Arts Focus: Introducing Langston Boulevard — A ‘Zine About Arlington’s Northern Main Street

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

For many decades, zines (short for magazine or fanzine) have been an accessible and powerful medium to narrate and circulate stories and information through images and text.

Arlington Arts and the Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development are pleased to announce the release of the Langston Boulevard Zine, which will bring the history, stories and character of Langston Boulevard to life through illustrations by artist Liz Nugent. Created as part of Plan Langston Boulevard, the zine also celebrates the corridor’s new name after John M. Langston.

The Langston Boulevard Zine will create a lasting digest of the rich history and character of Langston Boulevard, connecting the community with the past and the present, while generating dialogue about a future vision for the corridor.

In 2019, Arlington County began Plan Langston Boulevard, a multi-year planning process for Langston Boulevard (formerly Lee Highway) to create a comprehensive plan for the corridor that provides guidance on how to direct future growth and investment toward community goals. As part of the planning process, the county and its planning consultant documented cultural and historical assets of the corridor and captured the character of the five neighborhood areas of the study. This work yielded two comprehensive documents, the Historic and Cultural Resources Report and the Neighborhood Inspiration Report. The zine brings to life aspects of these reports through artist Liz Nugent’s engaging illustrations.

In 2020, the Langston Boulevard Alliance started a public process for renaming Lee Highway to realize the years-long grassroots community effort to create a welcoming Main Street by removing the word “Highway” and to begin to reconcile the painful racial history many in the community experienced by changing the name “Lee.” The zine celebrates the new name for the corridor after John Mercer Langston, beloved civil rights activist and the first Black Congressman from Virginia, by illustrating his history and connections to Arlington and the Langston Boulevard community.

Arlington Arts is releasing excerpts from the zine on its social media platforms, and copies will be made available at various community events in the fall. You can request a free mailed copy of the zine by filling out a request form on the Langston Boulevard Zine project page.

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