Public Art in Alexandria

Page updated on Dec 29, 2017 at 11:28 AM

Public art is permanent or temporary works of art that have been planned in collaboration with the community and executed by artists with the specific intention of existing in the public realm, accessible to all.

The City of Alexandria uses the Public Art Archive to catalog and share its collection.  Created by the Western States Arts Federation (WeStAF), the Public Art Archive is a free, searchable, and cross referenced online platform that catalogs public art collections from all over the country.  The database includes all of the information related to a work of public art including images, video, and mapping.

To view the City of Alexandria's collection click here.

Public Art Implementation Plan & Policy

In 2012, the Alexandria City Council adopted a policy to grow the City's public art into an inspired and engaging program that reflects the City's unique history, people, cultural identity, and future aspirations. To support this growth, the City has commissioned the development of a Public Art Implementation Plan which was approved by City Council in December, 2014.

The Public Art Implementation Plan is a comprehensive, community-based plan that outlines a vision, goals and objectives for the public art program in Alexandria. The Plan sets priorities for the goals and funding of projects; provides a framework for the shared financial and professional resources needed; and defines the procedures for decision-making and oversight needed for public art projects to be successful.

For a full copy of the Public Art Implementation Plan & Policy, click here.
To view a text version of the Public Art Implementation Plan & Policy, click here.

Current Projects

Lake Cook Public Art

The City of Alexandria Public Art Program has selected artist David Hess to join the Lake Cook design team to integrate public art into the Lake Cook stormwater retrofit project. 

The objectives of the Lake Cook Stormwater Retrofit project are to increase the lake’s capacity to reduce stormwater pollution and enhance the recreational elements of this facility. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the project and provide feedback on the proposed public art, expected to be finalized by the spring of 2018.

Click here for more information about the public art project.

For more information please contact Diane Ruggiero at or 703.746.5590

Simpson Park Public Art

The City of Alexandria Public Art Program has selected May + Watkins Design to create the public art at Simpson Park. The public art is part of a larger redesign of the playground area at the park.

For more information please contact Diane Ruggiero at or 703.746.5590

Burke Library

The Burke Library is located in a two-story building on Seminary Road that dates to 1968 and is an interesting example of Modernist architecture in Alexandria. Seminary Road is busy with traffic and the library is across the street from the Francis C. Hammond Middle School, giving the library grounds high visibility and especially high use by youth.

Starting in 2002 and until recently, the first floor was used by the City’s school district for offices. Now that the first floor is vacant, the library will undertake a facility plan to study how to reuse the space. It will base its planning on a community needs assessment study that found a need for technology training and additional library programs related to STEAM. 

The Public Art Annual Workplan included an outdoor artwork that can increase the visibility and the prominence of the library. The sculpture could be located on the grounds along Seminary Road, or sensitively integrated into the façade of the building.

Work on the public art project for Burke Library will begin in early 2018.

For more information please contact Diane Ruggiero at or 703.746.5590

Duke Street Tunnel Public Art

The City of Alexandria Public Art Program, in collaboration with the Department of Planning and Zoning, has commissioned new public art for the Duke Street Tunnel as part of the City’s Carlyle Vitality Initiative - a program to enhance Carlyle neighborhood’s vitality and quality of life by implementing physical and programming enhancements to activate the public realm. The budget that was provided was up to $20,000 for newly commissioned work. 

The Duke Street Tunnel was created in 2004 to allow pedestrian traffic to travel between the King Street Metro station and the Carlyle neighborhood. In average, 3,000 people walk through this pedestrian tunnel each day. Most of these users are employees working for businesses located in the area, like the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).

Two separate public art projects have been commissioned - ZeroZero Collective will design an interactive project that will be installed in 2018. Mike McConnell will design a 2project that will be installed in Spring, 2018.

For more information please contact Diane Ruggiero at or 703.746.5590

Alexandria Art Purchase Award

The City of Alexandria is purchasing original art to add to the City’s art collection and to display in City-owned buildings. The theme of the first Alexandria Art Purchase Awards is “Neighborhoods and Gathering Places.” Artists, art galleries, and art consultants working or residing in Virginia, Maryland or Washington, D.C. were encouraged to apply. Of the 109 artworks submitted, ten where chosen to go on display at City Hall. At the end of the three month exhibition, the City will purchase artwork based on the recommendation of the Alexandria Commission for the Arts. The ten finalists can be seen on the second floor of City Hall from December 22, 2017 to March 30, 2018. 

For more information please contact Matthew Harwood at or 703.746.5432

Recently Completed Projects 

Traffic Control Box Wraps 2016 

The City of Alexandria Public Art Program selected artists Jennifer Brewer Stone, Ian Cage, and Alison Sigethy to each create four original designs for twelve traffic boxes along Beauregard Street and Seminary Road for the 2016 project.

To see images of some of the new wraps and to learn more about the artists, click here.

For more information about this project contact Matthew Harwood at 703.746.5432 or e-mail   

Traffic Control Box Wraps 2015

The City of Alexandria's Public Art Program invited artists and artist teams residing and working in Virginia, Maryland, District of Columbia, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee to submit their qualifications for the Traffic Control Box Vinyl Wrap Public Art Project.

Project Overview:  Two artists and one artist team were selected to design wraps for 12 traffic control boxes located at intersections along Duke Street in Alexandria.  The wraps cover all four sides and the top of each box.  Traffic Control Box Map

To learn more about the project and the artists who participated, click here.

New Murals in Alexandria

In Spring, 2016 two new murals will be installed on City property in Alexandria.

The first mural will be on the utility building at the Miracle Field at Nannie J. Lee Center. The We Live Big mural is designed by artist Matt Corrado and celebrates the diversity and courage of the players who use the field. The mural is a collaboration between Miracle Field, the Kelley Cares Foundation, lululemon and the community. The mural is scheduled to be completed in time for Opening Day on April 23, 2016. To see a draft of the mural click here.

The Torpedo Factory Art Center is adding a mural to the loading dock door on Union Street. Designed by artist Erin Curtis the mural will add vibrancy to the exterior of the Factory and celebrate the arts. To see a draft of the mural click here.  

Public Art Condition Assessment

The Office of the Arts hired Conservation Solutions to evaluate 18 city-owned works of art.  The works of art include sculptures, murals, plaques, fountains, gardens/landscapes, community art projects, and other objects, including historic works. 

The evaluation was conducted between May 23 and June 11, 2013.  All works were assessed from ground level without additional access (scaffolding, man-lift, etc.).   The report was received in August, 2013 and shared with the Alexandria Commission for the Arts and the Public Art Committee.

The report outlines the current condition of each work and includes photos documenting the condition, a condition description, condition determination (excellent, good, fair, poor, deteriorated), treatment recommendations, and the overall priority for treatment within the collection (low, medium, high) for each artwork.

The Office of the Arts will use the conservation assessment to develop a multi-year public art maintenance plan and budget.  Updates and/or changes to the maintenance plan will be shared with the Alexandria Commission for the Arts and the Public Art Committee.

To view the report, click here.

Public Art Annual Workplan FY16 - FY18

Each summer the Alexandria Commission for the Arts appoints a task force that convenes for a limited time and collaborates with staff on the development of the Public Art Program's Annual Workplan. Prepared each year, the Annual Workplan outlines which new projects the Public Art Program will initiate, indicating where the projects are located and what the proposed budgets will be. It indicates which projects are being carried over from previous years, and identifies two years into the future what goals and projects should be considered, even though future-year budgets and projections are subject to change.

The Public Art Annual Workplan outlines projects that the City’s Public Art Program will undertake in FY17 - FY19, indicating where the projects will be located and what the proposed project budgets will be. The Alexandria Commission for the Arts reviews and approves the workplan at their meeting each September.

For the current Public Art Annual Workplan click here.

Alexandria residents are encouraged to participate in the development of the workplan throughout the year by sending ideas and comments by email to Diane Ruggiero at