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 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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.”
(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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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]
Storm Damage Closes Covid Testing Booth — From Arlington County: “The Curative testing kiosk at Virginia Highlands will be closed today and tomorrow (Sept. 20 & 21) as it repairs storm damage. Visit our other kiosks at Arlington Mill Community Center and Court House Plaza.” [Twitter]
Frank O’Leary Pushing for Museum Funding — “Now, in retirement, the former Arlington treasurer is equally unfiltered, when it comes to issues dear to his heart. And few, at the moment, are more dear to O’Leary than the effort to obtain the county government’s participation in funding renovation and expansion of the Arlington Historical Society’s Hume School museum. ‘It is time for our local government to step forward. Every local government in Northern Virginia – except Arlington – has fully funded one or more local museums,’ he said.” [Sun Gazette]
Inner Ear’s Visual Art — “Don Zientara is known for his ears. I wanted to hear about his eyes. ‘Right here is a painting by Jay Stuckey, who was a punk rocker in D.C.,’ says Zientara, showing me around the control room at his famed Inner Ear Recording Studios in Arlington… After more than 30 years in this former Hair Cuttery training center, Inner Ear is closing, making way for redevelopment.” [Washington Post]
Arlington GOP Comms Director Quoted — “Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) has called Republicans hypocritical for greenlighting trillions in spending under former President Donald Trump only to turn around and object under President Biden. Matthew Hurtt, who became active in politics during the tea party’s rise and is communications director for the Arlington County Republican Committee in Virginia, said Mr. Schumer ‘has got a good point… our tribal politics means frequently people don’t hold their own side accountable.'” [Wall Street Journal]
Flickr pool photo by C Buoscio
Hand-painted canvases, ceramics and other works of art will adorn the streets of Clarendon this weekend for an art festival.
The Arlington Festival of the Arts will take place this Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 4-5, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event, now in its ninth year, will be outdoors on N. Highland Street, beginning at the corner of N. Highland Street and Washington Blvd.
Howard Alan Events, which hosts the festival, had an independent panel of judges select the artists. Some of those who made the cut are based in the D.C. area.
“Visitors will have the chance to see thousands of fine works from across the globe in a prestigious show encompassing fine jewelry, exquisite works of art and hand-crafted apparel and decor,” Howard Alan Events said. “Whether your passions run to sparkling jewels and one of a kind paintings; masterfully crafted glasswork or an art deco sculpture, you are sure to find it during the free, two-day event.”
Art prices will be available to view at the event and all the artists will be available to answer questions during the festival.
The Labor Day weekend event will feature paintings from Allen Levy, whose works have been displayed at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria and whose studio is in Woodbridge. Mixed media artist and interior designer Vered Yanay, based in Bethesda, will have her work at the festival as well as Prince George’s County-based graphic artist Bryane Broadie.
Parking is available at the event’s 3003 Washington Blvd location and pets on leashes are welcomed to peruse the art. They may be interested in Joseph Brewer’s pet portraits.
Parking restrictions and several major road closures are planned in the area, which may lead to traffic delays for drivers.
More from the Arlington County Police Department:
Setup for the event will begin at 4:00 a.m. on Saturday, and the event will be open both days from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
The Arlington County Police Department will conduct the following road closures from approximately 4:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 4th through 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 5th to accommodate the event:
- Westbound Washington Boulevard will be closed from N. 10th Street to Clarendon Boulevard
- N. Highland Street will be closed from N. 11th Street to Washington Boulevard
- Eastbound Washington Boulevard will be reduced to one lane from Clarendon Boulevard to N. 10th Street
- Southbound traffic on N. Garfield Street will only be allowed to turn left (eastbound) on Washington Boulevard
Other closures not mentioned above may be implemented at law enforcement discretion in the interest of public safety.
Street parking in the area will be restricted and motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs. 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.
Attendees are encouraged to use Metro (Clarendon station) or other “for hire” transportation options to reduce vehicular traffic in the area.
TRAFFIC ALERT ⚠️ Road closures and turn restrictions will be in place in the Clarendon area this weekend for the Arlington Festival of the Arts on Saturday and Sunday. Plan ahead and seek alternate routes.
Details: https://t.co/zItt6JVnSM pic.twitter.com/tcAtm9XCap
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) September 1, 2021
Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County. If you’d like your event considered, fill out the event submission form to submit it to our event calendar.
Tuesday, Aug. 3
Coffee Breaks at Summer House
National Landing’s Gateway Green (101 12th Street S.)
Time: 8:30-10:30 a.m.
Local coffee shops are serving brews every Tuesday morning at Gateway Green in Crystal City. Parking is available at 201 12th Street S.
Thursday, Aug. 5
Arlington Chamber of Commerce (2009 14th Street N., Ste 100)
Time: 4-5:15 p.m.
The Chamber is hosting a free networking seminar for both old and new members. The seminar will teach attendees about what the chamber does and different ways members can take advantage of their membership.
Friday, Aug. 6
Magic of the Ordinary — National Juried Exhibition at Gallery Underground in August
Gallery Underground (2100 Crystal Drive)
Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Magic of the Ordinary is a gallery of artwork juried by watercolor artist Lois Wolford. The art focuses on everyday items and scenes that are often overlooked.
American Legion Post 85 in Virginia Square is getting a new mural.
The post at 919 N. Kansas Street — not to be confused with the nearby, under-construction Post 139 two blocks away — commissioned the work from Falls Church artist Mary Tjeng, who was busy painting when ARLnow stopped by Thursday afternoon.
The mural depicts Gen. Billy Mitchell, the post’s namesake and the “father of the U.S. Air Force.”
Mitchell “is one of the most famous and most controversial figures in the history of American airpower,” says an old website for the Legion post. “So great was his impact on the Army Air Service and its successor organizations that the effect is still being felt. During Mitchell’s meteoric military career, he charted new paths, set new standards, and influenced key leaders for decades to come.”
“Mitchell was twenty years ahead of his time when he put forth his detailed vision of a hazardous future,” the website says of the general, who served in World War I and died in 1936 after retiring to a farm in Middleburg. “He is also the only individual after whom a type of American military aircraft, the B-25 Mitchell, is named.”
The mural, which recently received some attention from National Defense magazine’s Twitter account, will adorn an exterior wall that’s partially visible from Wilson Blvd.
A muralist painting tribute to “father of the Air Force” Gen. Billy Mitchell. American Legion Post No.85 in Arlington, VA pic.twitter.com/5aLcqAxw5S
— National Defense (@NationalDefense) July 15, 2021
Jay Westcott contributed to this report
Curious Arlingtonians want to know: what happened to the bears at Thomas Jefferson Park?
In 2017 a set of bear figures were carved into a tree stump during that summer’s Arlington County Fair, a local told ARLnow on Twitter. But the following summer, they were gone, with only saw dust and the bottom of the stump left behind.
At the time, residents near the park were told by Arlington’s Dept. Parks and Recreation that the bears needed to be taken in for restoration work. But some have not forgotten their ursine decorations, which have not returned to the park since.
— SRtwofourfour (@SRtwofourfour) July 31, 2018
How is the Bear restoration project going?
— SRtwofourfour (@SRtwofourfour) June 21, 2021
At the time, the county said the carving had a crack that could result in the wood rotting if exposed to rain or snow. The bears were brought inside for treatment. Now, the county says the bears have found a new permanent home.
“Mama bear and her cubs are happily residing in the Park Operations lobby at the Trades Center,” said Susan Kalish, spokeswoman for the parks department, referencing the county facility near Shirlington.
According to Kalish, the parks department determined it was more prudent for the bears to be indoors, repurposed as domesticated statues.
“As their wood was not treated to protect them from the elements, they are safer inside,” Kalish said.
It’s unclear whether that explanation will make the loss more bearable for local residents.