Check Out Arlington’s Artists Walk

Artist Barbara Januszkiewicz is increasing Virginia Square's cool factor.

Courtesy of Barbara Januszkiewicz

After she planted flowers along a stretch of sidewalk in Virginia Square, local artist Barbara Januszkiewicz started finding gifts among the blooms, ranging from an umbrella to a pot of daisies. Attached to the presents were thank-you notes, left unsigned.

Januszkiewicz, who paints and sells her work out of a studio (known as 34zero9) behind the ARC 3409 condominium building on Wilson Boulevard, sees these small tokens as evidence that folks are appreciating her efforts to beautify the neighborhood. The sidewalk that runs behind the studio she shares with four other artists is actually the start of a three-block-long pedestrian path that ends at Monroe Street. Januszkiewicz and city planners are currently working to rename it the Artists Walk.

It’s already commanding attention. To give the promenade a splashy start, Januszkiewicz painted a giant, abstract mural on the turquoise back wall of the El Pollo Rico restaurant. Then she noticed a tiny unused space in her studio building with a wall of windows facing the sidewalk. So she installed lighting and turned the nook into what she calls a “micro gallery”—an exhibit space for local artists that rotates every six weeks. She keeps the lights on all night long so people can walk by at any hour and peek inside.

Recently, Januszkiewicz noticed a big family posing for a portrait in front of her mural. When she introduced herself, she says, “each of them said what moved them. A little girl said, ‘I love the colors.’ A grandmother said, ‘I love the harmony.’ It was the best gift.” Soon thereafter, Januszkiewicz says she witnessed a wedding proposal in the same spot.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment