Public Art in Alexandria

Page updated on Nov 6, 2019 at 6:48 PM

Public Art Implementation Plan & Policy

Public Art Plan Cover - Color Small 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.


Public Art in Alexandria

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.

For more information about these projects, contact Diane Ruggiero at diane.ruggiero@alexandriava.gov or 703.746.5590.  


Current Projects

2019-SiteSee_MirrorMirror_Interior-PublicArt-TN

Waterfront Park

Waterfront is the location for the new public-art series, Site See: New Views in Old Town . The initiative brings contemporary public art installations to Alexandria that change from year to year. The aim is to attract visitors, foster interactions with contemporary art, and enrich the waterfront experience in Alexandria.

Mirror Mirror by SOFTlab is the inaugural exhibition. Click here for more information about the expanded Waterfront Park.


Public Art Coming Soon

Alexrenew public art residency

The City of Alexandria Public Art Program in collaboration with Alexandria Renew Enterprises (AlexRenew) is currently seeking an artist for the first public art residency. 

Click here for more information about AlexRenew and the public art residency.



Public Art Coming Soon

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

Click here for more information about public art at Burke Branch Library.


Public Art Coming SoonDuke 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. 

Click here for more information about public art at Duke Street Tunnel.


Public Art Coming Soon

Public Art on Trails & Paths

The City maintains a network of paved and unpaved trails throughout its parks system. The Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities would like to draw more attention to these trails as a resource and to attract more users. The proposal is to develop artist-designed infrastructure or art installations in a focused area of the multi-use path system, as a way of launching broader projects and improvements throughout the system. 

Stay tuned for more information about public art on Trails & Paths.


Recently Completed Projects 


del ray play at simpson park playground

 May + Watkins created three wonderfully unique pieces for the new playground at Simpson Park in Del Ray. The larger climbing structure includes steps and a ramp for a birds eye view of the park. Underneath is a tunnel for children to crawl through. The two free-standing mosaic pods are also climbable and complement the playgrounds overall theme of explorative play. May + Watkins also deigned the art-deco inspired gate at the new entry to the playground. 


sound stream at lake cook

 Artist David Hess created an interactive artwork for the newly designed Lake Cook along Eisenhower Avenue. Sound Stream features two horns, connected by pipe underground, allowing visitors to communicate with one another from opposite sides of a peninsula. Lake Cook and its surrounding environment inform this piece, as dramatic fluctuations in water level lead to changes in the landscape of this stormwater management site. Just as people can speak into one side of this sculpture and hear it through the other, events that occur upstream of this lake impact the health and vibrancy of its waters. The park has become a destination due to its new exercise path, bisecting the sculpture at one location, and its popularity for trout fishing.



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 matthew.harwood@alexandriava.gov or 703.746.5432


Time & Place: Gadsby's Tavern Museum

Artists explore the intersection of contemporary art with Alexandria’s long, rich, and multifaceted history in Time & Place: A Conversation about Art, History, and Community.

In this inaugural year, three artists from our region— Sheldon Scott, Stewart Watson and Lauren Frances Adams—use research-based practices and work in a variety of media to create thought-provoking temporary works that are inspired by the storied past of Gadsby’s Tavern.

Time & Place is an initiative of the Alexandria Office of the Arts’ public art program, in partnership with the Office of Historic Alexandria. The goal of this compelling project is to foster exploration and dialogue about our region’s history and its continued reverberations within our community today.

Visit @alexartsoffice on Twitter and Instagram. Follow and post with #TimeandPlaceALX to join the conversation online.

Click here for more information about the Time & Place project.


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 matthew.harwood@alexandriava.gov.  


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.


Public Art Condition Assessment

The City of Alexandria Office of the Arts hired EverGreene Architectural Arts to evaluate the City's public art collection.  The works of art include sculptures, murals, plaques, fountains, gardens/landscapes, community art projects, and other objects, including historic works. This assessment builds upon the 2013 assessment in accordance with the approved Public Art Implementation Plan and Policy.

The evaluation was conducted between November 12 and December 12, 2018.  All works were assessed from ground level without additional access (scaffolding, man-lift, etc.). The report was received in February, 2019 and shared with the Alexandria Commission for the Arts.

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 2018 report, click here.

To view the 2013 report, click here.

For more information please contact Matthew Harwood at matthew.harwood@alexandriava.gov or 703.746.5432


Alexandria residents are encouraged to participate in the development of public art throughout the year by sending ideas and comments by email to Diane Ruggiero at diane.ruggiero@alexandriava.gov

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