The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced 59 “Our Town” grant awards totaling more than $4.7 million, and an Arlington project is among the recipients.
Arlington Economic Development-Arlington Public Art has been granted $75,000 to develop a public art project in the planned Nauck Town Square, which is intended to be the anchor for the Nauck Village Center. The County Board must give final approval for the grant as a formality, and that’s expected in September.
“The residents of the Nauck Community are truly thankful to the National Endowment of the Arts for their grant to assist us in planning a Town Square where all can enjoy its benefits and especially learn the history of Arlington County’s oldest African American community dating back to 1844,” said Nauck Civic Association President Dr. Alfred O. Taylor, Jr.
The NEA received 254 applications from across the country for this year’s Our Town grants. Grant amounts ranged from $25,000 to $200,000 with a median grant amount of $50,000.
“It’s very competitive. We’re very excited to be one of 59 chosen from across the country,” said Public Art Administrator Angela Adams.
The Lucky Seven store, which closed after a fire last year, previously occupied the site but was torn down earlier this year. The county had purchased the property at 2406 S. Shirlington Road in 2010 for $1.4 million.
The square eventually will take up the entire block between 24th Road South and South Shirlington Road. The county website says, “It will serve as a gathering place for residents to host a variety of community events and an area to showcase the neighborhood’s rich cultural heritage with its collection of public art.”
Arlington Public Art has commissioned landscape architect and artist Walter Hood to devise the plaza’s final design. Hood will engage Nauck residents and community leaders in the design process to create a plaza that tells the story of the Nauck community and its heritage. Adams credits Hood’s involvement as one of the reasons the NEA considered Arlington for the grant.
“I think that what we’re going to get with Walter’s involvement is a very sophisticated design that continues to make great public spaces here looking contemporary and fresh, but also reflective of the community,” said Adams. “The Nauck community has waited a long time for this.”
Community meetings to discuss the design of the project are expected to start this fall and go into next year. Construction is expected to begin in 2015.
“The County is looking forward to engaging Nauck residents and community leaders in the process of designing the plaza and art elements,” said Helen Duong with the Arlington County Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development.
(Updated at 12:15 p.m.) The work of nearly 100 volunteer knitters and crocheters, a group dubbed the “Guerrilla Stitch Brigade,” is now on display for all the world to see in Rosslyn.
A stretch of Rosslyn from the Metro station to Artisphere (1101 Wilson Blvd) was “yarn bombed” on Sunday, as volunteers affixed their elaborate knits to trees, fences, parking structures and even a piano. Most of the knits — more than 1,000 stitched geometric shapes, which took some 20 weeks to create, affixed to a dozen different objects – are along Wilson Boulevard. The piano, however, is in Artisphere itself.
“The intent of this project is to lead people to Artisphere, Arlington’s visual and performing arts center,” Rosslyn Business Improvement District Executive Director Cecilia Cassidy said in a statement.
The yarn bombing is the the first of three temporary public art projects planned by the Rosslyn BID this spring, the organization said. The other projects include another yarn bomb installation, in an as-yet undisclosed location, and a fiber art installation from artist Rachel Hayes that will adorn Rosslyn’s skywalks on N. Moore Street, Nash Street and Fort Myer Drive.
More Car Window Shooting Arrests — Fairfax County Police arrested two suspects accused of shooting out car windows with BB guns. Both suspects — 19-year-old Alexander Chase and 18-year-old Herbert Reyes-Cartagena — are from Arlington. Chase was arrested last month by the Arlington County Police Department and charged with similar crimes. The suspects are accused of more than 30 window shooting incidents in Fairfax County, and Chase is accused of involvement in 250 cases throughout Northern Virginia. [Washington Post]
Summer Camp Registration Begins — Registration began this morning for the summer camps offered through Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Registration can be done via mail, online or by faxing an application to 703-228-4765. Registration by phone or walk-in will begin on February 27.
Lee Highway Art Celebration — The Cherrydale and Maywood neighborhoods held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday to celebrate new art on a median at the intersection of Lee Highway and N. Monroe Street (photo above). Local mural artist Jarrett Ferrier submitted the winning proposal for the Lee Highway Art Project. His design consists of panels depicting scenes from around the neighborhoods, such as the Cherrydale Fire Department, Cherrydale Branch Library and a railroad line that used to run along Lee Highway.
Agape Bears Closes in Ballston Mall – Agape Bears, a shop in Ballston Common Mall featuring handmade teddy bears, closed over the weekend after more than 15 years in business. Owners Elizabeth and Bill Taylor are well known not just for the store, but also for donating bears to police and fire stations, as well to victims of disasters. The Taylors plan to still sell the specialty bears online. [WTOP]
The Rosslyn Business Improvement District teamed up with students the Art Institute of Washington to set up temporary decorative planters in the temporary CentralSpace park along Wilson Boulevard. The planters feature artistic wrappers showcasing various Rosslyn-centric images.
The beautification project also included orange “orbs” painted on the sidewalk, which form a ”bread crumb trail” from the Rosslyn Metro to Artisphere.
“We are enhancing Rosslyn’s streetscape and creating a sense of place with Artisphere as Arlington’s cultural center,” said Rosslyn BID Executive Director Cecilia Cassidy, in a statement.
“The BID does a great job of beautifying our landscape and public spaces,” said Art Institute of Washington President Todd Cunningham. ”I am pleased our students could play a role in that effort.”
In an effort to combine form and function, Arlington has outfitted four conference rooms at the county government building (2100 Clarendon Blvd) with glass panels etched with unique designs by local artist Linn Meyers.
Before the artwork was proposed, the county was already planning to install an industrial film over the glass panels that line the conference rooms, to minimize the “distracting ‘fishbowl effect’” of people constantly walking by and peering inside during meetings. By combining the money set aside for the film installation and an existing fund for new public art in the building, the county was actually able to complete the project “well under budget.”
The artwork was dubbed “Untitled” by Meyers.
“Demonstrating how the inclusion of public art can be a savvy, attractive and economical civic design solution, Untitled is the second of eight major public art projects being delivered in a 12 month period,” said Jim Byers, Cultural Marketing Manager for Arlington Economic Development. “It is part of a broad initiative by Arlington’s Public Art Program to grow capacity in local artists to undertake public art projects.”
The etched panels were installed in three conference rooms on the ground floor of 2100 Clarendon Boulevard, and one conference room on the 3rd floor, near the County Board room. An official dedication for the artwork is planned for 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 10.
State of the County Address — County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman delivered the annual State of the County address in Crystal City yesterday. “All indications are that we are well-positioned for the future,” Zimmerman told the crowd. “Demand is both strong and growing for transit-accessible, walkable urban communities.”[Sun Gazette]
Rosslyn Public Art Walking Tour — Take a self-guided tour of the eclectic pieces of public art around Rosslyn, thanks to a map provided by Arlington’s Cultural Affairs division. [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Are Library Lost Item Fees Too High? — An Arlington Public Library user wrote an angry letter to the Sun Gazette after her family lost a library DVD and had to pay about twice as much to replace it as it would have cost to buy it new at Target. “I would greatly appreciate an investigation of the county library finances,” Janet Dorn told the paper. The library has responded to the letter on its blog, arguing that its materials supplier charges more than discount stores, partially because each item comes pre-packaged in a library-specific case with call number stickers already attached. [Library Blog]
To that end, a public forum will be held tonight at 6:30 at the the Aurora Hills Community Center at 735 18th Street S.
“An artist has been commissioned to create public art along the corridor,” a flyer advertising tonight’s meeting says. “Join us as we help the artist gain a greater understanding of the Crystal City and Potomac Yard communities so she can develop truly site-specific work that meets the goals of your community.”
Next week another public meeting is scheduled to discuss the transitway itself. That meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, June 27, also at the Aurora Hills Community Center.
The Crystal City/Potomac Yard Transit Improvements project will build dedicated bus lanes along Crystal Drive, S. Clark Street and S. Bell Street, often at the expense of on-street parking.
The transitway will eventually be expanded. There are plans for the route to extend south through Potomac Yard and down Jefferson Davis Highway to the Braddock Road Metro station. It will also be extended to the Pentagon City Metro station. The transitway will “set the stage” for a planned Crystal City/Potomac Yard streetcar, planners say.
Construction is expected to begin next year.
Update on 10/15/10: The road tattoo has been rescheduled for Sunday, Oct. 17, TBD reports.
Weather permitting, New York artist Steed Taylor and a team of volunteers will “tattoo” a street in Crystal City on Sunday.
Taylor has painted his road tattoos on streets and paths in the District, New York City, North Carolina, Arizona, and even China. Now, he’s coming to Crystal City to create a tattoo on 18th Street between Bell Street and Crystal Drive.
The tattooing is expected to begin at 7:00 Sunday morning and last several hours. However, the forecast is currently calling for rain on Sunday, which could delay the tattoo creation until next week.