Introducing your child to art comes with a variety of benefits, like improved learning skills and cultural appreciation. From murals to sculptures, Virginia’s public art scene is thriving. Use our guide to find art installations in Port Potomac and watch their love of art blossom.
Potomac Science Center
Grab the kids and head to George Mason University’s Potomac Science Center for a look at Fauna of Belmont Bay. This large-scale mural graces the facility’s parking deck. Murals at Mason commissioned TakerOne to paint the 26-foot-tall by 146-foot-long painting. This former graffiti tagger and street artist’s signature, photorealistic style contrasts with a surreal background to stimulate your imagination.
The installation faces Woodbridge’s Belmont Bay Harbor Marina and features a beautiful scene of Virginia’s native wildlife. The University’s goal is to partner with artists to create greater public visibility for its research initiatives. With this mural, educators aim to promote awareness of local species and to provide an inviting learning site for school-age children.
The Clearbrook Center of the Arts
Located in Lake Ridge on Tacketts Mill Drive, The Clearbrook Center of the Arts is a vibrant space on the lakeside level. Staff founded the gallery to bring artists and enthusiasts together. This 5,500-square-foot gallery offers room for creatives to explore their talent, a meeting place for cultural events, workshops, and phenomenal public showings. Resident artist Nicholas Zimbro helped spearhead the center’s opening in 2017 and lined its walls with dramatic artwork. It’s also a venue for music, photography, literature, theater, dance, and culinary arts.
The center’s indoor Community Garden installation features work by Zimbro and emerging local artists like Nelson Gutierrez’s pieces entitled Zebra and Siddhartha Gautama. These collage and acrylic murals on masonite are 8 feet tall and 20 and 12 feet long, respectively. Toddlers are welcome to wander the hall and discover this showing’s striking colors.
Even modest projects like the center’s benches further engage the creative community. For example, boy Scout Troop 295 made the center’s handsome ashwood seats, and Northern Virginia Community College Woodbridge Campus art students painted them in various themes within the Clearbrook’s studio. This art center is only open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so remember to plan ahead.
“‘Wrought, Knit, Labors, Legacies’ by Olalekan Jeyifous” licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr by Ron Cogswell
Waterfront Park in Alexandria is home to the city’s Site See: New Views in Old Town art program. This innovative approach to public art features an annual series of temporary installations. The Department of Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Activities’ arts division aims to make the park a world-class destination for art lovers like us.
This civic space helps foster community engagement and interactions with compelling attractions like Mirror Mirror by SOFTlab. This piece invites visitors to see things in a new way. The Groundswell display by Mark Reigelman honors the area’s history with 130 wood pilings representing the legendary Potomac River’s contours, while the piece “Wrought, Knit, Labors, Legacies” by Olalekan Jeyifous touches on the cultural issue of the exploitation of men and women.
Ellen Coolidge Burke Branch Library
Alexandria Commission for the Arts and the city’s public library system collaborated on a commissioned work for its Burke branch as part of its growing public art program. The purpose of this outdoor piece is to generate visibility for the library and serve as a neighborhood landmark.
Project One Studio designed the artwork, and the commission approved the concept in early 2021. Artists will fabricate and install the piece titled Confluent Threads at the library soon. It features brightly colored fibers woven together that mimic the community’s rich diversity. So keep your eyes open for this permanent installation at the library on Seminary Road.
Artist David Hess created “Sound Stream” for Lake Cook. This interactive work stands along Eisenhower Avenue and features a pair of stainless steel sculptures in the shape of cones. The pieces are connected by a whimsical pipe that dips underground below the walking path near Cameron Run Regional Park. It allows you to talk to other guests by capturing and carrying the sound of your voice.
This art installation represents the relationship between sound and water, reminding us that theoretical upstream events impact the health of our community. Hess installed this piece on an easily accessible island separating Strawberry Run and the lake. Take a minute to drop a line in this urban fishing pond and stormwater management system. It’s a terrific destination for families of all ages.
Rollingwood Shopping Center
The Rollingwood Shopping Center near the intersection of Minnieville and Smoketown Roads offers local art enthusiasts something more than just retail therapy. It stars a playful mural with geometric interpretations of local birds, like Cardinals and Blue Jays.
This mural transforms a drab wall in this busy shopping center into something delightful. You can spot the design by Washington D.C. studio BroCoLoco from multiple spots around the parking lot. This firm is world-renowned for implementing large-scale commercial murals and installations like this one.
The National Harbor at Waterfront Street is famous for its vast collection of murals, sculptures, and statues. If your family loves a good scavenger hunt, text ACNH to 56512. This interactive guide is the ideal way to bring art alive as you tour the Harbor.
Start with J. Seward Johnson’s piece, “The Awakening,” which stands in welcome on the waterfront. Then, gaze at Steven Weitzman’s spectacular terrazzo mural as you climb the Spanish Steps. Next, look for statues of famous American leaders like George Washington and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, plus cultural icons like Marilyn Monroe and Rosie the Riveter.
Well, that’s a wrap! Crème de la Crème of Port Potomac just shared some of the best places in the area to find art installations. What do you think of the destinations we picked? Did we include your family’s favorite place to experience art and culture? If we missed it, let us know! Drop us a line so we can be sure to add it to our list.