In January, Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) celebrated the opening of its newest affordable rental community, Columbia Hills. With 229 new affordable apartments, Columbia Hills is APAH’s largest construction project to-date. The building includes several spaces specifically designed as formal and informal gathering spaces for residents.
During the project’s development, an interior design team put forward an art package for APAH to consider for the building’s public spaces. It was at that point that APAH staff began the conversation about the richness of the local arts community and what it could bring to those who live at and visit Columbia Hills. The conversation turned into commitment, and APAH decided to select the work of local artists to adorn the walls of this new community. Integrating the arts more fully into our lives enriches us, and because engaging in the arts brings individuals together, it fosters community. Art brings beauty, it enlivens spaces, it broadens horizons, and it sparks conversation.
In collaboration with Susan Soroko, Director, Creative Economy with Arlington Economic Development, and artist David Carlson, member of the Arlington Commission for the Arts, APAH explored several paths that led to finding local artists and viewing their work. Inspired by the partnership between Arlington Community Federal Credit Union and the Arlington Economic Development Cultural Affairs department which brought public art into the local built environment, the exploration began with a viewing of the work at ACFCU’s Glebe Road location and expanded from there. Connections were made with visual artists who are part of the Columbia Pike Artists Association, the Lee Arts Center, and the Arlington Artists Association.
Inspired by beauty, meaning, artistic processes, and regional connections, APAH’s Columbia Hills collection now includes work from artists Helen Ginberg, Barbara Januszkiewicz, Bryan Jernigan, Sharon Malley, Wes Muntain, Marta Sewall, and Lloyd Wolf. The work on display also includes a piece on loan from David Carlson. Artists represented in this collection worked in oil on primed and unprimed canvas, woodcut, acrylic on wood, mixed media, and giclée. Each piece that graces a wall at Columbia Hills includes an artist statement that shares the story of the work, including its inspiration and its process.
APAH is thrilled to share with residents the vibrancy that the work of local artists brings to neighborhood living and gathering spaces. Plans are in the works to engage residents further through future art talks and creative workshops.