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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Public Art in Arlington

Arlington County has updated and expanded their cultural affairs website and it is worth a visit. The site provides a great overview of public art in the county.

There are photos of both completed and ongoing projects. Two of my favorites are the glass mosaic "Downstream" in Shirlington Plaza by artist Martha Jackson Jarvis and "Flame" by artist Ray King on North Glebe Road.

"Arlington County was originally part of the ten-mile square parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. Then known as Alexandria County of the District of Columbia, it included what is now Arlington County plus part of the neighboring City of Alexandria. Congress returned that portion of land to the Commonwealth of Virginia following a referendum among its citizens. The City of Alexandria and Arlington separated their jurisdictions in 1870, and in 1920 the name Arlington County was adopted."

"Arlington, the second smallest county in the U.S., encompasses 25.9 square miles with an estimated residential population of 208,000 (in 2008) and an estimated daytime workforce population of 300,000 (in 2008). There are no incorporated cities or towns with Arlington. It is five miles from Washington, D.C.

* Arlington's Public Art Program is administered by the Community and Public Art Section of the Cultural Affairs Division, Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
* The Arlington County Board approved a Public Art Policy in September, 2000.
* The Public Art Master Plan was approved in December, 2004. Program guidelines for county-initiated projects were approved in 2005 and guidelines for developer and community-initiated projects are currently in development.
* Arlington has a long history of developer-initiated public art projects beginning in 1979 with the commission of Nancy Holt's Dark Star Park.
* Arlington is currently home to 56 permanent public art projects, with many more underway.
* Arlington has hosted over 40 temporary public art projects since 1987.
* Arlington's Public Art Program typically has around 35 developer-initiated projects underway at any given time. In December, 2008, just under $3 million is designated for upcoming public art projects through developer contributions.
* Many of Arlington's public art projects focus on the following areas due to the high density and visibility of these corridors:
1. Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor, particularly those that support larger urban design goals;
2. Four Mile Run Corridor, both in parkland and areas such as Shirlington, the Trades Center campus and Four Mile Run/Nauck area;
3. Columbia Pike Corridor, to unify the streetscape of this major road and integrate into transit;
4. Jefferson Davis Corridor, development of various centers including Four Mile Run restoration, Potomac Yards, Crystal City and Pentagon City."

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