The Arlington Artists Alliance has a new place to call home: a formerly vacant storefront in the Crystal City Shops @ 2100.
The airy gallery space, which the Alliance has dubbed the Northern Virginia Art Center, features “works from area artists covering a broad array of materials and mediums, including oil, acrylic, watercolor, collage, pottery, glass and sculpture.”
The center will rotate exhibits on a monthly basis, and each exhibit will have its own unique theme. September’s theme will be “A Celebration of Color.” The current theme is “Individual Perspective.” The exhibits are juried, meaning each work must be selected by a judge or judges in order to be displayed. Many of the works displayed are also available for sale.
The gallery is “semi-permanent” — it’s donated to the Alliance by landlord Vornado/Charles E. Smith, with the hope that “activating” the otherwise vacant space will benefit other merchants in the underground shopping center. The Alliance is expected to remain in the space until Vornado finds a tenant interested in leasing it.
The gallery is open to the public Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and also by appointment. A grand opening reception is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 14.
Arlington Arts Alliance co-director Sandi Parker said that one thing that will make the Northern Virginia Arts Center unique is its focus on purely local artists — mostly from Arlington but also from Falls Church and Alexandria. That contrasts, she said, with other local arts venues like Artisphere in Rosslyn and the Arlington Arts Center in Virginia Square, both of which often display works from out of town artists.
The Alliance, which first formed in 2000, has previously set up shop in vacant and partially-occupied storefronts along Lee Highway, in North Arlington. In each case, eventually they had to move. This time around, the group looked south.
“We reached out to the Crystal City [Business Improvement District] when we were in search of a new home, and they helped us design a fantastic plan,” said Arlington Artists Alliance President Bryan Jernigan. “We look forward to working with our new neighbors to bring a welcoming and unique artistic experience to the area.”
The Alliance says they will continue to maintain a small exhibit at Cassatt’s restaurant at 4536 Lee Highway.
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