Arlington, VA

Ballston Quarter is getting several new businesses, a new art installation, and a weekly bingo night.

The “Beer and Bingo” nights are taking place at the Quarter Market food hall on Wednesdays through the end of May. Registration is free on the shopping center’s website. Individuals or small groups will be sat at tables spaced apart, for safety’s sake.

“Guests can expect a safe and socially distanced night full of fun and amazing prizes for those lucky bingo winners,” says a press release. “The free ticket will guarantee 6-8 rounds of bingo with a prize available for each round.”

Meanwhile, the “Prismatica Kaleidoscope Experience,” fresh from a stint in Richmond, is being installed in the outdoor mews near CVS. It will open May 1 and run until the end of that month.

The art installation is “composed of 25 pivoting prisms standing at more than 6 ft tall, that will make for a colorful photo op,” according to a press release. The “towering rainbow prisms” immerse visitors in “an infinite interplay of lights and reflections,” says the Ballston Quarter website.

In addition to the art, three new businesses are set to open.

Heart + Paw, a full service veterinary center, groomer and doggy daycare, is also opening in the shopping center in May. This is the company’s first location in the area, with most existing locations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Large windows will face out as to “allow pet parents to watch their fur babies being groomed,” the press release says.

Also opening is REWILD, the popular and trendy D.C.-based flower and plant shop. That’s expected to open between July 1 and August 1, the shop tells ARLnow.

“We also hear a lot of our clients who visit us at our D.C. locations say they’ve traveled to see REWILD in person, and many of those clients are coming from Virgina,” owner Lily Cox wrote in an email to ARLnow. “We pride ourselves on our selection of unique houseplants, and find that there’s a space to fill in Virginia for a shop like ours. We have already received so much positive feedback from some of those Virginia-based residents, that we’re anticipating a very engaged community in Ballston.”

Beyond selling house plants, REWILD also does consultations and workshops.

Finally, after being first announced in August 2018, Art Whino appears to be planning to finally open soon.

The D.C.-based art gallery, which once had a presence at Tysons, is opening up a new 6,000 square foot venue that will bring “art, food, cocktails and events under one roof.”

There will be a seating area for more than 150 guests, three bars with “full immersion mural installations,” and an art retail space. The venue is being described as a “multidimensional experience.”

The opening date is listed as “late spring 2021.”

Two other Ballston Quarter businesses have reopened or appear poised to reopen soon.

Cooking school Cookology “has finally reopened its doors to welcome those who want to learn everything about cooking in-person,” according to the press release.

“They will be hosting teen nights every Friday night and CRAVE @Cookology which will be a series of culinary experiences allowing visitors to drop in and participate in fun activities like making their own sushi & sake or competing in cake decorating competitions,” the press release notes. “CRAVE will begin April 3 and will be open Wednesday-Friday from 5-9 p.m. and Saturday 1-9 p.m.”

As ARLnow reported last week, three-story food, drink and entertainment complex Punch Bowl Social is also expected to reopen in the coming weeks or months. The company recently started hiring ahead of an expected reopening, after remaining closed during much of the pandemic and going through bankruptcy.

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Morning Notes

Statements of Support for AAPI Community — “Arlington Public Schools condemns racism and all expressions of hate, bias and discrimination. The horrific shootings in Atlanta earlier this week are a tragic reminder of the increase in violent attacks, hate speech and discrimination targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We grieve with the families of the victims of the shootings in Atlanta on March 16 and share the sorrow of all who stand against hate and discrimination.” [Arlington Public Schools, Press Release]

Opposition to Zoning Proposal — “The proposal has nevertheless attracted some pushback from Arlingtonians for Our Sustainable Future, a community group that has begun organizing opposition to the county’s housing efforts on the grounds that Arlington hasn’t properly prepared for additional growth… Other affected neighborhoods, including Green Valley in South Arlington, also offered opposition.” [Washington Business Journal]

Citizen Group Wants Tree Update — “‘Don’t call us, but we promise we’ll call you’ appears to sum up the Arlington County government’s reaction to an Arlington County Civic Federation call for an expeditious effort to update an analysis of the county’s tree canopy… The Arlington government last conducted a tree inventory in 2016, reporting the findings in 2017. The roughly 750,000 trees in the county’s 26 square miles cover about 41 percent of the county’s ground area.” [Sun Gazette]

Chainsaw Art Coming to Lyon Park — “This summer, Mallon is scheduled to do chainsaw sculptures on three stumps trees near the community center in Arlington’s Lyon Park, a community-owned park in the county. Mallon, who grew up in Arlington, said he usually brings about five chainsaws to a project, depending on the level of detail of the work.” [Patch]

GOP Gov. Candidate in Arlington — Glenn Youngkin, a Republican candidate for governor, made a campaign appearance at the Crystal City Sports Pub over the weekend. The event was criticized by Democrats for its crowd of maskless supporters. [Twitter, Twitter]

Airport Passenger Volume Going Up — “TSA screened 1,543,115 people yesterday, Sunday, March 21. The last time checkpoint throughput topped 1.5 million was March 15, 2020.” [Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Police Searching for Missing Girl — “ACPD is seeking the public’s assistance locating 15 year old Javon… Described as a B/F, 5’7″, 195 lbs with long black and dark blue braids. She was wearing a tie-dye sweatshirt with ‘Myrtle Beach’ on the front, black joggers, crocs, and a white mask.” [Twitter]

MU Returning to ‘Fully In-Person’ in Fall — “Following multiple semesters of modified instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Marymount University is pleased to announce its plans to reinstate a fully in-person academic delivery model starting in August for the upcoming fall semester, along with a return to a more ‘normal’ college experience for students in regards to resident life, athletics, campus activities and more.” [Press Release]

New Pike Restaurant Features Colorful Murals — “In late October, he did just that with the debut of Supreme Hot Pot in Arlington’s Columbia Heights neighborhood. He enlisted a group of friends to decorate the walls with murals of soup, dragons, fish and a zaftig lucky cat. Even from the street, the art attracts diners with its red and gold tones.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Middle School Sports Could Be Cut — “First, high-school sports in Arlington were shut down for months because of the pandemic, and now there is a chance middle-school athletics in the county could be eliminated because of budget cuts. A proposal included in Superintendent Francisco Durán’s 2021-22 school budget calls for the elimination of teacher stipends for extracurricular activities and athletics at the middle-school level.” [Sun Gazette]

Project Takes Local Couple Across U.S. — “Two Arlington County residents set out on a year long journey to see all 50 states and document it through art, photography via the 50 states project. That was before the pandemic temporarily stopped their plans in March 2020… what began as a project to see all 50 states turned into a study of before and after the impacts of 2020.” [WJLA]

Another Local Endorsement for McAuliffe — “Arlington County Board Chairman Matt de Ferranti has become one of the latest county elected officials endorsing Terry McAuliffe’s bid for governor. McAuliffe ‘has laid out clear plans to create a better future for all Virginians,’ de Ferranti said in a statement.” [Sun Gazette]

Responses to Violence in Atlanta — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam released a statement yesterday, saying: “We are grieving with the Asian American community and all of the victims of the horrific shootings in Atlanta last night that took eight lives, six of whom were women of Asian descent. This is the latest in a series of heinous attacks against Asian Americans across this nation, but sadly these are not isolated events.” Arlington police, meanwhile, said there are “no known threats” in the county associated with the shooting. [Commonwealth of Virginia, Twitter]

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Shrooms at 101 12th Street South (Photo courtesy of National Landing BID)

A new mushroom-inspired art installation has sprouted up in Crystal City.

Ten large, brightly-colored, inflatable mushrooms are on display at 101 12th Street S., near Long Bridge Park, through Saturday, March 13.

The art went on display this past Friday, in a grassy area that is slated to be redeveloped into a new office building. It is sponsored by the National Landing Business Improvement District.

Dubbed “The Shrooms,” the installation is the work of Australian light and design studio Amigo & Amigo. With its contrasting fabrics, the work encourages “our social nature while contrasting with urban environments,” the BID said in a press release.

It was originally created for an art festival in Sydney last year and will be lit up both day and night.

The Shrooms is part of the BID’s winter-long “Turn Up the Love” campaign, which has featured several outdoor pop-up art installations over the last few months.

“In National Landing, we are constantly looking for creative ways to activate our public spaces and create fun, uplifting experiences for those who live in and visit our community,” Tracy Sayegh Gabriel, National Landing BID’s President and Executive Director, told ARLnow. “In many cultures, mushrooms are considered a symbol of luck, so ‘The Shrooms’ felt like a fitting installation as our neighborhood continues its exciting transformation and we work towards a bright future.

Previous “Turn Up the Love” installations include a large boombox adorned with thousands of colorful ornaments for the holidays and three sharable photo frames.

Also part of this campaign and currently on display is a life-size cutout of a pink Volkswagen Beetle outside of Commonwealth Joe’s at 520 12th Street S., about a half-mile walk from the Shrooms. That was installed on Valentine’s Day and will be there until Friday, March 12.

Photo courtesy of National Landing BID

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Local graphic designer and artist Hermes Marticio was only searching for a cup of coffee, but found an art studio instead.

It wasn’t Marticio’s first time walking into East West Coffee Wine in Clarendon (3101 Wilson Blvd) when he strolled inside in mid-November. Every time he noticed the art on the walls.

“It’s not curated. It’s just like they put it up there,” says Marticio.

So, he approached the owner, Mehmet Coskun, and asked if he could use a corner of the shop to create a pop-up art studio for his works. Coskun readily agreed and the two made a deal.

“I’ve always wanted my own studio,” says Marticio.

Marticio grew up in the Philippines, immigrated to California, and moved to Arlington about a decade ago for a job and to be closer to his mother. He is a father of one: a 19-year-old daughter.

Marticio says that this area provides good opportunities and schooling, which was also a big reason why his mom came to the United States.

“My mom grew up on a farm in the Philippines,” he says. “Something clicked in her head that wasn’t how [her] family was supposed to live.”

He says it was her “third eye” that guided her, a concept of having an invisible, perceptive eye — often in the middle of the forehead — that’s knowledgeable beyond normal sight.

His mother’s third eye is also inspiration for his art. Marticio designs illustrative portraits of pop icons, from Jay-Z to Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Muhammad Ali , many of which are depicted with a third eye.

“I feel like those icons have seen something that a regular person hasn’t seen,” says Marticio. “That’s why they became so successful.”

Like many folks, Marticio has had his job prospects fluctuate during the pandemic. When he lost his job earlier this year, he focused his energy and attention on creating art. He did get another full-time graphic designer job in July, but by then, he had created a whole lot.

“All of my time, I really poured into [my art]. You know, what else am I going to do?,” he says. “It was also for my piece of mind.”

Marticio has also embedded his art with augmented reality. Each work has a QR code, which if scanned with a phone using Artivie mobile app, reveals animation and other features.

“A lot of artwork can be static,” says Marticio. “But this adds elements to it.”

This augmented reality component is another variation on the “third eye,” adding a perspective not seen by the naked eye.

Coskun says he’s thrilled to have Marticio’s art in his Clarendon coffee shop.

“I like to support local businesses just because I’m a local business myself,” he says. It’s a win-win, a local artist gets to have an art gallery and a local business doesn’t have to spend money on generic decor.

“I’d rather have [Marticio’s] paintings and help him make some money, then [for me] go to IKEA to buy some paintings,” says Coskun. In fact, he’s got a few more inquiries from other local artists as well about putting their work on his shop’s walls.

“If there’s a space available, then why not?,” Coskun says, “It makes the walls look ten times better.”

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With performances canceled and potential gatherings impacted by COVID-19, a local nonprofit says that catastrophe looms for arts organizations without assistance from Arlington County.

Embracing Arlington Arts released its “State of the Arts in Arlington” survey earlier this month, and the results revealed a decimated local industry that has lost more than $10 million this year.

“We all can agree that the arts have been and will continue to be a critical component of our healing, our sanity, our quality of life and our overall well-being as together we fight this virus and protect our citizens,” Embracing Arlington Arts President Janet Kopenhaver wrote.

Embracing Arlington Arts is asking the Arlington County Board to consider helping local arts organizations with financial support, assistance locating safe performance venues, and facilitating introductions with potential corporate donors.

The survey of Arlington’s arts organizations found:

  • Arts organizations laid off 15% of full-time staff and 55% of part-time staff as of Nov. 1
  • More than half lost 41%-60% of their income
  • 43% reported that they would have to close their doors in the next 16 months without “additional financial resources”
  • Only 10% believe the earliest they will be able to offer live performances is within the next four months

Despite the challenges, Kopenhaver said that artists and arts organizations keep giving back to the community with virtual performances, donations for the Arlington Food Assistance Center, arts classes, and arts kits to the Bridges for Independence’s family shelter.

“From our younger generations to our seniors to residents with disabilities to those struggling with depression or mental illness, the arts can help us survive this pandemic and be stronger when we can all come together again,” Kopenhaver said.

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Morning Notes

Day Laborer Site Now Closed — “Although not unexpected, mid-November nonetheless brought something of an end of an era to the Shirlington Employment and Education Center, better known as SEEC. The pavilion area in Shirlington that the organization had used since 2003 to connect day-laborers with contractors and homeowners who sought their services has been fenced off in preparation for changes to Jennie Dean Park, where it is located.” [InsideNova]

Tonight: Outdoor Art in Crystal City — “Walk along Crystal Drive on December 2nd from 6-9PM to see the words of Luisa A. Igloria, Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia projected onto the facade of 2011 Crystal Drive as the opening installation of Arlington Art’s Visual Verse. Their work will be brought to life by noted artist Robin Bell.” [National Landing BID]

Beyer Blasts Proposed Metro Cuts — From Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.): “The proposed WMATA budget cuts would be apocalyptic for Metro service and devastate its workforce. This catastrophe must not be allowed to happen, and Congress can prevent it by passing a new aid package. WMATA is not alone in its massive funding shortfall, which is a direct result of the pandemic. Cuts like this will hit across the country without robust aid for state and local governments and specific targeted funding for transit.” [Press Release]

ABC Store Coming to Pentagon Row — “It’s official: you will be able to buy booze in the former local Bloomberg campaign office in Pentagon City.” [Twitter]

Rosslyn Tree Lighting — “Thanks @ABC7Kidd for starting the countdown at tonight’s neighborhood tree lighting!” [Twitter]

Library Director’s Xmas Playlist — “For the past 13 years, I have published a ‘Too Cool for Yule’ playlist, as my love letter to the County and the people we serve. And while (sadly) Spotify has replaced the cassette tape, making the process easier, like much of 2020, this playlist was more difficult than ever to create.” [Arlington Public Library]

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Morning Notes

Major Metro Cuts Proposed — “With sharply reduced ridership and lacking fresh federal relief, Metro is proposing a new operating budget with a nearly $500 million deficit. Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said Monday the proposed 2021 budget includes closing Metro rail at 9 p.m., ending weekend service, closing 19 stations and reducing the number of trains, which would result in longer wait times.” Among the stations that would close under the proposal are the Arlington Cemetery, Clarendon, East Falls Church and Virginia Square stations. [WTOP, Washington Post]

County Working on New Payment System — “Arlington officials continue to work on developing a one-stop online presence so the public can pay for a wide array of local-government services from their computers or smartphones. The initiative, being worked on by the treasurer’s office and Department of Technology Services, would go beyond the current CAPP [Customer Assessment and Payment Portal], which allows local residents to pay certain taxes, utility bills and parking tickets online.” [InsideNova]

Renovations for Mostly Vacant Building — “Wheelock Street Capital is seeking to renovate a long-vacant Arlington office building with the hope of attracting companies to the same corridor as Virginia Tech’s planned innovation campus and Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters… All of 3550 S. Clark St.’s office space thus far remains vacant. Small portions of the building’s retail space are leased to LA Fitness and child care center operator Bright Horizons.” [Washington Business Journal]

New Charitable Giving Portal — “New Looking for a way to add more charitable giving to the season of giving while supporting your neighbors in need? Arlington Community Foundation is launching its first ever Nonprofit Wish Catalog featuring grant ideas of 24 local nonprofits with wishes of up to $5,000 each this Giving Tuesday.” [Arlington Community Foundation]

Art Event Still On This Weekend — “The Arlington Artists Alliance presents its 18th annual Artful Weekend at Fort C.F. Smith Park. The show, featuring 30 top local Arlington-based artists and held in historic Hendry House at Fort C.F. Smith Park in Arlington, will be held December 4 to 6 this year. The show will feature paintings, ceramics, sculpture and cards, in addition to bins of unframed works.” [Event Calendar]

New Top Doc at VHC — “David Lee, MD, a member of the medical staff of Virginia Hospital Center for 30 years, has been tapped as the hospital’s senior vice president and chief medical officer.” [InsideNova]

It’s December — Today is Dec. 1. After today, there are only 30 days left in 2020.

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

Even a pandemic cannot keep a good Yeti down.

In partnership with Arlington Arts, GRUMP has been Arlington’s holiday go-to over the past ten years for unique, unusual holiday gifts and handmade treasures. This year is no different with GRUMP at HOME bringing the experience directly to you.

The Yetis now deliver to your door! Shop from GRUMP’s curated online store of over 25 vendors and nearly 200 items. Do your holiday shopping and get the local arts and crafts show experience from the comfort and safety of home!

While you may not be able to hug GRUMP’s Yetis in real life, GRUMP, in addition to the over 50 unique makers, is planning fun, interactive activities like Yeti Tarot Readings, maker Instagram takeovers and Yeti Show and Tell.

Here is an overview of GRUMP socially-distanced, Zoom and Facebook-based activities for you to partake of over the next few days:

Social Media Maker Takeovers
November 27 to December 2 | via Facebook and Instagram

Between November 27 and December 2 makers will be taking over GRUMP’s Instagram and Facebook pages. Check out @ilovegrump on Instagram and facebook.com/ilovegrump to get an inside look into how 10 local makers devise their creations. Featuring makers like Potomac Chocolate, Auggie Froggy, Noctiluna, Moonlight Bindery and more!

Yeti Show N’ Tell
Sunday, November 29 | 1 p.m. | via Zoom

Meet the GRUMP Yeti online for this handmade Show N’ Tell. Bring your most prized handmade item to show our GRUMP Yeti. Bring the thing you are most proud of making yourself. Show Betty the Yeti, some GRUMP makers and GRUMP shoppers how much you love handmade in this fun meet and greet! Make sure you take a screen shot to show your friends that you got to Zoom with a Yeti.

Making Polymer Clay Earrings with Caddington Clay
Monday, November 30 | 7-8 p.m. | via Zoom

Learn how to make Polymer Clay Earrings with items you already have around your house. Join Megan DeMillo, owner of Caddington Clay, as she teaches the basics of polymer clay jewelry making and how to get started with just a few simple supplies.

New among the GRUMP makers is a group of Made in Arlington members whose normal holiday pop-ups have been canceled due to the pandemic. GRUMP is happy to support this group and share some of Arlington’s wonderful makers with you.

GRUMP at HOME takes place from November 27 through December 1, 2020. Check out www.grumpathome.com to see the full programming schedule and to meet the makers.

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

Amid the many challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic poses for the arts and culture community, artists are taking the opportunity to strengthen capacity.

Arlington Arts continues its latest series of skill-building sessions: the Arts Enterprise Institute Fall Classes through our Arts Enterprise Institute, from October 27 through November 17 (all classes are virtual). Take all remaining classes for just $30.

Arts Enterprise Institute program exists to provide resources for artists and deepen their skill set to withstand the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Workshops, training, seminars and events integrate strong business skills, knowledge, life-long learning, and artistic development with peer-to-peer learning and engagement with the community. A cornerstone of these programs is artists teaching artists.

Mary Briggs is the instructor for: Crisis Management for Artists and Arts Organizations During COVID-19, Where to Find Funding for Individual Artists During COVID-19, and Where to Find Funding for Arts Organizations During COVID-19.

The co-founder and director of the You Are Here community arts non-profit in Jeanette, Pennsylvania and an adjunct lecturer at Goucher College, Towson, MD in the Masters in Cultural Sustainability program, Mary Briggs is also deeply knowledgeable about our community. From 1989 until 2011, Ms. Briggs served in a variety of positions on the staff of Arlington Cultural Affairs Division, ranging from Grants Manager to working with an array of Multi-Cultural organizations. She has been a presenter at numerous national and regional conferences and meetings including Americans for the Arts, Grantmakers in the Arts and American Folklore Society. Ms. Briggs also was an Arlington resident for several decades.

Caroline Weinroth is the instructor for: Tips Tricks and Hacks for Creating Better Virtual Experiences, and Social Media Strategies 1 and 2.

Caroline Weinroth is a musician, writer and artist. At George Mason University, she earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, with a concentration in Poetry, and a Bachelor of Arts in Theater & Audio Engineering. She is the lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for the rock band Cinema Hearts. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has performed livestream concerts for Center for the Arts GMU, Central Rappahannock Regional Library, Alexandria Office of the Arts and others.

Take ALL remaining classes for just $30! See below for details on each class and information on how to register!

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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.

The heart of the scene was MacKaye’s internationally-known indie record label, headquartered in an Arlington bungalow dubbed the Dischord House.

“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.

He also illustrated for Teen Beat Records, also based in Arlington, and founded by schoolmates at Wakefield High School.

“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.”

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