More Than Window Dressing

When the pandemic hit, local artists turned these storefronts into colorful beacons of hope.
Vintage Clothing Company, Credit Chelsea Ritter Soronen

A botanical storefront on 23rd Street in Crystal City by Chelsea Ritter-Soronen

In March, Busboys and Poets founder Andy Shallal began painting messages of hope and gratitude on the windows of his D.C. restaurants, using the hashtag #PaintTheStorefronts.

Soon, he was hiring fellow artists to create more temporary murals, including Vy Vu, whose painterly shout-out to teachers, restaurant staff and health care workers graced the façade of Busboys and Poets in Shirlington. Shallal began encouraging other businesses to do the same.

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Window art by Vy Vu at Busboys and Poets Shirlington

And so they did. In May, the Crystal City Business Improvement District (now the National Landing BID) launched a neighborhood-wide art campaign dubbed #LoveNationalLanding, rendering its public spaces more colorful.

Paint The Store Fronts2 Credit Crystal City Bid

Mural by Jeff Huntington (JAHRU) and Julia Gibb


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Photo courtesy of National Landing BID

Area restaurants and shops saw their windows transformed by artists Cris Clapp Logan, Jeff Huntington (aka JAHRU), Patrick Owens, Juan Pineda/Criomatic, Eric B. Ricks and community arts organizer Chelsea Ritter-Soronen (Chalk Riot), currently a resident artist at The Kennedy Center’s Moonshot Studio.

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Mural by Patrick Owens at Commonwealth Joe Coffee Roasters

Curated by Tom Pipkin, the vivid installations also include monumental-scale vinyl wraps, and soon will feature more than 100 sidewalk decals by the muralist collective BroCoLoco.

Related Stories:

When Words Become Art: The coronavirus pandemic has elicited all kinds of thoughts and emotions. These local artists turned them into pictures.


Categories: Community