Public Art or Public Nuisance?

Palisades family told to move psychedelic van

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCWashington.com
    Public art or public nuisance?

    Its rusted, rainbow-covered front looks like something from a bad (or was it good?) 1960s acid dream. From the side, peacenik graffiti grooves with paint spatter (artful or accidental?) and more rust. 

    The battered, motorless Volkswagen microbus has been on the side lawn of the Kaplan-Allen family in Palisades since last spring, when it was no longer needed for a production of "Pippin" at Georgetown Day School
     
    Halle Kaplan-Allen, now a senior at GDS, was head of the production’s makeup crew. She and her fellow students all gravitated toward the psychedelic bus when it was parked on stage during the show’s run and would often eat their lunches there. 
     
    “It clearly had so much history,” she told the Northwest Current.
     
    When the production ended, Kaplan-Allen’s parents, Janice Kaplan and Michael Allen, decided to bring the bus home and set it up as an art installation in their yard. Accordingto the Northwest Current:

     “They said it could serve as an artistic tribute to the era, a transcendent time machine that would transport viewers back to Age of Aquarius, when hair was long and ideals were high."

    The D.C. Department of Public Works is more concerned with the Age of Now. It sees the van as a public nuisance, and potential vermin breeding ground.

    The agency is calling on the Palisades family to remove the van or face up to $1,000 in fines.
     
    “This particular piece of art – if that’s what it is – could be a health and safety hazard,” agency spokesperson Nancee Lyons told the Northwest Current, adding that the DPW investigation was sparked by a neighbor’s complaint.
     
    Kaplan said she was shocked at the citation and unhappy the neighbor did not contact her directly.
     
    “That’s not really how we resolve things in the Palisades,” she told the Current.

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