The eyes have it. A new art installation featuring interactive LED-lit eyes launched today at the final Ballston Farmers Market of the season.
The display is called “The Eyes of Ballston” and users interact with it through their mobile device. The concept is that five characters live in the tree in the middle of Welburn Square — the baby, the grannie, the flirt, the grump and the raver — and they look at users through the interactive eyes.
Visitors stand near the tree and answer a character’s questions on their mobile device, to which the character responds via the eyes. The character will display different emotions depending on the user’s answer. They can perform numerous actions, including crying, winking and blowing a kiss. Each character has a circadian rhythm, so they’re not all awake and interacting with people at all hours of the day.
“I want them [users] to have fun and interact and enjoy public art, and understand that a great piece of public art is great for place-making and bringing people together,” said artist Lola Lombard, who came up with the eyes concept. “It’s showing them it’s OK to have a little fun. I like my artwork to always have a sense of humor and I think this does that.”
More than 3,000 LED lights, hundreds of feet of wiring, a metal structure and a Linux-based computer make up the project’s technical components.
“It’s really nice to make this stuff as art,” said Branden Hall, whose role focused on the electronic aspects of the art display. “It’s nice to make people smile, I really enjoy that.”
The display is part of the Ballston BID’s “Public Displays of Innovation” series, which also includes the lifeguard chairs placed throughout Ballston.
“We want to bring the amazing creativity and imagination of the people who live and work in Ballston to the street level,” said Ballston BID CEO Tina Leone. “We weren’t even sure at first if it could be done. I didn’t realize it was going to be this cool. It makes you stop to think about how you interact with your neighborhood.”
Sen. Tim Kaine showed up at the farmers market, campaigning for County Board candidate Alan Howze. He checked out the electronic eyes and said he likes the idea of having more public art in communities.
“Why not make communities beautiful?” Kaine said. “I think art, and it doesn’t have to be expensive, I think it makes people feel better about the place where they live.”
The interactive eyes will be in Welburn Square through November.
Residents in Fairlington won’t have to go as far to get fresh produce, starting next year. On Saturday, Arlington County Board members unanimously approved allowing a an open-air farmers market in Fairlington.
The market will take place at the Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford Street) from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on Sundays from April through November. The special use permit allows for 15 to 20 vendors and up to 29 tents on a pedestrian path behind the community center.
The use permit will allow the Arlington-based nonprofit Field to Table, Inc., to operate the market. That’s the same organization running the Westover farmers market. In order to accommodate concerns about noise, no amplified music or speakers of any kind will be allowed.
Nearly a dozen residents showed up to express their opinions of how the market may affect the community. With one exception, all the speakers supported the market.
“Farmers markets are intended to be neighborhood affairs,” said resident Douglas Penn. “It’s a natural enhancement to a community that already exists. It’s another jewel in the crown.”
Some residents previously had expressed concern that a farmers market at the community center would affect parking. County staff notes that the market is on several bus lines and there is ample free parking in the area. The special use permit will come up for renewal in October 2015, and Board members say at that time they would address any parking concerns that may still exist. The Board also has the authority to examine formal complaints before the permit comes up for renewal.
“I do think this is a good thing. I am aware that there are some folks that are upset. Which is part of the reason I’m going to look at the parking and try to reassure them. But we absolutely need to give it a try,” said Board member Libby Garvey, who is also a Fairlington resident. “I will kick up a fuss if there really is a problem for some folks who do not have the parking that they need.”
The Fairlington farmers market will be the ninth farmers market in Arlington. It is expected to open in April 2015.
County staff recommends the approval of the farmers market, proposed by the Arlington-based nonprofit Field to Table, citing a positive response from the community. The market would be held in the parking lot and on the pedestrian path of the Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford Street).
The market, if approved, would be held on Sundays from April to November, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., according to the county’s staff report. The first market would be held in April 2015.
The Fairlington market would be the county’s ninth farmers market. Currently, the closest market for Fairlington and Shirlington residents is the new Arlington Mill farmers market.
Field to Table, in its proposal, anticipates between 15 and 20 vendors for the market, with up to 29 tents under which goods and produce would be sold.
Some in the community expressed concern about the market’s impacts, but county staff said those potential impacts will be mitigated thanks to proper planning.
“Staff received correspondence from area residents who are concerned about impacts to parking, traffic, safety, and trash/environmental impacts related to the proposed use,” according to the report. “The recommended conditions of approval will mitigate any potential adverse impacts to the site.”
Staff said there is ample parking in the community center’s parking lot, but the market is designed with intent of having Fairlington residents walk to the center. The community center, which has been open since 1940 and used to be Fairlington Elementary School, is closed on Sundays, staff said, so the market wouldn’t conflict with any of its regular programming.
If approved, the County Board will review Field to Table’s permit to operate the market next October.
The market will run from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Welburn Square on N. Stuart Street, across from the Ballston Metro station. All visitors 21-and-over can enjoy a taste of beer and wine, with additional pours for $5. Anyone who purchases more than $10 of merchandise from some of the market’s vendors can have a second free tasting.
The beer will be provided by Northern Virginia breweries Heritage and Old Ox, as well as cider maker Angry Orchard.
While the beer and wine garden is happening, local band Jumpin’ Jupiter will perform their brand of, as they put it on their Facebook page, “Crash, boom, bangy kerplopabilly krap.”
The beer and wine will be accompanied by Ballston’s usual array of farmers selling vegetables, fruits, herbs and other goods, as well market vendors selling their goods. Tomorrow afternoon, the Ballston Business Improvement District will also unveil a new public art installation, called “Clouds.”
The Clouds are 50 light-and-sound interactive lanters placed all over the square. The lanterns take in and emit light and sound, and “will be programmed and then connected to form a cloud-like, networked structure,” according to a Ballston BID spokeswoman. The cloudlets were designed by artists Aki Ishida and Ivica Bukvic from the Virginia Tech Research Center in Ballston. Members of the public will participate in a workshop all day tomorrow to help build the clouds, which be displayed at 5:00 p.m.
While tomorrow is the last “mega market” in Ballston, the weekly farmers markets will continue to be held on Thursday evenings until the end of the month.
Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
The Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation has given the thumbs up to a proposal to put a farmers market in the open space next to Fairlington Community Center.
The request, by farmers market organizer Field to Table, will eventually be heard by the Arlington County Board and will include a public input process. If approved, the Fairlington Farmers Market will be the ninth in the county.
“After careful consideration, the Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation has determined that a farmers’ market is an appropriate use of the open space adjacent to the Fairlington Community Center,” The DPR said in a statement. “The site’s location, characteristics, context of the surrounding neighborhood, circulation and parking access appear to favorably support a farmers’ market.”
The community center is owned by the county, so county staff held two public outreach meetings — one in April and one in May — to determine whether the community was receptive to the market. According to the county’s report on the market, there were some concerns about parking, trash and noise levels, but the community was generally supportive of the concept.
There are 145 on- and off-street parking spaces, staff said, and other markets around the county do not exceed the Noise Ordinance if they do not play amplified music or sounds. In an online survey, two-thirds of respondents said they would approve of a market in the community center’s open space.
Of the county’s eight farmers markets, the closest one to Fairlington is the new Arlington Mill Farmers Market.
“Although the County does not currently seek the establishment of new farmers’ markets,” the staff report reads, “we recognize the important role that they can play in place-making and community wellness, a value shared by the Fairlington-Shirlington community.”
It’s unclear at this point when the market will go before the County Board for approval.
The Arlington County Board is expected to approve a proposal to create an open air market in the plaza of the Arlington Mill Community Center (909 S. Dinwiddie Street) at its meeting this Saturday.
The market, if approved, would take place from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and be run by the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization. The Arlington Mill plaza, in the middle of its first summer since the community center opened last fall, is already hosting half of CPRO’s outdoor summer movies, including showing several Spanish-language films.
CPRO already operates one farmers market on the east end of the Pike, next to the Rite Aid parking lot (2820 Columbia Pike), but CPRO Executive Director Takis Karantonis has spoken about expanding the use of public spaces all along the Pike to engage the community.
“We try to think of how to activate as much public space as possible,” Karantonis told ARLnow.com last month. “We want to do many small events that strengthen the idea of Columbia Pike as one corridor.”
Karantonis said the market will focus on “fresh vegetables and produce” and will start small. If approved as expected, Karantonis expects the first market to be held on July 30.
“The western end of the Pike has had less than favored access to fresh food and choices in general,” he said. “We want to remediate that. We want to have a farmer’s market that caters to a large population that needs more affordable choices, so we will try our best to make it as affordable as possible.”
The proposal is on the County Board’s consent agenda, meaning it will be approved without discussion unless a Board member has an issue. CPRO anticipates seven or eight vendors per week this summer, but applied for permission for up to 10 vendor tents. The land is owned by Arlington County, so the Board must also approving licensing it to CPRO for use during the market.
The market is proposed to operate until the end of November during its first year, and to operate year-round after that. The Board is voting on a one-year open-air permit, with the option to review and renew after the year is over.
(Updated at 6:00 p.m.) The proposed night and arts markets in Clarendon have been cancelled, but a new arts market is on its way to Crystal City in July.
Matt Hussmann, the executive director of the Clarendon Alliance, told ARLnow.com this afternoon that the markets fell through when the “parking lot operator” changed its terms –not Wells Fargo Bank, as he originally stated.
(A tenant in the Wells Fargo building, who declined to speak on the record, disputed Hussmann’s account.)
“The change made it unaffordable and too risky because we’re a nonprofit and can’t take on that kind of risk,” Hussmann said. “We’d like to do a market, we know that there’s demand for one in Clarendon, we’ve just got to find some space to do it.”
The Clarendon Alliance applied to the County Board for a permit for a night market in May, and had planned to launch May 31 from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Saturdays.
The arts market was part of the night market application, and was planned to be called “Sparkmarket” and managed by Jessica Blaszczak, who managed the former Ballston Arts Market. A similar market is coming to Crystal City on the 1800 block of Crystal Drive, called “Sparket Creative Market.”
According to organizer Diverse Markets Management, the market will launch on Wednesday, July 16, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and will continue weekly until Oct. 29.
“A diverse mix of art, crafts, handmade jewelry, accessories, bath/beauty and other local and handcrafted products are desired,” Diverse Management said in a press release. “As an additional draw, live-music and select food products will be part of the programming mix.”
Crystal City Business Improvement District President Angela Fox said the market will be another addition to the neighborhood’s offerings like its weekly farmers market on Tuesday afternoons.
“We’re excited to launch it,” she said. “We think it’s a great activator, we think it’s something fun for workers to do during the day, and we love creativity and want to bring it here.”
Hussman said Clarendon Central Park next to the Metro could be an option for a night market or another type of market — it’s where Clarendon hosts its weekly farmer’s market on Wednesdays from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. Clarendon Alliance had to move out of its space next to South Block Cafe because its lease expired, Hussman said, so no movement on another market has happened while he had to pack up the office.
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Arlington Teacher Surprised by Award — Barrett Elementary School teacher Joshua McLaughlin was surprised Tuesday afternoon when he was presented the Virginia Lottery Super Teacher Award during a school-wide assembly. McLaughlin is one of eight teachers to win the award along with a $2,000 cash prize and $2,000 classroom supply credit. [Arlington Public Schools]
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Westover Farmers Market Starts Summer Hours – The Westover Farmers Market will begin its summer hours on Sunday, May 4. The market will be open an hour earlier than the winter market, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. [Westover Farmers Market]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Field to Table, an Arlington-based nonprofit dedicated to coordinating farmers markets to encourage people to eat locally sourced foods, is eyeing the open space around the Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford Street) as a location for a farmers market.
The Fairlington Citizens Association has also expressed interest in using the site for a market, according to county staff.
The county’s Department of Parks and Recreation is hosting a community meeting on April 21 at the community center from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to gauge residents’ feelings and possible concerns on bringing a farmer’s market to the neighborhood. Another meeting is scheduled for May 13 at the same time to discuss the findings from the first forum and a survey, which will be posted online.
“The County needs to evaluate the appropriateness of the use at the Center,” Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation Jennifer Fioretti told ARLnow.com in an email. “The purpose of the meeting at Fairlington on April 21 is not to evaluate any specific proposal, but rather to seek input from the community regarding their interest, concerns and general feedback about this potential use of the space at the community center. The first meeting will include presentations from staff followed by a facilitated break-out session with meeting participants.”
There are currently seven regular farmers markets in the county, on varying days in Rosslyn, Courthouse, Clarendon, Ballston, Crystal City, on Columbia Pike and in Westover Village.
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Second Pike Farmers Market to Launch — The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization is planning a second farmers market, to be held on the grounds of the new Arlington Mill Community Center. The center is located at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Dinwidde Street, in the Columbia Heights West neighborhood. Organizers believe there are enough residents on the Pike to support two farmers markets. [Patch]
Clerk Prefers Online Juror Submissions — Clerk of the Circuit Court Paul Ferguson wants those who receive jury duty questionnaires next month to fill the form out online. Ferguson says opting for the electronic form is safe and convenient and saves time. [Sun Gazette]
Moran: Inequalities Remain — The country commemorated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the 93rd anniversary of the enactment of the 19th Amendment this week, but Rep. Jim Moran cautions that the country has taken “troubling steps backward” in recent years. “Inequalities remain, and misguided efforts that will take us backwards continue,” he writes in his weekly editorial. [Falls Church News-Press]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
The Arlington Farmers Market, in Courthouse, will begin its “prime season” on Saturday, April 20.
The prime season hours run from 8:00 p.m. to noon. The expanded hours will be in effect at the market, which is run by Arlington County’s Department of Parks and Recreation, through December.
“The market showcases 30 vendors with a good balance of seasonally available, locally produced, top quality products,” the parks department said in a press release. “Fruit, jams, sauces, veggies, soups, eggs, beef, lamb, bison, pasta, seafood, honey, milk, cheese, yogurt, mushrooms, bread, pastries, plants, flowers — it is hard to think of a locavore item we don’t offer!”
There are some new vendors at the market this year, the press release said, including Shells Yes! Crab Cake Company, Number 1 Sons’ pickles and kimchi, Goin’ Good Eats’ sweet bakery items, and Upper Crust Bakery’s artisanal breads.
The farmers market, billed as “the oldest market in the County and one of the oldest in the region,” was founded in 1980.
“The market was established in response to residents’ requests for a weekly local market, since at that time only Bethesda and D.C. hosted weekly markets,” the parks department said. “From then to now, it has supported local farmers and producers by selecting vendors within a 125 mile radius, cutting down on ‘food miles’ traveled to reach Arlington.”
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Clarendon Farmers Market Starts Tonight — The Clarendon Farmers Market is back for the season, starting tonight. The market will run from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m., in the newly renovated Clarendon Central Park, next to the Metro entrance. The market will run every Wednesday through Dec. 18 before taking a break for the winter. Another seasonal farmers market, the Crystal City Freshfarm Market, is set to start the season on Tuesday, April 30. [Clarendon Alliance, Freshfarm Markets]
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Tejada Talks Immigration Reform — County Board Chair Walter Tejada spoke to a group of pro-immigration supporters at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Clarendon Tuesday morning. Tejada told the crowth that “it is our duty” to “work and fight together for comprehensive immigration reform.” The group is planning a rally at the Capitol next week. [WJLA]
Fire Weather Watch — The region is under a Fire Weather Watch. Gusty winds and low humidity are creating ideal conditions for brush fires. [Capital Weather Gang]
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Santa Coming to Clarendon Saturday — Santa Claus will be coming to Clarendon on Saturday evening. The Jolly Old Elf will arrive at Market Common Clarendon (2700 Clarendon Blvd) on a “big red sleigh,” otherwise known as an Arlington County fire truck, at 4:00 p.m. He will be on hand for photos until 7:00 p.m. There will also be strolling carolers and other family-friendly entertainment. It’s the shopping center’s 12th annual “Winter Wonderland” event. [Market Common Clarendon]
Last Westover Farmers Market of 2012 — The new Westover Farmers Market will hold its last market of the year from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. The market, located at the corner of Washington Blvd and N. McKinley Road, will go on a holiday hiatus before returning on Jan. 13, 2013. The market’s winter hours run through April. [Westover Farmers Market]
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Flickr pool photo by Philliefan99
The market, which is now managed by FRESHFARM Markets and sponsored by the new Ballston Business Improvement District, will be held Thursdays from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. in Welburn Square, through October 25. The square is located between N. Stuart and Taylor Streets, across from the Ballston Metro station.
Today’s grand opening will feature live music from local rockabilly group Jumpin’ Jupiter.
Per the Ballston BID, the merchants planning to offer their products at the market include:
- Evergrain Bread Company (Chestertown, MD)
- Garden Path Farm (Newburg, PA)
- Wild Rose Soap Company (Gaithersburg, MD)
- Pleitez Produce (Montross, VA)
- Capitol Kettle Corn (Ft. Meade, MD)
- Westmoreland Berry Farm (Oak Grove, VA)
- The Farms at Ellis Bay (Nanticoke, MD)
- Keswick Creamery at Carrock Farm (Newburg, PA)
- Gunpowder Bison & Trading Co. (Monkton, MD)
- Fresh Crunch Pickles (Arlington, VA)
- Radix Farm (Upper Marlboro, MD)
- Shells Yes! Crab Cake Company (Chester, MD)
- Mickley’s Orchard (Biglerville, PA)
File photo. Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
The opening of the revamped Ballston Farmers Market is not taking place today, as originally scheduled.
The farmers market will now hold its grand opening on Thursday, June 28, according to Ballston Business Improvement District spokesman Will Marlow. Local rockabilly band Jumpin’ Jupiter will provide live music for the grand opening.
Starting this year, the farmers market is being managed by FRESHFARM Markets, which also runs the Crystal City Farmers Market and numerous other markets in D.C. and Maryland. The market will from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Thursdays through October 25, at Welburn Square (between N. Taylor and Stuart Streets).
Marlow said the market may hold a “soft opening” on Thursday, June 21, but cautioned that it’s not 100 percent certain that the soft opening will actually take place.
Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser