The latest “Art on the ART bus” installations features public icons with ties to Arlington.
A partnership between Arlington Arts and Arlington Transit, the program enlivens commutes with artwork highlighting three different Arlington-based artists at a time. This December, Art on the ART Bus celebrates its 10-year anniversary.
“It’s my job to make sure there’s art on a bus called ART,” Arlington Arts Curator Cynthia Connolly said. “It’s so fun.”
The newest installation, which went up earlier this month, includes depictions of famous Arlingtonians, including:
- Actress and dancer Shirley MacLaine
- Singer-songwriter Roberta Flack
- Actress Sandra Bullock
- Actor Warren Beatty
- Journalist Katie Couric
- Singer-songwriter and local punk rock icon Ian MacKaye
All six were born or raised here, put down roots in the area, or otherwise became famous while living in Arlington.
MacLaine and her younger brother Beatty grew up in the Dominion Hills neighborhood of Arlington. During her upbringing in Arlington, Flack accompanied her church’s choir on the piano. Bullock, who graduated from what is now Washington-Liberty High School, and Couric, who attended Yorktown High School, were cheerleaders. Beatty played football for W-L.
Connolly and her team drafted a list of famous Arlingtonians and picked those who enjoy the most name recognition.
“There is so much hidden history in Arlington,” she said. “I hope people research this more.”
So does the artist behind the installation, dubbed “Pop Arlington:” Ryan Carroll Nelson, who has a studio in Arlington.
Commuters may notice a punk edge to the art. Both Connolly and Nelson were active in D.C.’s punk scene in the 1980s and 1990s, and their connection to Ian MacKaye is personal.
“People are fanatic about the record label, but everyone thinks it’s in D.C.,” Connolly said. “It’s my duty to remind people it’s in Arlington.”
Punk rockers moved to Arlington for the detached houses they could practice in without disturbing the neighbors, Connolly said. Rent was cheaper and they did not have to worry about their instruments being stolen.
She worked at the Dischord House, which became the subject of her book about the scene. During those years that she got to know Nelson, who earned a reputation for his illustrations by drawing concert flyers, T-shirts and album covers for Dischord.
“His comic-style approach and hand-drawn text is immediately recognizable, and his flyers are coveted collectables among music aficionados,” notes a press release about the project.
“I’ve known Ryan for a long time,” Connolly said. “It seemed the right fit.”
For this series, Nelson underpainted the panels in black and layered white and color on top — a style reminiscent of the underground comic scene of the 80s and 90s, which often featured comics printed in two rather than four colors.
Connolly also called on the DIY attitude of indie punk rockers and comic creators for the ART bus project, which had a tight budget and had to make due with a number of limitations.
“How do you make it happen? You do original artwork and throw it to the wind,” she said. “That’s all based on my experience in punk rock.”
Tour the secluded and quiet Bellevue Forest with its local parks, trails, forested areas and more in Neighborhood Spotlight.
In loving memory of William Dinwiddie Tucker, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 95.
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St. Charles offers a play-based curriculum in a welcoming, Christ-centered environment.
Our program focuses on socio-emotional development and kindergarten readiness through hands-on and engaging activities. Our programs offer different schedules ranging from 7:30 am-5:30 pm for students, ages 2-5. We feature a full-day Jr. kindergarten class for older 4’s/5’s. Our facility includes a full-sized gymnasium, school chapel, and library. All of our students enjoy music and physical education weekly. Children have an opportunity to participate in enrichment classes such as soccer, basketball, ballet, and science.
We offer Summer Camp with weekly themes and twice a week water play, including Fun Friday moon bounce. Please join us for our Open House Feb. 3 at 9:30 am and 11:00 am. Click here to sign-up.
For more information or to schedule a tour, visit us at www.stcharlesarlington.org or call (703) 527-0608.
If you are a lifelong learner over 50+ who wants to make new friends, power up your brain, and enjoy a wide-variety college-level courses, Encore Learning is for you. An Arlington based nonprofit, Encore Learning offers courses in the arts, theater, literature, history, technology and more. This semester we offer our most popular course, Global Hot Spots as well as 25 new courses. Courses are presented either online or in-person at George Mason University at Virginia Square and other Arlington locations.
Join the free presentation to learn about courses and meet the instructors. This is Encore Learning’s signature event to highlight the upcoming semester with brief presentations by each instructor.
The Spring Course Preview event is Thursday, February 2nd at 9:30 AM via Zoom:
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