Arlington Celebrates 30 Years of Public Art

  • 30 years of placemaking by Arlington Public Art

  • Dark Star Park Day to recognize one of nation's first major examples of “integrated public art”

  • Arlington Public Art one of nation's most respected programs

ARLINGTON, Va. – Friday, August 1 will be “Dark Star Park Day” in Arlington, amarking the start of the County's celebration of 30 years of Public Art placemaking in our community.

Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette will officially proclaim “Dark Star Park Day” at a celebration starting at 9 a.m. at Dark Star Park, 1655 Fort Myer Drive, in Rosslyn.

“We invite everyone to join us in celebrating the Public Art that enriches our community and each of us as individuals,” Fisette said. “Arlington's Public Art program effectively leverages public and private funding, and showcases the work of many artists. Today, you can find Public Art across our County – art that is fun, art that makes you think, and art that simply delights the senses.”

Dark Star Park is one of the first major examples of “integrated public art” in the nation, and Arlington's first major commissioned public art project. On this day each year, known as Dark Star Park Day, shadows cast by the poles and spheres that make up the public art piece align with permanent forms in the shape of the shadows on the ground beneath them at precisely 9:32 a.m. It also marks the anniversary of the day William Henry Ross purchased the land that later became Rosslyn, where the park is located.

The day kicks off a celebration this fall of Arlington Public Art. Future events include a panel discussion and special public art bus tours. For more details, visit the Arlington Public Art website


In 2000, 16 years after Dark Star Park was built, the Arlington County Board adopted a Public Art Policy. The policy goals included integrating art into the County's architecture, urban design and infrastructure planning; celebrating Arlington heritage; enhancing the County's image; fostering enjoyment of public art; promoting artists and encouraging federal, state and private support for the County's public art program. In 2004, the County adopted a Public Art Master Plan.

Today, Arlington is home to more than 60 permanent Public Art projects, and is one of the most well-respected programs in the nation. Arlington Public Art also has hosted more than 40 temporary Public Art projects since 1987, and continues to partner with local arts organizations, artists, and community organizations to develop, launch, and present interpretative projects, exhibitions, and more.

Arlington Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the “10 miles square” parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. Slightly smaller than 26 square miles, it is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, and one of only a handful with the prized Aaa/AAA/AAA bond rating. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods and quality schools, and has received numerous awards for Smart Growth and transit-oriented development. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world — including the Pentagon — Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.