Last Site Visit

Tuesday was our last site visit with the students. First we met with a contractor named Mr. Wilson who is working on renovating two of the large apartment buildings that were constructed in the 1960s called Capital Park Plaza. Capital Park Plaza was designed by Chloethiel Woodard Smith, one of the first female architects to get large commissions in DC. Mr. Wilson explained to the students how the buildings are very durable, as they are made of solid concrete. Mr. Wilson also described how these buildings were the prime place to live when they were constructed, and many famous politicians resided in them. They hosted fancy cocktail and pool parties. Mr. Wilson took us through the gates and we walked around the buildings, which we could not have done on our own. For the next portion of our site visit we split up into small groups, so we could cover lots of ground and have a good variety of photos for our exhibit. I took a group of five students down 4th street. Before the redevelopment of the 1950s, 4th street used to be the commercial corridor of Southwest Waterfront. However now it is all apartment buildings. During redevelopment planners did preserve one set of rowhouses, called Wheat Row, because it dates from 1789. I made sure to point out Wheat Row to the students. We also did a sketching exercise in front of it. One of the students, an eleven year old named Levi, drew an excellent sketch of Wheat Row. We are going to include it in the exhibit. While we were walking I also pointed out a set of apartments with aluminum trim. The students thought this was interesting and took lots of photos of it. After we went down 4th street we went to the Titanic Memorial. The Titanic Memorial was designed by the female sculptor Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, and was unveiled in 1931. Meant to honor those who died on the Titanic, it depicts a man with his arms outstretched. It is a great subject to photograph, and I gave the students 15 minutes to do so. I was happy to see that they photographed the sculpture from a variety of angles, a technique we had been emphasizing. Then it was time to head back to the museum for lunch. After lunch we did a photo review with the professional photographers. The students also picked which photos they wanted to be printed from that day’s site visit. After the students left Lauren and I worked on printing out the photos they had selected. That is quite a process, and took us two hours. However, we split the work each taking five students, making it go faster.

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