‹ All Listings

Best of Arlington 2018

Crystal City Art Walls

Best Street Art

A section of “Mural 23” in Crystal City

For decades, Crystal City was snubbed as a concrete no man’s land—a casualty of having much of its infrastructure built in the ’60s, back when cars were prioritized over pedestrians. But then planners started viewing its abundant stretches of hardscape not as eyesores, but blank canvases. Since the launch of the Art Walls project in 2008, more than 30 artists have reinvented nondescript dead spaces with vibrant color, from the massive “Mural 23”—a collaboration of graffiti artists Mas Paz, Jeff Huntington, Juan Pineda, Cita Sadeli “Chelove” and Thomas Pipkin that flanks more than 400 feet of sidewalk—to the “Supernature” abstracts by Matthew Best that brighten a formerly dark underpass. “People always derided Crystal City as a concrete canyon,” says Angela Fox, president and CEO of the Crystal City Business Improvement District. “We have a lot of brutalist architecture. Our approach has been to lean into it. There are ways to make this neighborhood intimate and lush, and we’re doing that with color and landscaping.” Two more public art installations are coming in 2018. The renaissance continues.


–Jenny Sullivan