NPR logo Up Against The Walls In Washington, D.C.

Up Against The Walls In Washington, D.C.

Painting the town in Washington, D.C. Courtesy of MuralsDC hide caption

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Courtesy of MuralsDC

Painting the town in Washington, D.C.

Courtesy of MuralsDC

This summer, I was one of nearly 200 cyclists who toured D.C. one night in search of the city's most colorful murals in parking lots and back alleys.

The tour was co-sponsored by MuralsDC, a citywide project that trains young artists to paint mural masterpieces over tired, tawdry graffiti.

"It makes art so personal and accessible at once," says Laura Lyons, 20, a summer volunteer.

Successful murals reflect a particular community's history and culture and consequently instill pride in residents, says Lyons, and the paintings allow everyone to experience something beautiful — without going to a museum or gallery.

Teresa Tomassoni is the 2011 recipient of the NPR/Washington Post Stone & Holt Weeks Fellowship.