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Best Art Gallery

Gallery Art Underground

For a while, local residents wondered what would become of the Crystal City Underground and its meandering maze of subterranean corridors—a place that had seen the demise of more than a few businesses. As it turns out, art was the answer.

Opened in 2012, Gallery Underground serves as a showroom for members of the Arlington Artists Alliance, a nonprofit organization established in 2000. The space was created through a partnership between the Crystal City Business Improvement District and the developer Vornado, which has supported other Crystal City art ventures, including Synetic Theater.

“This gallery has given the Alliance a home,” says local artist Sandi Parker, who co-directs the space with fellow artist Jessica Mickey. (In addition to their curatorial duties, both have displayed their work there.) “All the art in the gallery is by local artists, and buyers really respond to that. With so much mass-produced art out there, buyers love feeling they have supported Arlington.”

The bright, airy space displays a wide range of paintings, sculpture, pottery, glass and jewelry. The gallery also hosts special juried shows and community events such as Painting Uncorked, an evening in which budding artists can tackle a blank canvas while sampling wines.

One recent show by artist Kristin Beck, a former Navy SEAL who is transgendered, benefited a nonprofit that uses art therapy to combat PTSD and traumatic brain injury. “Everyone who was present and heard her speak was extremely moved,” Parker says. “That was probably, for me, the most memorable moment in the gallery.”

–K.O.

2100 Crystal Drive, Arlington, 571-483-0652, www.galleryunderground.org


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