Artist Corrina Mehiel Found Murdered in Washington, DC

The artist was working with Mel Chin on a project at the Corcoran.

Artist Corrina Mehiel. Image via the artist's website.

In a heart-rending case, artist Corrina Mehiel, age 34, has been found murdered in Washington, DC. Her body was found in a basement apartment in the 600 block of 14th Street NE the afternoon of March 21, according to NBC Washington. She had been bound and stabbed to death.

Mehiel had been last seen on March 19 at Washington’s Corcoran School of the Arts & Design, where she was teaching.

In addition to her job at the Corcoran, Mehiel was a project assistant for Houston-based social practice artist Mel Chin, whose current exhibition, “The Fundred Reserve,” is on view at the Corcoran through May 21. That project looks to raise awareness of the dangers of lead poisoning through a display of hand-drawn $100 bills, made by people who care about the issue from across the country.

Mehiel was living in DC temporarily. Police reportedly found no evidence of forced entry at the apartment where she was staying, though her vehicle, a 2004 Toyota Prius, was missing.

Corrina Mehiel, <em>Tree Hugger</em> (2015). Courtesy of Corrina Mehiel.

Corrina Mehiel, Tree Hugger (2015). Courtesy of Corrina Mehiel.

In her own practice, Mehiel often worked in public spaces, interacting directly with the community. Her recurring project Clothes Swap, for instance, was a social sharing event that allowed people to exchange clothes that they no longer wore. Other works include her larger-than-life bobby pin sculpture The Bob Holder (2012) and her 2015 photography series “Tree Hugger,” in which Mehiel dressed in her mother’s clothes and posed with trees after finding herself “on a migratory path of mid-sized post-industrial cities… [and] longing for a home.”

Originally from Burnsville, North Carolina, Mehiel received her Bachelor’s degree at Pennsylvania State in 2005 and served as director of the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, nonprofit arts organization Dazante Community Art Center in 2008–10. She went on to earn her MFA at the University of Cincinnati in 2013, and serve as an instructor at the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 2014–16.

“I don’t know why anyone would do this,” Chin told the Washington Post. “If you were in pain, she would help…. If you were poor, she would help pay for you.”

Police are trying to locate Corrina Mehiel's car, a 2004 Toyota Prius that has been missing since her murder. Courtesy of Washington, DC, police.

Police are trying to locate Corrina Mehiel’s car, a 2004 Toyota Prius that has been missing since her murder. Courtesy of Washington, DC, police.

Authorities are calling for information from anyone who has seen the car since Mehiel’s death, and a $25,000 award is being offered for help in identifying the murderer. A surveillance photo of the suspect, a young man with a beard entering a convenience store in Beltsville, Maryland, was released by police on Wednesday, according to a local ABC affiliate and the Associated Press.

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