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Vibrant murals transform this Virginia city into a giant art gallery

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In Virginia, Crystal City is known for being very safe and clean, but because so many of its buildings are constructed with so much concrete, the area can also come across as a little stale. In a roughly 10-year effort to visually revitalize the area, this concrete canyon has been transformed through the visual arts in order to become a vibrant and colorful area.

With Art Walls, CEO and president of the Crystal City Business Improvement District (CCBID) Angie Fox said, "We were looking at ways to shift perceptions, and in our world, concrete is canvas. We can infuse art into the fabric of Crystal City so that you experience it as you walk around. Whether you’re into art or not, certainly the color and the vibrancy can have an impact."

Sine 2008, Art Walls have been mounted around the city, renewing areas like a 160-foot-long underpass that was once dark, gloomy, and a bit scary. Along with these artworks, the CCBID also replaced yellow sodium lights with white LED lights and did away with some shrubbery at the top of the Crystal City Metro entrance.

After finding artists from events like Artomatic or venues like the Torpedo Factory Art Center, the CCBID then proceeds to license images of interest, screenprint them, and mount them in the appropriate areas. Fox estimated that around half a million dollars have been spent on Art Walls since 2008.

Less than five miles away in Washington, D.C., there are plans to create a similar program. Fox said that the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District has shown interest and was even provided a tour by the CCBID.

For those who may be interested in taking an arts tour, Curbed has created the below map with all of the Art Walls currently mounted in Crystal City.

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1. Emerald in Action

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Army Navy Dr.
Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Janis Goodman

2. Currents

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300 Army Navy Dr
Arlington, VA 22202
(703) 416-4100
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Artist: Marsha Staiger

3. Ecoscape

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Route 1 ~ Crystal City
Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Sondra N. Arkin

4. Mental Maps

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12th Street
Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Ted Milligan

5. Supernature

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12th Street
Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Matthew Best

6. Confluence

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12th St S & S Clark St
Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Camilo Sanin

7. Tropicalia

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Artist: Fabiano Amin

8. Lunar Scape

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Artist: M.M. Panas

9. ArtJamz Winner

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Artist: Doug Fruehling

10. Acoustic Landscape

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1700 Jefferson Davis Hwy
Arlington, VA 22202
(703) 920-3230

Artist: Marsha Staiger

11. Epipelagic One

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1700 Jefferson Davis Hwy
Arlington, VA 22202
(703) 920-3230

Artist: Camilo Sanin

12. Fire

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1700 Jefferson Davis Hwy
Arlington, VA 22202
(703) 920-3230
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Artist: Christina Hayman

13. Radiance

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1750 Jefferson Davis Hwy
Arlington, VA 22240
(202) 637-7000
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Artist: Valerie Theberge

14. Engage

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1750 Jefferson Davis Hwy
Arlington, VA 22240
(202) 637-7000
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Artist: Susan Finsen

15. Passion

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S Eads St & 18th St S
Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Maryann Pranulis

16. Azure

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Jefferson Davis Hwy
Arlington, VA

Artist: Tory Cowles

17. Prism

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Jefferson Davis Hwy
Arlington, VA

Artist: Anne Marchand

18. Circles and Rings

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Jefferson Davis Hwy
Arlington, VA

Artist: Susan Finsen

19. Crystal Wynwood Mural

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1900 Crystal Dr
Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: No Kings Collective

20. To Ava, with Love

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2100 Crystal Dr
Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Ethan Kerber

21. Shine & Dazzle

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2100 Crystal Dr
Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Kevin Irvin

22. Sparkle

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2020 Jefferson Davis Hwy
Arlington, VA 22202
(703) 920-8600
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Artist: Greg Minah

23. Mural23

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23rd St S & S Clark St
Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Jeff Huntington, Mas Paz, Juan Pineda, and Cita Sadeli

24. Sunburst

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Crystal Dr & 26th St S
Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Bud Hensgen

25. Harbor Lines

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Crystal Dr & 26th St S
Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Leslie Johnston

26. Ellipsis

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2799 Jefferson Davis Hwy
Arlington, VA 22202
(703) 418-1234
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Artist: Anne Marchand

27. Emerge

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2799 Jefferson Davis Hwy
Arlington, VA 22202
(703) 418-1234
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Artist: Michele de la Menardiere

28. Rhythm & Balance

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Artist: Marsha Staiger

1. Emerald in Action

Army Navy Dr., Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Janis Goodman

Army Navy Dr.
Arlington, VA 22202

2. Currents

300 Army Navy Dr, Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Marsha Staiger

300 Army Navy Dr
Arlington, VA 22202

3. Ecoscape

Route 1 ~ Crystal City, Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Sondra N. Arkin

Route 1 ~ Crystal City
Arlington, VA 22202

4. Mental Maps

12th Street, Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Ted Milligan

12th Street
Arlington, VA 22202

5. Supernature

12th Street, Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Matthew Best

12th Street
Arlington, VA 22202

6. Confluence

12th St S & S Clark St, Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Camilo Sanin

12th St S & S Clark St
Arlington, VA 22202

7. Tropicalia

Arlington, VA

Artist: Fabiano Amin

8. Lunar Scape

Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: M.M. Panas

9. ArtJamz Winner

Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Doug Fruehling

10. Acoustic Landscape

1700 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Marsha Staiger

1700 Jefferson Davis Hwy
Arlington, VA 22202

11. Epipelagic One

1700 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Camilo Sanin

1700 Jefferson Davis Hwy
Arlington, VA 22202

12. Fire

1700 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Christina Hayman

1700 Jefferson Davis Hwy
Arlington, VA 22202

13. Radiance

1750 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Arlington, VA 22240

Artist: Valerie Theberge

1750 Jefferson Davis Hwy
Arlington, VA 22240

14. Engage

1750 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Arlington, VA 22240

Artist: Susan Finsen

1750 Jefferson Davis Hwy
Arlington, VA 22240

15. Passion

S Eads St & 18th St S, Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Maryann Pranulis

S Eads St & 18th St S
Arlington, VA 22202

16. Azure

Jefferson Davis Hwy, Arlington, VA

Artist: Tory Cowles

Jefferson Davis Hwy
Arlington, VA

17. Prism

Jefferson Davis Hwy, Arlington, VA

Artist: Anne Marchand

Jefferson Davis Hwy
Arlington, VA

18. Circles and Rings

Jefferson Davis Hwy, Arlington, VA

Artist: Susan Finsen

Jefferson Davis Hwy
Arlington, VA

19. Crystal Wynwood Mural

1900 Crystal Dr, Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: No Kings Collective

1900 Crystal Dr
Arlington, VA 22202

20. To Ava, with Love

2100 Crystal Dr, Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Ethan Kerber

2100 Crystal Dr
Arlington, VA 22202

21. Shine & Dazzle

2100 Crystal Dr, Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Kevin Irvin

2100 Crystal Dr
Arlington, VA 22202

22. Sparkle

2020 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Greg Minah

2020 Jefferson Davis Hwy
Arlington, VA 22202

23. Mural23

23rd St S & S Clark St, Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Jeff Huntington, Mas Paz, Juan Pineda, and Cita Sadeli

23rd St S & S Clark St
Arlington, VA 22202

24. Sunburst

Crystal Dr & 26th St S, Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Bud Hensgen

Crystal Dr & 26th St S
Arlington, VA 22202

25. Harbor Lines

Crystal Dr & 26th St S, Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Leslie Johnston

Crystal Dr & 26th St S
Arlington, VA 22202

26. Ellipsis

2799 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Anne Marchand

2799 Jefferson Davis Hwy
Arlington, VA 22202

27. Emerge

2799 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Arlington, VA 22202

Artist: Michele de la Menardiere

2799 Jefferson Davis Hwy
Arlington, VA 22202

28. Rhythm & Balance

Arlington, VA 22209

Artist: Marsha Staiger