Coming Together Mural,by Barbara Januszkiewicz. This project was a collaborative effort with the business owner and the artist-designer to brighten a pedestrian walk way area that was generally neglected. The intent of the collaboration was to build a stronger connection within the neighborhood. The mural was designed to bring the community together in a way that celebrates our diversity in Arlington using an abstract design of fine art. The initial process required understanding and examining many issues related to the physical space and then to develop a plan and methods to positively address the common area.
The artist-designer was given support and resources to explore the values and needs of citizens who visited the business owners’ restaurant as well as being aware that the pedestrian walkway was shared by an adjacent building – a seven story mixed- residential condominium building that also supported a small art community of five art studios and gallery space. Both agreed that there was a great need to connect the neighborhood business and building art studios which were effectively invisible to the public. The design and materials chosen for this project were the direct result of this collaborative planning effort. It was important to address ways to help engage the community with the art design process and build a welcoming environment.
What was previously a dark neglected walkway is now a transformed, well-maintained, safe, and inviting environment with a landscape area and a fine art mural that exemplifies the partnership between an artist and a business owner. Residents now regularly use this area as part of their jogging traveling paths, as well as a favorite location to visit. A marriage proposal was also witnessed there last May, as reported in Arlington Magazine.
This project, entitled Coming Together, has helped with the revitalization, preservation, and redevelopment of the area. In this effort, fine art was a universal language that assembled the participants with different perspectives and ultimately birthed a space of beauty that all could be proud of for a long time. While the mural and its title were developed to convey a global feeling, its execution was truly a local one.