoscope of colors is meant to inspire the women who call the Open Arms shelter in Northwest D.C. their home.

    "The first idea I could think about was a strong woman reaching through to another dimension pushing through to freedom, and so I explained this idea, and then I drew it," artist Aja Adams told News4 via Facebook video.

    Adams says she came up with the idea and design for the mural on O Street NW near 1st Street NW while working with another artist, who News4 is not naming.

    The other artist won the opportunity to paint the mural through the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and was paid $50,000, according to Adams.

    In emails Adams forwarded to News4, it appears the artist who painted the mural acknowledges Adams' work and effort, but Adams has not received any credit or payment.

    "We take copyright matters very seriously and after an initial review, we determined that this is a contractual disagreement between the two parties." the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities said in a statement to News4.

    "There’s a lot of artists like me whose stories or art is always taken and no one is ever held accountable," Adams said.

    News4 has reached out to the artist who painted the mural, but she has not responded.