PRESS RELEASE: St. John’s Church To Activate Racial Justice, Love & Unity Themed Murals


September 3, 2020

Local artists will come together this Labor Day weekend to paint a series of vibrant murals on the plywood panels currently installed at St. John’s Church located on Black Lives Matter Plaza.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—St. John’s Church, in partnership with the DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) and P.A.I.N.T.S. Institute, is pleased to announce a planned mural activation project for this coming Labor Day weekend. Located on the grounds of the Church, at 1525 H Street, NW, Washington, DC, the murals will feature messages and imagery to help unite the community and promote racial justice.

The Rev. Rob Fisher, the Rector of St. John’s, envisions the murals being closely tied in to the meaning of Shalom, the Hebrew word for “peace,” which also means wholeness and the healing that comes with it. “Like the word shalom, we hope these murals will be a blessing, a calling for the much needed healing that comes with being whole communally and individually, spiritually and in a secular sense as well,” says Rev. Fisher. Another theme to be depicted in the murals is the concept of ubuntu, which has been promoted by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, meaning “I am because you are.” It is to say, “My humanity is inextricably bound up in yours,” as Tutu puts it.

“The DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) supports racial justice and the creation of inclusive, welcoming places for all and we are pleased to be working with the PAINTS Institute and St. Johns Church to further that mission in this historic location,” said BID President and CEO Neil Albert.

Established in 2016, the P.A.I.N.T.S. (Providing Artists with Inspiration in Non-Traditional Settings) Institute is a Washington, DC based STEM+Arts educational nonprofit that provides interactive and engaging programming and activities to youth in underserved communities. Their team of muralists will lead the activities. “These murals will give a creative, visual voice to our community that is wrestling with issues and concerns stemming from the pandemic, protests and the call for racial justice,” says John Chisholm, Executive Director of the P.A.I.N.T.S. Institute. “We are both humbled and excited to have this opportunity to showcase the emotions of the community and help further the needed healing process.”

The muralists will be painting “live” at the church this coming Saturday, September 5, 2020 between the hours of 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM. At the start, guests are invited to join in a dedication prayer service led by Rev. Fisher. Throughout the day, the public is invited to watch the muralists in real-time; meet the artists; and partake in family-friendly art activities by contributing their own positive messages of hope, love, inspiration and calls for racial justice to prayer wall canvases located on the H Street side of the church. We ask that all attendees comply with both D.C. Government and CDC guidelines regarding masks and social distancing. Thank you for your cooperation.


About the St. John’s Church

St. John’s Church, Lafayette Square is a downtown Episcopal parish located at the corner of Sixteenth and H Streets, NW, on Black Lives Matter Plaza. St. John’s welcomes all to come and worship—which we offer virtually during the time of COVID. At St. John’s Church, we believe Christ is calling us to be a renewed church in a changing world. Empowered by the Spirit of God, we respond to Jesus’ call as we deepen our bond with Christ through worship, become a community where all are accepted, and work together as laity and clergy to do God’s work in the world. In all of this—worship, Christian education, parish life, and outreach—we seek to expand our horizons. Public inquiries: 202.347.8766 or visit Connect with us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

About the DowntownDC BID

The DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) was founded in 1997 and is a private non-profit organization that provides capital improvements, resources and research that keep the BID area clean, safe, economically and environmentally strong and accessible. The DowntownDC BID is a catalyst, facilitator and thought leader in diversifying the economy, promoting public/private partnerships and enhancing the DowntownDC experience for all. This special district, where property owners have agreed to tax themselves to fund services, encompasses a 138-block area of approximately 520 properties from Massachusetts Avenue on the north to Constitution Avenue on the south, and from Louisiana Avenue on the east to 16th Street on the west. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter.

About the P.A.I.N.T.S. Institute

P.A.I.N.T.S. Institute, a Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit organization, is missioned to provide interactive, STEM+Arts and ARTrepreneurship education and programming to youth and young adults in underserved communities. Our goal is to find alternative, unique ways to leverage the power of visual arts to develop, prepare, and sustain the lives and communities of those around us. Learn more at and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.