Press Club

Morning Notes

Bon Air Park azaleas (Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley)

More Bad Driving on I-395 — From Dave Statter: “WATCH THIS! I thought I saw a crash in the distance. Nope. An I-395S driver stopped in the left lane for 30 secs to cross 4 lanes to get to the right hand Boundary Channel exit!” [Twitter]

Drug Take-Back Day Tomorrow — “If you have expired or unused prescription drugs taking up space in your medicine cabinet, Arlington County residents will have an opportunity to safely get rid of them this weekend. National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Saturday.” [Patch]

Civic Association to Celebrate Anniversary — “The John M. Langston Citizens Association has set a weekend’s worth of activities to celebrate its 85th anniversary, running May 13-15. The association represents residents in the communities of Halls Hill and High View Park, straddling what long was known as Lee Highway but has been renamed Langston Boulevard.” [Sun Gazette]

AHC Honors Volunteers — “Providing services where residents live is AHC’s secret sauce. Volunteers are the key ingredient. This Volunteer Month, AHC is celebrating the nearly 350 individuals and groups who generously contribute their time and talents annually through our education and social services programs.” [AHC Inc.]

Art Truck Marks Five Years — “Not long after I began working for Arlington County, Arlington Arts launched the Arlington Art Truck: a bold new project to take curated and interactive visual art experiences out into the community to where people congregate. Five years in, the program has succeeded beyond our wildest expectations.” [Arlington County]

Rep. Beyer Interviewed — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) “has cast over 2,100 proxy votes for his colleagues in the last 2 years, by *far* the most of any lawmakers. I spoke w/ him about what that’s like, how it could change, and how he’s cast more votes to impeach Trump (6) than anyone else.” [Business Insider, Twitter]

Va. Requires Digital School Floor Plans — “Every second counts for first responders when it comes to saving lives and now a new Virginia law aims to help those heroes navigate better as they respond to emergencies at schools. Public schools will be required to digitally keep an up-to-date and accurate floor plan for each building.” [Fox 5]

It’s Friday — Clear throughout the day. High of 63 and low of 40. Sunrise at 6:14 am and sunset at 8:00 pm. [Weather.gov]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Morning Notes

American flag seen in a yard near East Falls Church (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Revamped Clarendon Restaurant Reopens — “With a new menu that offers Mexican food for all, Buena Vida Gastro Lounge is reopening its newly renovated restaurant in Clarendon this week, serving lunch and dinner and brunch on weekends. Buena Vida, at 2900 Wilson Blvd., also has a new executive chef, Jaime Garciá Pelayo Bribiesca, and a new décor created by CORE architecture+design.” [Patch, Instagram]

Group Wants More from Amazon — “While Arlingtonians for Our Sustainable Future (ASF) welcomes a new Amazon presence at PenPlace, we urge county leaders to strike a fair deal in this site plan review. As structured now, Arlington would trade world record bonus density — more buildable space — for unequal community benefits from Amazon.” [Press Release]

Art Exhibit Opening at GMU in Va. Sq. — “A new exhibition of art commissioned by the British Council to interpret an academic and policy report by a professor at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government will be unveiled April 29 at Mason Square (formerly the Arlington Campus). The event is open to the public and features a keynote address from the ambassador from Tanzania and a panel discussion with representatives from international development, public diplomacy, and art agencies.” [George Mason University]

It’s 4/20 — Clear throughout the day. High of 60 and low of 39. Sunrise at 6:26 am and sunset at 7:51 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Arlington Festival Of The Arts crowd shot from 2016 (Courtesy Howard Alan Events)

If you like the arts, 5Ks or family- and earth-friendly events, Arlington is the place to be this weekend.

Three separate events in the county will make it bit harder to get around by car.

The Arlington Festival of the Arts will take pace on Saturday and Sunday (April 23-24), shutting down several roads in the Clarendon area. The outdoor event offers art for display and sale over several blocks, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

The Arlington County Police Department announced the following road closures for the event.

The following roads will be closed from approximately 3:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 23 through 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 24:

  • N. Highland Street will be closed from Wilson Boulevard to 13th Street N. Local traffic will be allowed to access the public parking garage to 3033 Wilson Blvd.
  • N. Hartford Street will be closed from N. Highland Street to 13th Street N. Local traffic will be able to access the parking garage for 1210 N. Highland Street.
  • The alleyway between N. Herndon Street and N. Hartford Street will be closed at N. Hartford Street

Meanwhile, starting at 6 a.m. Saturday morning, the Bunny Hop 5k Race will close streets in the Ashton Heights and Lyon Park neighborhoods. The race kicks off at 8 a.m. and involves the following road closures, according to ACPD.

The following roadways will be closed in order to accommodate the event:

From approximately 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

  • N. Irving Street, between 7th Street N. and 5th Street N.

From approximately 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

  • N. Irving Street, between 2nd Road N. and 5th Street N.
  • N. Pershing Drive, between N. Piedmont Street and N. Edgewood Street
  • N. Fillmore Street, between 3rd Street N. and Pershing Drive
  • N. Garfield Street, between Pershing Drive and 3rd Street N.
  • 4th Street N., between N. Fillmore Street and N. Garfield Street
  • 2nd Road N., between N. Irving Street and the Columbia Gardens Cemetery

A portion of the course winds through the Columbia Gardens Cemetery.  The Cemetery will be closed to vehicular traffic and have a delayed opening at 10:00 a.m.

Finally, on Sunday, the 2022 Earth Day Every Day Festival will be held off Langston Blvd in front of the Lee Heights Shops. The event will include various family activities, live music, sidewalk sales, food and drink specials, and its own art market.

“Let’s come together as a community to celebrate the beauty and promise of our local environment and the planet,” says the website for the Earth Day event. “Every year, communities worldwide uplift Earth Day to mark the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. It reminds us all to do what we can, in ways small and significant, restore, conserve and protect our environment.”

From ACPD:

The 2022 Earth Day Every Day Festival will take place on Sunday, April 24, 2022 and will be held from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The following roadways will be closed from approximately 8:00 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. in order to accommodate the festival:

  • Cherry Hill Road, between N. Woodstock Street and N. Woodrow Street
  • Northbound N. Woodrow Street, between 20th Road N. and Cherry Hill Road will be restricted to local traffic only

Additional Information

Community members should expect to see an increased police presence in the area around these events, and motorists are urged to follow law enforcement direction, be mindful of closures, and remain alert for increased pedestrian traffic. Additional closures not mentioned above may be implemented at police discretion in the interest of public safety.

Residents of the affected neighborhood areas will be escorted through the road closures to minimize the impacts on the community, only when safe to do so. Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No parking” signs, as street parking in the area around these events will be limited. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222.

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There are few people who know more about how Columbia Pike has changed in recent years than Lloyd Wolf, director of the Columbia Pike Documentary Project.

Since 2007, Wolf and a team of photographers, interviewers and community activists have spoken with hundreds of residents and taken thousands of pictures of South Arlington’s main thoroughfare.

As part of the project, they’ve kept a running blog, published books, and conceived numerous exhibits all aimed at discovering what makes Columbia Pike so special.

Wolf and his team of now-five include Dewey Tron, Xang Mimi Ho, Lara Ajami and Sushmita Mazumdar. They have documented a Bangladeshi-American car parade, a Thanksgiving dinner for new Ethiopian immigrants, a local Piedmont blues style guitarist along with dozens more celebratory moments and personal stories.

“The Pike is this nexus of immigration and diversity. And people are basically getting along and we thought ‘This is something we really should examine in-depth,'” Wolf tells ARLnow about how the project got started more than a decade ago.

Columbia Pike has a well-earned reputation for being among one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the country. It’s estimated that there are people from more than 130 countries speaking at least a hundred languages living on or in the Columbia Pike corridor. Famously, the Pike and its corresponding 22204 ZIP code has gotten the nickname for being the “world in a ZIP code.”

Wolf says one of the most gratifying aspects of the project for him is the ability to listen and learn about cultures and communities from around the world; the traditions, the rituals, the successes, and the challenges. Plus, his team is made up of people whose backgrounds include being Syrian, Vietnamese, Laotian and Japanese.

To Wolf, this perfectly encapsulates what makes Columbia Pike so special.

“If we weren’t doing this project, maybe we wouldn’t have a chance to meet. I have this line ‘This is what peace looks like,'” he says. “To the Pike, people come. It’s not perfect, but by and large, the groups interact well.”

This is a testament to the Arlington community as a whole. In a county where diversity is valued, appreciated, and celebrated, Wolf notes, differences don’t divide but unite.

“I’ve heard immigrants say that ‘I don’t feel different here because everyone is different,'” he says.

However, like much of Arlington, it’s no secret that Columbia Pike is physically changing, with a number of major development projects set to be completed in the near future.

And, recently, Wolf has set out to explore how these changes might impact the communities he’s spent years documenting.

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Arlington Chorale is presenting “Through Troubled Times” this weekend, a performance that was originally slated for two years ago prior to Covid-related shutdowns.

On Saturday (March 19) at Westover Baptist Church, the 56-year-old local chorus group will be finally performing a show that was initially scheduled for March 14, 2020. The show was canceled two days before it was set to happen due to the increasing number of Covid cases in the county.

“These works are the last pieces we rehearsed together before everything shut down in 2020 — we had to cancel the concert two days before,” Arlington Chorale’s artistic director Ingrid Lestrud tells ARLnow. “I think we all have memories of rehearsing this music in pre-pandemic times before masks and social distancing.”

“Through Troubled Times” features “dark dramatic moments and soaring beautiful melodies,” according to a press release, and will be highlighted by a performance of a two-century-old work that holds a “message of finding hope in turbulent times strongly [that] resonates with audiences today.”

In addition, Arlington Public Schools student Ava Yi, 13, will conduct the chorus in a performance of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.” She won a virtual auction last spring that helped raise money for the group.

“Our shared human experiences over the last two years during the pandemic certainly adds a new perspective to this repertoire,” Arlington Chorale board president and soprano Ellen Keating said in a statement.

This will be only the group’s second concert back in front of a live audience since pausing performances two years ago.

The 60-member local, nonprofit chorus was first established in 1966. It’s a mixed-voice group, meaning both women and men sing together. Over the years, it has performed at a number of significant regional events including the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 2018 at Nationals Park.

Lestrud says the last two years have made rehearsing and keeping members difficult, but this year’s auditions renewed her optimism.

“I was blown away by all the audition requests I received! Most of our new members are in their 20s, and our singers range in age from 19-84,” she says. “It’s truly an intergenerational group that values inclusivity and diversity.”

With almost half of the 60-member group new and shows upcoming in May and June, Lestrud is confident the chorus’s future is bright.

“Most of the singers sang in choirs throughout high school and college, and they’re looking for a group where they can sing high quality choral music and be challenged to create something beautiful together,” she says. “Many of our members have recently moved to the area, and they joined the Arlington Chorale in order to meet people and become a part of our community.”

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Snow falls on the Christmas tree in front of 1100 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, in 2020 (Staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

The holiday spirit is alive and well in Arlington, with a number of markets and events planned over the next couple of weeks.

First up is Rosslyn’s holiday market, set for this Friday and Saturday (Dec. 10-11) at 1800 N. Lynn Street. Friday night will feature a celebration for the dogs of Rosslyn, including giveaways for the pups as well as a chance for your canine to take photos with Santa Claus. Saturday will feature a family-friendly performance at Synetic Theater and photos with Santa Claus.

There will also be food, free hot chocolate, and a dozen vendors.

After that, the first annual Ballston Holiday Wreath Market is taking place next Friday and Saturday (Dec. 17-18) at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Stuart Street.

Organized by the Ballston BID, the two-day event will include a pop-up outdoor bar, live music from the Arlington Children’s Chorus, a cello performance from local TikTok personality Andrew Savoia, a light art projection from Robin Bell, Santa Claus selfies, and holiday wreaths for sale.

Proceeds from the wreath sales will go towards local nonprofits including Bridges to Independence, Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, Culpepper Garden, Doorways for Women and Families, and The Sycamore School. Wreaths can be ordered in advance online for pick-up at the market.

Arlington County Police Department’s toy-collecting cruiser will also be there on Saturday, ready to receive wrapped gifts that will be donated to area kids.

Performing at 5 p.m. on Friday, 25-year-old Ballston resident Andrew Savoia became gained social media notability last year with his cello covers of modern pop songs. Washingtonian described his music as “Cardi B meets Beethoven.”

Robin Bell’s light art show will be projected onto the Ballston Macy’s storefront, described as a “celebration of holidays around the world.” Bell is known for sometimes politically charged and profound art projections. He previously projected a beach scene in Ballston in 2020. Bell’s holiday illumination will be displayed from 7-9 p.m. each night.

The outdoor bar will include warm beverages, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic hot chocolate, a “mistletoe spice cocktail,” beer, and wine. The hope is that the Ballston Wreath Market will become an annual Arlington tradition, a spokesperson tells ARLnow.

The National Landing BID, meanwhile, is hosting two events over the next couple of weekends, including a holiday market and a peppermint mocha latte competition.

The latte competition is taking place this Sunday morning (Dec. 12), starting at 11 a.m., outside of 2121 Crystal Drive. It will feature seasonal drinks from Commonwealth Joe, The Freshman, and Origin Coffee Lab & Kitchen. Attendees will be able to sample minty creations from each neighborhood coffee shop and vote on their favorite. The event is free.

The next weekend, on Friday and Saturday (Dec. 17-18), the BID is holding a holiday market outside of 2121 Crystal Drive, with an assortment of live music, shopping, and food.

Friday night’s market will feature music from Laygod, a self-described “cult-fiction rock n roll band,” and Nicaraguan musician Pedro Night. Playing Saturday’s market is Jerel Crockett. More than 25 vendors are expected to offer their wares.

In addition to the events, there are a number of light displays in Crystal City. At Long Bridge Park, more than 6,000 white and blue lights are twinkling along the nearly-mile walk along Long Bridge Park Esplanade overlooking the Potomac River. At Gateway Green, the former location of Summer House at 101 12th Street S., “an immersive winter lights art installation” is ongoing through the holiday season.

Can’t get enough Christmas? Other local holiday events can be found in our Arlington event calendar.

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Members of the Green Valley Civic Association near Jennie Dean Park, in a portion of the Green Valley neighborhood also known as Four Mile Run Valley (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at 4:10 p.m.) A public art plan slated for consideration this weekend has angered some Green Valley residents, who say it essentially erases a portion of the historically Black community.

After multiple years of community engagement and study, county arts staff have drafted an update to the Arlington’s Public Art Master Plan (PAMP) — first adopted in 2004 — to reflect changing county values, such as equity and sustainability, and more modern public art practices. The updated strategy for bringing art into public spaces is slated for a County Board vote this Saturday.

“Public art will continue to be a timely and timeless resource, responding to current community priorities while creating a legacy of artworks and places that are socially inclusive and aesthetically diverse features of Arlington’s public realm,” the county wrote in a report about the updated plan.

But members of the Green Valley Civic Association are urging County Board members not to approve the updated plan without wording changes to the various references to their community.

“This master plan aims to nullify a historically Black community in Arlington,” they said in a letter to the County Board dated Nov. 1. “It is a painful and blatant attempt to suppress the Green Valley community and rewrite our historical narrative.”

Settled by free African-Americans in 1844, Green Valley — formerly known as Nauck — is one of Arlington’s oldest Black communities. Its borders are S. Arlington Mill Drive to the south, the Douglas Park neighborhood (and S. Walter Reed Drive) to the west, I-395 and Army-Navy Country Club to the east, and the Columbia Heights neighborhood to the north.

Geography and names comprise two chief concerns for residents, who take issue with the document’s use of the monicker “Four Mile Run Valley” to refer to an area north of Four Mile Run near Shirlington — much of which is actually part of the historic Black community.

Four Mile Run Valley area (via Arlington County)

The name “Four Mile Run Valley” started being used widely by the county in connection with a planning study that discussed the proposed creation of an “arts and industry district” in the area. But Green Valley residents are taking exception to the term being used instead of their neighborhood’s actual name.

“This is wholly incorrect and offensive,” the civic association said.

More from the letter:

The report defines a fictitious community of “Four Mile Run Valley.” This heretofore non-existent community is defined as running from the “north bank of the stream where the lower and upper reaches meet.” 

It further, incorrectly states, that Shirlington Village is “on the south bank of Four Mile Run.” It is not. The northern border of Shirlington Village begins in the middle of Arlington Mill Drive. 

The report states, “Green Valley is a historically African-American neighborhood to the north of Four Mile Run Valley.” This is wholly incorrect and offensive. Again, “Four Mile Run Valley” is a fictitious name created by county staff. It is not a location. The southern border to Green Valley begins in the middle of Arlington Mill Drive. To try to push the historic boundary of our community up the hill is unconscionable and disrespectful of what Green Valley means to Arlington. 

Civic association president Portia Clark says this turn of phrase is part of a pattern of erasure.

“This isn’t the first time the county has tried to paper over Green Valley. Green Valley established in 1844 was rebranded Nauck in 1874, after a confederate soldier purchased land in our freed Black community,” Clark said. “We finally got our name back in 2019, only to find the county trying to discard us again. This time the county tried to hide the deed in the middle of a 200-page arts report.”

Just after publication of this article, county staff told ARLnow that some of the changes suggested by the civic association have been made.

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The cement spheres of “Dark Star Park” in Rosslyn, the electric blue ribbon of “Dressed Up and Pinned” in Courthouse and the twin striped monoliths of “Echo” in the park at Penrose Square.

These are some of the roughly 70 permanent public art projects in Arlington, commissioned for county capital improvement projects, sponsored by developers or initiated by communities.

Made with cement, steel and stone, these permanent projects are built to last, such as “Dark Star Park,” installed in 1984. The focus on permanent art installations — in particular those integrated into large capital projects — is intentional, according to Arlington’s Public Art program, a subdivision of Arlington Economic Development’s Cultural Affairs division.

“For as long as you have me leading the program for Arlington County, you’re going to have someone fighting for the very difficult work of integrating public art into larger county capital projects,” Public Art Administrator Angela Adams said in a recent Planning Commission meeting. “It’s not the easy thing to do. Temporary public art is the easy thing to do. Murals are the easy thing to do. We don’t do murals: we assist the community to do their own murals.”

The county considers murals, which can last a few decades if maintained well, temporary public art. Most recently, the program provided assistance for the creation of the John M. Langston mural at Sport Fair by KaliQ Crosby.

The county’s emphasis on sculptures over murals and other temporary works received some pushback from Planning Commission members during a discussion about the county’s Public Art Master Plan, which is being updated to reflect modern times.

After multiple years of community engagement and study, arts staff drafted an update to the plan — first adopted in 2004 —  that reached the County Board last Saturday. Members approved a request to advertise a public hearing on the updated document next month, ahead of a vote on whether to adopt it.

“It’s a strategy for how public art will improve the quality of our public spaces,” Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said during the meeting. “We each got briefed on this. I think it’s important.”

The Public Art program’s current emphasis on sculptures and other installations, like the lighted bridge over Route 50 near Courthouse and Corridor of Light in Rosslyn, prioritizes the permanent over the ephemeral, quality over quantity. But it also comes at a cost, often requiring significant funding and years of planning. Plus the artists with the reputation and know-how to create such art in many cases come from out of town.

By contrast, the public art one more commonly sees posted on social media these days are of the more temporary variety: Instagrammable murals and community-created installations. Cheaper and impermanent, such art has the possibility of being more ubiquitous around town and more reflective of the current moment and the local flavor. Such is the case with a mural unveiled over the summer in the Town of Vienna, a set of painted, social-media-ready butterfly wings designed by a graduate of a local high school.

Butterfly wing mural in Vienna (via Town of Vienna/Facebook)

Public art by the numbers 

Since the 1970s, Arlington County and private developers have completed more than 100 permanent and temporary works of public art. But it wasn’t until 2004 that a systematic approach, called the Public Art Master Plan (PAMP), was codified.

More than 25 permanent projects have been completed or are in progress, while more than 30 temporary works have been commissioned or supported since the PAMP was adopted, the updated plan says. These are funded by county capital improvement funds and developer contributions to the Public Art Fund.

Developers have completed and commissioned more than 25 works to adorn their sites, Public Art program spokesman Jim Byers, Jr. said. Most developers (65%) contribute to the Public Art Fund, which has received 59 contributions since 2004 and today maintains a balance of $3 million, he said.

Their coffers go a long way, Byers said, as “developer and partner funding leverages the county Public Art funding by nearly 25:1.”

Out with the old, in with the new

Despite its successes, the PAMP update says the county’s public art approach needed a fresh coat of paint “to support the County’s civic engagement, planning, economic development and placemaking.”

Among other new priorities, the new plan emphasizes audience development and engagement and equity, and identifies two new priority corridors: Langston Blvd and the Potomac Riverfront. The existing priority corridors are Rosslyn-Ballston, Richmond Highway, Columbia Pike and Four Mile Run.

Audience engagement is a priority because residents seem to know little about the program, the plan admits. It calls for more programming to engage folks and more accessible information about projects.

“One of the things the research showed is that the Arlington community is not fully aware of the breadth of the County’s public art resources,” the PAMP continues. “It is important not only to commission new works, but also to find ways to keep existing artworks fresh in people’s minds.”

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(Updated 9:20 a.m.) A Dominion Energy substation under renovation near Crystal City is set to electrify the neighborhood with an artistic façade.

The energy provider is expanding and remodeling its substation at the intersection of S. Hayes Street and S. Fern Street to meet the increasing demand for electricity as the population in the National Landing area — and Amazon’s nearby HQ2 — grows. It obtained the extra land needed for the expansion a year ago through an agreement with the County Board.

As part of the renovation, Dominion will be adding public art to one building face — “inVisible” by California-based artist Elena Manferdini — and building a public plaza.

Manferdini’s energetic design features vibrant ceramic tiles interacting with grayscale panels that extend toward the sky. But it’s a big departure from the “cloud concept” Dominion chose last year in response to community feedback.

Dominion Energy’s original “cloud concept” proposed for its substation near Crystal City (via Dominion Energy)

Her livelier proposal proved polarizing. While well-received by Dominion — and approved by the Arlington County Public Art Committee in March — reactions during last month’s Arlington Ridge Civic Association meeting were negatively charged for two reasons, says one attendee.

“1) Although the good intention to keep the building from being bland was well understood by the attendees, the artwork seemed too ‘busy’ for them, and 2) the artwork is being done by a non-local artist,” Tina Ghiladi said in an email. “At best, some reactions were neutral, because the substation is not in Arlington Ridge nor within our line of sight.”

Dominion Energy spokeswoman Peggy Fox says Manferdini, an award-winning artist with two decades of experience, was chosen on the strength of her proposal.

“We were hopeful to find a local artist for this project,” Fox said. “However, Elena proved to be the superior candidate by listening to both the desires of the community and representing the function of a substation and its ‘invisible’ importance in the community. It was clear she did her homework and drew inspiration from both angles. Elena (and her design ‘inVisible’) was chosen because she was the best candidate for this job.”

Manferdini describes her project as a representation of the unseen force of electricity and an invitation to the audience to question their relationship to it.

“Every day, we are surrounded by one of the most important innovations of all time, electricity,” she said in a March meeting. “Its energy powers every area of our modern lives. And yet we can’t see it. Like gravity, electricity is an invisible force we only recognize when it acts upon other objects.”

“inVisible” by Atelier Manferdini, the planned artwork for Dominion Energy’s substation near Crystal City (via Dominion Energy)

Ghiladi says some negative reaction softened when Dominion explained her vision and that she was selected “because of her experience in, and passion for, the subject.” Overall, neighbors like the other changes, she says.

“The members were positive/supportive about all other aspects of the project, namely improving our power network, as well as the removal of the lattice roof,” she said.

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Tucked away in an Arlington County storage facility is a shattered Tiffany Studios stained glass window of Jesus Christ in the act of blessing those who gaze on him.

For decades, it adorned The Abbey Mausoleum that once stood near Arlington National Cemetery. Light would have pierced the 12-paneled, 9-foot by 6-foot window, casting jewel tones on the burial site of the man to whom the window was dedicated — E. St. Clair Thompson, a wealthy Mason interred there in 1933.

Surrounding “Christ in Blessing,” fittingly, were 12 windows with a simple geometric border and a floral design in the middle.

The Abbey Mausoleum was once “a prestigious burial ground,” built by the United States Mausoleum Company in the 1920s, according to a write-up of the mausoleum and windows Arlington Arts provided to ARLnow.

“However, with the bankruptcy of the managing Abbey Mausoleum Corporation in the 1950s, the building fell victim to vandalism and neglect,” the report says.

So too did “Christ in Blessing,” which has lost many panels. When the U.S. Navy acquired the mausoleum site in 2000, it decided to tear down the Romanesque structure due to its poor condition.

“Arlington was permitted to salvage architectural features from the building, including the windows,” the document said. “At the same time, the enormous task of relocating remains and contacting the families of those interred at the mausoleum began.”

While removing the window, the county discovered a signature in the bottom right-hand corner — “Louis C. Tiffany, N.Y.” — tying the window to the famous Art Nouveau artisan, son of the founder of Tiffany & Co., and his stained glass studio.

“The inscription coincides with those used by Louis C. Tiffany at the time this window was created, confirming its authenticity to the degree possible absent written documentation regarding its commission,” the Arlington Arts document said.

The window was likely commissioned by Thompson’s family, although no records of that exist, Arlington Arts says.

Today, visitors can view some of the geometric windows at Arlington Arts Center and Westover Library. Those that were too damaged were broken into fragments to restore other windows. Visitors to the Fairlington Community Center can see a stained glass skylight that also ornamented the mausoleum.

For two decades, however, the county has held onto “Christ in Blessing,” which it has not displayed because it’s in poor condition and needs the right setting.

“Significant damage to the panel was sustained from vandalism during the four decades that the mausoleum sat abandoned, and it definitely needs restoration before it can be safely and properly displayed,” Arlington Arts spokesman Jim Byers, Jr. said.

Now, the county is on the cusp of finding a restorer and a permanent home. This Saturday, the County Board is slated to approve a loan agreement with Central United Methodist Church in Ballston, which has agreed to pay for restoration work and display the window after the church is rebuilt.

“The restoration is being overseen by Ballston Limited Partnership and the Central United Methodist Church, which can offer the liturgical setting that is ideal for the restored work,” Byers said.

The church is set to be redeveloped by the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing. The new, 8-story building on Fairfax Drive, near the Ballston Metro station, will include 144 committed affordable housing units and a childcare facility for up to 100 children. Construction is slated to start this fall and APAH expects work to finish by winter 2023-24.

All that would remain is to adorn the church with the resurrected Tiffany window.

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Morning Notes

Columbus Day Closures — “Most Arlington Transit routes are closed, with the exception of routes 42, 45, 51, 55, 77 and 87, which will run on Saturday schedules. Parking meters won’t be enforced, but all other parking violations will be. The public schools will not hold classes; it’s a professional learning day for staff. Government offices and the public library are open.” [WTOP]

Local Yard Sale Funds Acts of Kindness — “Susan Thompson-Gaines is like a fairy godmother who magically appeared in Marjorie Gonzales’ life to help her conjure up a dress for the ball. ‘Just came out of nowhere,’ said Gonzales, who was in need of a homecoming dress… Thompson-Gaines uses every penny of her profits — more than $12,000 this year — to fund random acts of kindness throughout her community.” [CBS News, InspireMore]

Proposal for Better W-L Baseball Field — “This fall, Healy is working with director of student activities Carol Callaway on a project proposal that they hope to present to county officials in the coming weeks. His vision is of something similar to Waters Field, a multi-purpose artificial turf field that can host games for baseball and rectangular field sports and serves as a central hub in the Vienna community… ‘You could call it a total facelift,’ Healy said. ‘You name it, we need it. You can’t even stand up in the visitor dugout, and the press box is almost a safety hazard.'” [Nova Baseball Magazine]

GMU Groundbreaking Planned — “GMU plans to break ground on the nearly $250 million expansion of its Arlington campus in January. The primary addition to the Virginia Square campus will be the 360,500-square-foot home for the Institute for Digital Innovation (IDIA), its tech research hub, and the coming School of Computing… Bethesda-based Clark Construction will serve as general contractor on the project, which is scheduled to be complete by April 2025, with students moving in by July of that year.” [Washington Business Journal]

Changes Planned for GMU Plaza –“The ‘stay-the-course’ proposal will aim to make the large plaza fronting Fairfax Drive a more useful gathering space, perhaps with a café attached, while potentially adding a mid-level connection between Smith and Van Metre Halls to effectively combine them as one. That was the vision outlined by Gregory Janks, who has led the 18-month planning process for the three main Mason campuses.” [Sun Gazette]

New Art at Central Library — “Arlington residents and Library patrons are in for a visual treat when entering the second floor at Central Library. The newly installed artwork titled ‘North Lincoln Street, Arlington, Virginia’ by Arlington artist Jason Horowitz, features a playful, 360-degree view of a re-imagined Ballston neighborhood landscape.” [Arlington Public Library]

Marymount 5K Race on Wednesday — “Marymount University Doctor of Physical Therapy program hosted the first Marymount 5K in the spring of 2015… Join us in 2021 for the sixth annual Marymount 5K supporting the DPT Program’s foundational pillars of Global Perspective, Service to Others, and Intellectual Curiosity.” [Marymount University]

Nearby: Shooting in Arlandria — From Alan Henney: “500 blk of Four Mile Rd off Mt. Vernon Ave in the City of Alexandria. 15 yr-old boy shot in stomach taken to a trauma center in serious condition. Several suspects fled the scene on foot.” [Twitter, Twitter]

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