Down to Earth Seasonal Resident Artists Announcement

From left back row: Rik Freeman, Szn 1 Winter Artist; Tina O’Connell, Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens; Zandra Chestnut, Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Garden; Megan Singleton, Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens; Michael Chambers, NPS; Malik Thomas, Szn IV Fall Artist; Glen Gordon, Caandor Labs; Nikki Hendricks, Szn II Spring Artist. From Left bottom row: Ranger Vince Vaise, NPS; Tariq Ibrahim, Caandor Labs; Bakari Ahmed Ibrahim, Caandor Labs; Siobhan Rigg, Szn III Summer Artist; Moss Belk, Caandor Labs, Mark Cooley (head on stick) Szn IV Fall Artist; Thomas Stanley, Szn IV Fall Artist; Julianne Brienza, Captial Fringe. Photo Credit: Dionne McDonald

We are thrilled to announce the four resident artists selected to create projects as part of Down to Earth. Through this program, the artists will shine a light on Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and the Kenilworth area’s past, present, and future by highlighting the stewardship of the natural environment and its intersectionality with systemic racism through artistic practice and process. Each artist’s practice and process will be our primary method for reflection and examination. The artists’ practice and process will be documented through video, podcast, blog, and photography and shared with you.

In the year ahead and as we embark on this journey, you will be alerted to watch, listen, read, witness, and participate in our collective discoveries under each seasonal project. The ideas and how they will be executed will evolve. We will document every success and failure.

Ready? Set? Here we go!

Rik Freeman is a DC-based, narrative figurative painter.  Born in Athens, Georgia, in 1956, he began his professional career as an artist in Washington, DC, in 1989, where he has painted numerous murals throughout the area. These works include: Learn from the Past for the H.D. Woodson High School and Knowledge, commissioned by the DC Public Library for the Dorothy I. Height Library. Two of his most prominent commission are Shaw Rhythms for the Washington Convention Center and Arl@200 at the Arlington County Courthouse. You can read more about Rik and his work at

Nikki Hendricks is a DC native who grew up drawing her own fashion magazines and got her first sewing machine at the age of 12. She is MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) graduate, whose collections have been seen at New York, Paris, and Milan fashion weeks. Nikki was the Designer in Residence at the DC Fashion Foundation Incubator program at Macy’s. Nikki draws inspiration from the futurism genre and emphasizes underlying content about race, religion, gender, and sexuality. You can learn more about Nikki and view her work at

Siobhan Rigg is an artist, teacher, and writer whose creative and research interests center on social and environmental micro-histories. Their work is concerned, most immediately with the unequal impact of the toxic legacies of the built environment, and more broadly, with theoretical and material explorations of governance and resource extraction. Based in Maryland, Rigg is a faculty member at the George Washington University Corcoran School of the Arts and Design and a resident artist at Red Dirt Studio, a studio community located in Mt. Rainier, Maryland. You can learn more about Siobhan at

This collective is comprised of Thomas Stanley, a sound artist, musician, broadcaster, writer, and lecturer in sound art and critical theory at George Mason University; Malik Thomas (Discipline99), an independent hip hop producer and DC native and Mark Cooley, a professor of new media, eco-art at George Mason University.

Photo composite by Mark Cooley.


Down to Earth is a creative project partnership between Friends of the Kenilworth Aquatic GardensCaandor Labs, and Capital Fringe.