Arlington Art Truck Hits The Streets

The truck will be bringing art to the people. Its first installation is called 'Bipedal Soundscapes.'

The Arlington Art Truck. Press photo.

This art certainly moves. Last week, the Arlington Art Truck hit the streets for its debut season with its initial installation, “Bipedal Soundscapes.” The mission of this brightly-designed truck (hand painted by artist Stephen Powers), is to, quite literally, bring art to the people through mobile performances, pop-up galleries, workshops and interactive exhibits. The truck will visit parks, schools, farmers markets and other public gatherings throughout Arlington. “We are going to be on the street and people can ask questions directly to the [artist],” says Cynthia Connolly, Arlington Cultural Affairs special projects curator. “There’s going to be no mystery about art anymore.”

“Bipedal Soundscapes” is the product of a collaboration between artists Emily Francisco and Alex Braden, who first worked together at the now-defunct Artisphere. All riders have to do is jump on the stationary bike and start pedaling, which will rotate a five-tiered DIY vinyl record turntable. Depending on the speed at which the rider pedals and the particular vinyls spinning, each ride is a completely unique auditory experience, giving participants a chance to be pedal-pounding DJs. “It’s inviting people to play, to become part of the work and to become authors in the piece,” says Francisco. Watch this video to see how it works. 

Artist Alex Braden riding Bipedal Soundscape. Photo by Matt Blitz.

Arlington County Board chair Katie Cristol says that no taxpayer money was needed for this project, with Arlington Cultural Affairs so far raising approximately $93,500 to launch the truck. These funds cover buying and modifying the truck, as well as the costs of programming for the next year and a half.

The County has used fund balances from prior art donations, combined with revenue generated from past art projects, contributions from the Arlington Community Foundation and a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to fund this program. “We are in a tight budget right now and I know people worry that arts and creative projects…are the first to go,” says Cristol. “This is such a nice example of why that doesn’t have to be case.”  

“Bipedal Soundscapes” will be spinning its wheels for the next eight weeks (until June 2), but it isn’t the only interactive art exhibit planned for the Arlington Art Truck this summer. Beginning in May, a large-scale interactive inflatable sculpture entitled “You Are Magic” will debut. Then, in June, the truck will feature a hands-on painting workshop focused on Arlington’s native plants and ecosystems. The truck’s schedule through early August is posted here.


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