Updated PAMP Lights the Way to a Bright 2022

Published on December 16, 2021

Michelle Isabelle-Stark 150x150 As 2021 draws to a close, I am struck by how much was accomplished in a year defined by a gradual re-emergence from a once in a century pandemic. It has taken perseverance, planning, and innovation to foster new paradigms for our core work of connecting artists and community to reflect the diversity of Arlington. The adoption of the Public Art Master Plan (PAMP) update, which was approved by the County Board in November, exemplifies our mission-driven approach.

The first update in 17 years, the Plan provides a strategy for improving the quality of public spaces and the built environment in Arlington through public art and civically-engaged placemaking. As a sub-element of the Public Spaces Master Plan (PSMP), it offers guidance for future planning efforts, as the County and private developers make investments in civic facilities and new developments, within the context of other County priorities and plans.  

Staff began the process to update the document in 2017 with an intense phase of research, followed by robust community engagement, including steering committees, a widely distributed questionnaire, public open houses, and two artist-led community engagement activities. 

The updated PAMP newly positions public art as integral to the County’s evolving priorities, such as fostering equity, supporting its natural resources through sustainable practices, leveraging its innovative businesses and workforce, and creating a sense of place in its urbanizing corridors. It accomplishes those goals while preserving some of the strongest aspects of Arlington’s approach to public art —its fundamental commitment to artistic quality, its focus on engaging with the most treasured places in Arlington’s public realm, and its flexibility in working with many partners to achieve outcomes that satisfy a broad range of goals.  

As a result, public art will continue to be a timely and timeless resource, responding to current community priorities while creating a legacy collection of artwork which defines places that are socially inclusive and aesthetically diverse features of Arlington’s public realm.

As you move about Arlington this holiday season, take note of the several new works installed in the last few months for all to enjoy: Fire Lines by David and Eli Hess at Wilson Boulevard’s new Fire Station 10; or Sky Column by Douglas Hollis at the new Long Bridge Aquatics and Fitness Center. These are works to inspire and be enjoyed by all, and much more is to come in 2022! The successful implementation of our visionary PAMP and our growing collection of public art and creative placemaking projects assures me that Arlington’s identity as a creative community will continue to grow - regionally, nationally and globally.

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