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Posted at 12:40 PM ET, 12/28/2012

The “Before I Die” wall, a new Chuck Brown mural and other highlights of 2012 in street art

Alleyways and building facades in the area became a lot more colorful this year. Take a look at these notable works of street art from 2012.

“Before I Die” — This temporary project on a construction barricade at 14th and Q streets NW became a place for people to share their lifelong dreams. Inspired by a similar board in New Orleans, Sophie Miller and Dan Meredith posted the board as a tribute to a friend’s grandmother. It was meant to be a secret — and if Miller hadn’t broken her hand, they might not have been discovered.

Open Walls Baltimore: The 24-year-old Baltimore street artist Gaia pulled together a huge group show with street artists from around the world, giving each one a building in the city’s Station North neighborhood to use as a canvas. It was one of a few steps Gaia took to formalize his work as something more than street art. He also became the subject of a show at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Chuck Brown’s mural: The Godfather of Go-go was honored with a mural on the side of one of D.C.’s most famous restaurants, Ben’s Chili Bowl. Brown’s image joined Bill Cosby, President Obama and radio host Donnie Simpson on the building.

Aniekan Udofia, artist, poses in front of his latest work on the exterior walls of Ben's Chili Bowl at 1213 U Street Northwest in Washington, DC on Tuesday November 20, 2012. (Joseph Victor Stefanchik)

“I Am a Man”: JR, the French mural artist and winner of the TED Prize, outfitted an entire building at 14th and T streets NW with photographer Ernest Withers’s iconic civil rights image of the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike. The signs say “I Am a Man,” but the mural might make you think about what it means to be an American, or a human being.

By  |  12:40 PM ET, 12/28/2012

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