Outdoor Art Exhibit Takes Over Rose Park

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"The Orange Step" outdoor art exhibit at Rose Park. Photo by Robert Devaney.

“It’s a great awakening,” says artist Kiril Jeliazkov, who has planted 81 pieces of his huge outdoor artwork project — “The Orange Step” — into the grounds of Rose Park and parts of Massachusetts Avenue. Most of the panels stand from M Street to P Street.

Jeliazkov calls it “one of the first-ever large format style art experiences allowed to be displayed in its entirety across the streets and parks of the nation’s capital.” The panels — 22 feet high and 11 feet wide — are fixed to metal poles anchored into the ground.

Jeliazkov also calls his big art “a wake-up call for the park and everyone” who views it and sees it as inspiring. “The project is created with the idea that the art is for everyone and therefore its gallery is Mother Nature,” says the artist, who invites the viewer to take in the colors of the panels and the colors of the surrounding environment.

The artwork project, its fifth installation, is mounted on public space with the permission of the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation and the National Park Service. Jeliazkov has taken on the cost of the installation and the exhibit, which runs through June 7.

The imposing pieces line the outfield of Rose Park’s north field, from P Street to 26th Street. On the south field of the park, the art panels proceed from the tot lot to M Street. Completing the installation, about 30 pieces stand in a green space on either of Massachusetts Avenue near St. Nicholas Cathedral.

In 2006, Jeliazkov introduced “The Orange Step,” his first large-scale project, in a park near his hometown of Yambol, Bulgaria. Its second mounting was in Savannah, Georgia, where he completed his bachelor of fine arts and master of fine arts degrees in painting at Savannah College of Art and Design in 2007. The third exhibition was in Palm Beach in 2008 and the fourth in Tiburon, next to San Francisco, in 2013. Now, it’s Washington’s turn.

“The world has become my gallery,” says Jeliazkov, who wants people “to paint their life” and added, “My project unites everyone.”

Working from a studio near Dupont Circle, Jeliazkov has been in Washington for the past 10 years. He got early encouragement for the exhibition from Joshua Lopez of the Office of Mayor Muriel Bowser and enthusiastic support from the Friends of Rose Park.

Why the name, “The Orange Step”? “The passionate and hot color” is his favorite, says Jeliazkov, who put his footprint signature on all art panels.

“The Orange Step” outdoor art exhibit at Rose Park. Photo by Robert Devaney.
“The Orange Step” art project at Rock Park. Photo by Kiril Jeliazkov.
Artist Kiril Jeliazkov at Rose Park with installed panels of “The Orange Steps.”
“The Orange Step” art exhibit at Rose Park near N Street. Photo by Robert Devaney.
“The Orange Step” art exhibit at Rose Park near O Street. Photo by Robert Devaney.
“The Orange Step” art exhibit on Massachusetts Avenue near St. Sophia’s Cathedral. Photo by Robert Devaney.
Artist Kiril Jeliazkov checks panel, ready to be installed, in Rose Park. Photo by Robert Devaney.
Artist Artist Kiril Jeliazkov and his brother Zhivko Zheliazkov — the engineer of the project — install a panel in Rose Park. Photo by Robert Devaney.
Artist Artist Kiril Jeliazkov and his brother Zhivko Zheliazkov — the engineer of the project, up on the pole — get ready to install another panel in Rose Park. Photo by Robert Devaney.
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