Arlington Art Truck
The Arlington Art Truck delivers interactive art projects to where you live, work, and play! Photo © Elman Studio LLC for Arlington Arts
The Arlington Art Truck is a curated mobile tool box for artists-in-residence to engage the public from April to October in interactive art projects designed to blur the line between participant and presenter, citizen and government. The Arlington Art Truck was nominated for the 2019 Robert E. Gard Award from Americans for the Arts and launched in 2018 with a National Endowment for the Arts grant.
Arlington Art Truck will be cancelled in the case of inclement weather. For the most updated news, follow us on Instagram.
Friday, May 21 – Sunday, June 20, 2021 at various locations
Beginning Monday, June 28 at lobby of Ellen M. Bozman Government Center, 2100 Clarendon Blvd
TAKE AND DISCOVER: A map to find letter-pressed cards located at many of the original sit-in locations that honor the 60th anniversary of the seven lunch counter sit-ins.
LEARN: About the desegregation of Arlington’s lunch counters through seven sit-in protests that occurred from June 9-22, 1960.
Arlington Arts visiting artist Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. has been working for the past three years to bring awareness to Arlington’s civil rights history with a focus on the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Stratford Junior High School in 2019 and the 60th anniversary of the lunch counter sit-ins in 2020.
Mr. Kennedy creates prints, posters and postcards from handset wood and metal type, oil-based inks, and eco-friendly chipboard. Much of his work is inspired by proverbs, sayings, and quotes that are significant to the place where he is working.
Mr. Kennedy has made seven letter pressed cards to honor the 60th anniversary of the seven lunch counter sit-ins that took place in Arlington between June 9–22, 1960. The sit-ins were peaceful protests that challenged widespread segregation policies.
To pay tribute to this history, Arlington Arts has placed a stand at many of the original sit-in locations where commemorative 60th anniversary letter pressed cards can be collected free of charge. It is our hope that you will visit one or more of these locations to gather your own collection of Kennedy’s cards while considering this part of the County’s history. Each location will feature a different card.
View historic event display and pick up a map of community locations in the lobby of Ellen M. Bozman Government Center, 2100 Clarendon Boulevard and the Black Heritage Museum of Arlington located at 2611 Columbia Pike.
Pick up letter pressed cards at the following community locations:
- Lee-Harrison Drug Fair, now Mattress Firm located at 5401 Lee Highway.
- Peoples Drug Store, now CVS located at 4709 Lee Highway.
- Howard Johnson, now Capital One Bank located on Lee Highway. This card is available at Lebanese Taverna, 4400 Old Dominion Drive.
- Cherrydale Drug Fair, now Hair Vogue located at 3815 Lee Highway.
- Buckingham Drug Fair, now CVS located at 265 N. Glebe Road. This card is available at Glebe Market, 300 N. Glebe Road.
- Woolworth-Shirlington, near what is now Guapo’s and the Lansburgh Department Store, demolished, near what is now Stellina Pizza. These two cards are available at BusBoys and Poets in Shirlington, 4251 Campbell Avenue.
Exclusive photographs and interviews with Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. conducted in his studio by Detroit documentary photographer, Garrett MacLean can be viewed by following @arttruckarlington on social media. This social media immersion will conclude in June with posts scheduled for the exact moments that the sit-ins occurred 61 years ago.
This project is organized by Arlington Public Art and the Arlington Art Truck, programs of Arlington Arts in collaboration with the County’s Historic Preservation Program, Arlington Public Library’s Center for Local History and Arlington Transit’s Art on the ART bus program.
The community partner for this project is the Black Heritage Museum of Arlington, Virginia.
Read about the project in the James Renwick Alliance Fall 2020 Craft Quarterly.
TAKE & MAKE: Free postcards and a zine created by the artist that includes tips on how to write positive letters and messages. Write a postcard to an important person in your life.
MEET: Justyne Fischer, Arlington printmaker and art teacher
LEARN: About the importance of positive support through the written word
Here’s a project to help you ‘accentuate the positive’ amid today’s challenges. Share positivity through the written word using a zine guide and postcard kit with woodcut portraits by Arlington printmaker Justyne Fischer. To inspire you, the artist selected five prominent women educators and activists of varying backgrounds that reflect Arlington’s diversity: Hazel Mahler, Dorothy Hamm, Dr. Evelyn Reid Syphax, Dr. Phoebe Hall Knipling, and Dr. Emma Violand-Sánchez. Use the postcards to write a note to a teacher, mentor, parent, student or community member. Have writer’s block? Flip through the included zine to start brainstorming ideas of gratitude. To receive a free kit in Spanish or English, either submit your address via the online form so we can mail it to you or pick up one when you see the Arlington Art Truck out on the streets and in the parks this summer.
The community partner for this project is the Center for Local History, Arlington Public Library. The Center for Local History and its Community Archives collect and preserve the material that document the evolving history and culture of Arlington County. Contribute to their COVID-19 archives project.
Photographs by Tommy Bobo
SEE & MAKE: Colorful ephemeral artwork on urban surfaces using the sun and color wands designed by the artist.
MEET: Tommy Bobo, a Washington, DC artist who produces video and light-based artwork, and a representative from the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy (AIRE).
LEARN: About the physics of light, Arlington’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2050, and the local solar energy cooperative.
Capture the excitement and wonder of a child with a magnifying glass and re-envision the world around you: Chromatic Curiosity provides visitors with a collection of shaped mirrors and colored lenses to creatively explore their surroundings. Manipulative mirrors redirect the sun’s beams, and brightly hued lenses transform ordinary colors into fantastic spectacles. With these tools, form radiant new light compositions on the ground, building walls, or other objects around the Arlington Art Truck. Like wearing rose-colored glasses or looking through a kaleidoscope, viewers can inspect purple apples, blue grass, and the red sky and think about how light plays an important part of our life.
Our Community Partner for this project is AIRE, the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy. Learn about Arlington’s initiative to be carbon neutral by 2050, the Arlington Solar and EV Charger Co-Op, and more. AIRE is a division of the Office of Sustainability & Environmental Management.
Behind The Truck Design
The Arlington Art Truck’s exterior has colorful and witty illustrations hand painted by internationally renowned artist Stephen Powers. Stephen worked alongside Arlington Art Truck curator Cynthia Connolly to create a “parade of usual and unusual art supplies” including Cynthia’s saddle shoes and Leica camera as a nod to their collaboration. Paying homage to his start as a graffiti artist and tagger, the blank side of the Truck outlined in dotted lines will feature magnetic interchangeable letters in his signature style. About the Artist