This Site is a Chronological Blog of Projects


Now until July 25 2015
1700 L St. NW Washington DC
Events PDF

8' h x 12' l x 8' w


Early Bird

2013 – 2014, 63 Bronze Birds with Various PatinasTysons Corner, VA

Early Bird was created for newly constructed Plaza at Tysons Corner, VA. The artwork commission consists of 63 individual bronze sculptures of indigenous bird species, Cardinal, Robin, Mourning Dove, Crow, and Red Tailed Hawk, orchestrated into a unified, multi-dimensional work that has appeal as a direct experience and as playful allegory.  The work is intended to provide an experience to the spectrum of visitors who arrive, depart and return to the Plaza that is familiar, engaging, and participatory.

During our research for this project we discovered “Early Bird” was the nickname for Intelsat-1, the first geosynchronous communications satellite, placed in orbit on April 6, 1965 by Intelsat.  We were intrigued by the relationship of flight, interaction and ingenuity implied by “Early Bird,” and how that resonated with our vision of the presence of the birds on the plaza.



2013 - 2014
Monrovia, Liberia

Story is a three-part artwork created by Workingman Collective.  At its core, the commission considers the relationship of play, learning, and building community across generations, linking the United States Embassy and the greater Liberian community

 On the U.S. embassy grounds, four cast bronze, oversized school desk chairs populated by the national bird, the Pepper bird, conjure the folktale icon, who according to legend, shrieks each dawn until father night releases the people sleeping peacefully under his arms to father day so they can go about their daily work.  The symbolism of the chairs and Pepper birds carries over to the community in tangible ways.  In Wenneh Town, Kakata, Margibi County, Workingman Collective partnered with the Checago Bright Foundation (a U.S. and Liberia based non-Government organization) to build a playground where children and familioes from surrounding schools and neighborhoods can gather to socialize and share their similarities and differences through play.  In Monrovia, in collaboration with the Quilters Guilds, Waste Not Inc., Alice Bracewell (Sinkor), Quageh, Maude Davis (Caldwell), and  team of young women created a visual document of Story in an edition of Quilts.



Craft 2013                

Cherry, electric/motor, sound system, 5’h x 3’w x 2’d

Audio, Mezo Soprano, Megan Ihnen, singing the names of all the artists who have shown work at Hemphill Fine Arts over the last 20 years.


Cooler Shake

Workingman Collective 
is collecting video footage of shaking hands 

Cooler Shake, 2013
8 hour video loop
mixed media: oak file cabinet, 5-gallon water jug, video projection, limestone
71” x 27” x 16”

Still from video loops 
DuPont Circle Cooler Shake Session Set up
Inside Cooler Shake


Monrovia Liberia

The U.S. Department of State Art in Embassies has commissioned Workingman Collective to create a permanent artwork for the grounds of the US Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia.  

Our first site/research trip is March 2 - 15.

While in Monrovia we are planning a comprehensive survey + research of the Embassy grounds for location and installation of our artwork, including: site conditions + regulations, lighting potential, foundation needs, installation, suppliers, contacts, shipping, and etc.

Concurrently we will continue developing full conceptual/creative research that will inform and enable us to provide the Arts and Embassy Program a meaningful artwork that is specific as well as sensitive to the location for which it is created.

We don't want to build a monolith here in the states, ship it to Monrovia, and bolt it to a concrete pad deep within the embassy grounds.  We envision a project that has a life inside and outside the embassy grounds that connects community.  Therefore, it is important while we are in Monrovia to explore, observe, and simply shake hands in the community involved with education, outreach, the arts and traditional crafts, and diplomacy.  

We are also interested in cultural delivery systems such as the work Alfred J. Sirleaf is doing with his news kiosk, the Daily Talk, the Made In Liberia organization, the Checago Bright Foundation, or Leslie Lumeh who has created the first school of contemporary arts in Monrovia.



Finding a Line


 "Finding a Line Part One" 
January thru April 2012

This is the first of two video documents focusing on the Finding a Line 5x5 project. 
Ben Ashworth, John Falls, Workingman Collective

About Finding a Line
Finding aLine takes the improvisational act at the core of skateboarding - finding a line through physical space - and applies it to the process of transforming a community space.  

January 2012, two to three days a week, Ben Ashworth, Workingman Collective, John Falls, and Co, began transforming a large neglected raw area under the I-695 Southeast Freeway in Washington DC, into a skate-able social space. 

The site, BridgeSpot, a complex high-low socioeconomic mash-up zone was shaped into a skate-able social space that cycles rhythmically from action to a calm-before-the-storm vibe. 

Selected by curator Laura Roulet for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities’ temporary public art project, 5×5,  Ben Ashworth and Workingman Collective collaborated with other artists, activists, skaters, and the community towards the launch of the Finding a Line on March 20, 2012.

About 5x5
5x5 is twenty-five groundbreaking temporary public art installations that were installed concurrently throughout the District of Columbia March – April 2012.  5x5 coincided with the Centennial National Cherry Blossom Festival.

On Going Actions:
Janrurary – May 2012
Sustaining a steady work ethic, Ben Ashworth and Workingman Collective set a tone of stewardship by removing trash from the site, fixing what was broken, building, documenting, and shaking hands.  We began to link a diverse network of local officials, skaters, parents, dj's, kids, construction and office workers, to the homeless. As we worked and developed the Finding a Line project we sifted through actions + engagement, the collective images + videos to craft the emerging process and narrative. 

April 2 - 6, 2012
Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW)
We created a workshop “Explore, Build, Document: Public Art Skateboarding Laboratory”  for students in grades K-6 .
Students made skateboards, designed and built skateboard structures, and documented the process through video and video editing.
Chaw Group
April 29, 2012
Through conversations with AlbusCavus, Peter Kursko the Urban Artistry's International Soul Society Festival and Eighty Eight's Forward Festival, Flow. Programmed the final festival event at the Finding a Line site which centered on live performances and workshops, including graffiti, parcours, djs, skateboarding, music, dancing, and cooking.



Workingman Collective 
Backup Band 

5x5 is the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities’s temporary public art project
(Click here for about 5x5)

For the next several months we will be working with Ben and others at Bridge Spot, DC
We'd also like to give a shout out to curator Laura Roulet 

WMC + Ashworth    2012



January 30 - March 10, 2012
Sandra & David Bakalar Gallery 
Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Boston, Ma

Binh Danh, Paula Hayes, Tim Knowles, and Workingman Collective

This exhibition explores the intersections between people and the natural environment; delving into the complexity of humanity's relationships with the landscape through the work of contemporary artists who use living plants in their art. Rather than simply drawing inspiration from the biosphere, these artists utilize plant matter as their artistic media, incorporate natural growth processes to create striking images, employ plants with pollutant-eliminating abilities in interactive sculptures to create healthy social spaces, and even embrace plants as active collaborators in their work.

This exhibition was curated by Lisa Tung, Director of Curatorial Programs.

For more information, please download our Gallery Guide. Printed copies are available for use in the galleries.
For links, events, and other resources, please download our Information Packet.


Karen and Kevin Townsend w/ Teagan and Calder  @ Mass Art opening


 (e)merge art fair

September 22 - 25, 2011
Capital Skyline Hotel
Washington DC


Prospects and Provisions
Workingman Collective
June 18 - August 20

Hemphill Fine Arts

Washington DC

Swing, 2011
steel, fir, powdercoat, clay pots and assorted houseplants
selected from Environmental Scientist, Bill Wolverton's study
of plants that clean air of V.O.C.'s, Volatile Organic Compounds.
108" x 110" x 115"
Pack, 2011
fir, oak, waxed canvas, steel, copper
30" x 15" x 8"
Edition of 7

Pack canvas fabricated by Wendy Downs

Swing, 2011detail
Tablecherry, elevated steel track + G scale train, chalkboard,
9 one hour scheduled conversation socials every Wednesday
June 18 - August 20

photo by Max Hirshfeld


Lunch #9
Ben Ashworth



Barrel, 2011
55 gallon container, drain spouts, spigot, custom label, wooden base
52" x 32" x 24", Ed. 7

Watering plants
Ben Ashworth Suzanne Codi

Lloyd "Trapper" Nelson Original Backpack, c 1924
(U.S. patent #1,505,661)

Pack, 2011(detail installation)
fir, oak, waxed canvas, steel, copper
30" x 15" x 8"
Edition of 7

Pack canvas fabricated by Wendy Downs


Prospects, 2011
letterpress, silkscreen, and hand coloring on paper
24" x 18", Ed. 15

Cover, 2011
letterpress and digital print on paper
15” x 18”, Ed. 15


Champion, 2011
installation: 1/2 ping pong table, DVD,
32" video monitor, 6 plants
64" x 50" x 60"

Handshake Ping Pong, 2011
ping pong ball dispenser, 100 matte black ping pong balls
17 1/2" x 8" x 8"

purchase of work includes dispenser, balls, consultation and conceptualization
Contract, 2011
7 notebooks bound and silk screen, handshake
1 1/4" x 3 1/2" x 5 1/2"
Ed. 7
purchase of work includes notebooks, consultation and conceptualization
Thursday July 21
A group of DC poets take over the installation of Swing for a lively and informal reading.
Jessica Cebra & Casey Smith
Katy Bohinc & Adam Marston
Kady Ashcraft & Jim Beane

Emilia Olsen & Christopher Cunningham

Organized by
Casey Smith PHD, visual-vocal artist
Faculty in Arts and Humanities
Corcoran College of Art + Design, Washington, DC.

Exhibition Wall Text
By Casey Smith

The motto of Workingman Collective (WMC), “Your Ideas Are Ours,” is the first indication of the gentle provocation at the center of their project-based work. The four simple words are radically declarative, almost obnoxiously so. The key word, of course, is ‘ours,’ which refers not to the members of WMC, but to a universal ‘we.’ Unsurprisingly, the WMC Web site is administered by an entity with the name ‘Us Are We.’
This inclusivity is apparent in all of their work, starting with Five Mile Line (Butte, 2006) and here in their newest exhibition Prospects & Provisions (WDC, 2011). In fact, whether you like it or not, the fact of you reading this text and entering this gallery makes you a member of WMC. The invitation is implicit.
In art terms we could reference historical movements such as Surrealism and ‘Pataphysics, also more recent fashions and trends such as relational aesthetics and social practice, but that would miss the point. Like all of their work, Prospects & Provisions offers spaces of contemplation and reflection, but not in individual isolation. It’s not a coincidence that tables, places where people come together socially, feature in so much WMC work. Tables make things happen. Work gets done at tables. People talk, drink, eat, argue, and laugh at tables. The table is an invitation. A ping-pong table is also an invitation. A plant-covered swing is an invitation. What you (we) do with these invitations is your (our) business. WMC makes objects, that’s for sure. But the objects are never ends in themselves, they act as catalysts for the construction of social experiences, not merely aesthetic delectation. Their work is characterized by an open sense of play and a denial of the supposed split between craft and concept.