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Pop Art on ART Buses

By: Arlington Arts

October 26, 2020

We love our icons, don’t we? They may be silver screen legends, or boundary-breaking journalists. Maybe their voice is the soundtrack of our lives? But it may surprise you how many of them are from Arlington. As our region enters Phase Two of reopening, commuters will see the latest Art on the ART Bus installation, POP ARLINGTON by Ryan Carroll Nelson, featuring six original illustrations which relate the story of famous people who called Arlington home. The placards were installed during the week beginning October 8, 2020.

The Washington DC metropolitan area has long been an international crossroads. Still, it is surprising how many notables had significant ties to Arlington. For this installation, we decided to narrow it down to people who were either born or raised here, or put down roots and made their mark in their field while living in Arlington: actress/dancer Shirley MacLaine, singer/songwriter Roberta Flack, actress Sandra Bullock, actor Warren Beatty, journalist Katie Couric and singer/songwriter Ian Mackaye. Each subject’s story is conveyed in two adjacent panels that illustrate their journey and their relationship to Arlington.

Bringing these pop culture icons to life is artist Ryan Carroll Nelson. Working primarily with brush and ink, Nelson garnered a reputation in the DC area’s legendary punk rock scene during the early 1990s, illustrating numerous concert flyers, t-shirts, and album covers. His comic-style approach and hand-drawn text is immediately recognizable, and his flyers are coveted collectables among music aficionados.

About Ryan Carroll Nelson

Ryan Carroll Nelson garnered a reputation in the Washington DC area punk scene during the early ’90s for illustrating numerous event posters, advertisements, website graphics, album covers, t-shirt designs, company logos, comics, magazines, and textbooks. Most notable clients include The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Dischord Records & Teen Beat Records (both from Arlington, Virginia), Positive Force DC, Nickelodeon’s Noggin website, and Taffety Punk Theatre Company. He also was well known for creating the T Shirt designs from 1999-2018 for the popular summer music series in Washington, DC at Fort Reno Park.  In addition, he is known as the drummer (and artist for) these DC area bands: Most Secret Method, Beauty Pill and Soccer Team, amongst others.  His comic-style approach and hand-drawn text is immediately recognizable

About Art on the ART bus:

The Art on the Art Bus program is an example of how Arlington Arts is building community through artistic outreach in Arlington. The mobile gallery shows original art on an Arlington Transit –or ART–public bus, cultivating a vibrant arts experience for transit riders in the area. The Art on the ART Bus program is supported in part by Arlington Transit.

About Arlington Arts:

Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development, delivers public activities and programs as Arlington Arts. Our mission is to create, support, and promote the arts, connecting artists and community to reflect the diversity of Arlington. We do this by: providing material support to artists and arts organizations in the form of grants, facilities and theater technology; integrating award-winning public art into our built environment; and presenting high quality performing, literary, visual and new media programs across the County.

About ART – Arlington Transit 

Arlington Transit is a local bus system provided by Arlington County, Virginia. ART supplements Metrobus with cross-County routes as well as neighborhood connections to Metrorail. Fully ADA accessible, ART is environmentally friendly, operating on clean-burning compressed natural gas (CNG).


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