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Arts Focus: Vintage Arlington Signs Point the Way to New Interactive Art Installation

This column is written and sponsored by Arlington Arts / Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

The aroma of popcorn wafting from Sears…

Mom buying you your first pair of heels at Kann’s…

Hanging-out at the Hot Shoppes restaurant…

The Arlington Art Truck’s newest interactive art installation explores how, beyond fostering commerce, businesses become part of our daily lives.

ARLINGTON ABSTRACTED debuts on Saturday, September 8 at the Rosslyn Jazz Festival in Gateway Park (free admission), followed by numerous activations around Arlington through October. Learn about the County’s social and retail history via this quick, fun project by artist Marc Pekala.

Eight typographically interesting signs were simplified, mounted onto small magnetic sheets and broken into multiple 2″x 2″ squares. Then, visitors let loose and rearrange them into original abstract!

Hash tag your creation when sharing via social media along with #ArtTruckArlington #ArlingtonAbstracted, and have your design considered to become the new ground mural in the pop-up park at 2100 Clarendon Blvd. next spring!

The backstories of some of Arlington’s businesses may surprise you:

  • Weenie Beenie — 2680 Shirlington Road, Nauck, 1960-Present

Arlington’s iconic hot dog stand was originally part of a small chain formed in 1960 by world renowned pool hustler William “Weenie Beenie” Staton, using a $27,000 gambling win as seed money.

He performed trick shots in several movies, including the 1986 Martin Scorsese film The Color of Money. The only remaining location, Arlington’s Weenie Beenie is the title of a song by the Foo Fighters, fronted by Northern Virginia native Dave Grohl.

  • Moore’s Barber Shop — 4807 Lee Highway, Hall’s Hill/High View Park, 1960-Present

Established by Mr. James Moore, Sr. in 1960, adjacent to Arlington’s historically African-American Hall’s Hill/High View Park neighborhood. With limited access to public venues during segregation, Moore’s Barber Shop, fire station and churches were gathering places for Hall’s Hill/High View Park residents.

Continuing to offer not only grooming but important community space, Moore’s is now operated by James Moore, Jr., but the elder Mr. Moore still drops by (look for his 1955 Chevrolet outside).

Mr. Moore, Jr. remembers going to the fire station to watch movies as a child. Today, he is a firefighter working for that same fire station.

Arlington Art Truck activities also integrate a ride-along service to provide information on other County resources. In this case, the Inspection Services Division (ISD) will provide information about residential building permits and newly implemented tools to ease the process.

Visit our website to find out more about the project and the businesses that inspired the artwork!

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