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.Read More