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The Capital's Controversial Panda Public Art Project

What animal is black and white and controversial, all over the nation's capital? Day to Day reporter Eric Niiler reports on an art project in Washington, D.C. to place panda statues throughout the city -- and the debate it's stirring up about public art.

There are up to 150 brightly painted pandas placed all over the city and the surrounding metro area. The city government of Washington, D.C., spent at least $850,000 on the project -- money the project's detractors say could be spent on crucial city services.

City officials hope to get much of their investment back when the pandas are auctioned off after the project ends in September.

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Eric Niiler
Eric Niiler reports for NPR's national desk. His work can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and other NPR newsmagazines. Before moving to his current post, Niiler was a reporter for NPR's Day to Day program, and also filed pieces for NPR's national and science desks.