Tysons Corner Center extends project to showcase local artists into 2023

An opportunity for local artists to gain exposure at the D.C. area’s biggest mall has been extended through the new year.

ArtsFairfax, the nonprofit arts agency for Fairfax County, announced on Dec. 22 that it will continue to partner with Tysons Corner Center owner Macerich to bring temporary art installations to the mall.

The collaboration was originally set to conclude on Dec. 31, 2022, but the quality of the 19 submissions that they received convinced ArtsFairfax and Macerich to keep the portal open for 2023. All artists and arts organizations based in Fairfax County and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church can apply.

“We had some excellent applicants, and they wanted to be able to accommodate more artists on an ongoing basis,” ArtsFairfax Senior Director of Grants and Services Lisa Mariam said. “We continue to be getting the applications and interest.”

The first exhibition resulting from the initiative, which launched in July, is currently on display in the second-floor hall outside Macy’s.

Developed by ArtLords, an Afghanistan-based street artist collective with an office in Tysons, the installation features 30 paintings that were either rescued from Afghanistan when the Taliban took over the country in August 2021 or created afterwards by recently evacuated artists.

An opening reception will be held from 6-8 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday) to celebrate the installation, which is scheduled to remain on display through February.

To involve more artists, Tysons Corner Center will open up additional sites for exhibits, including a space by Barnes & Noble where ArtLords is planning to add a mural, according to Mariam.

The applications are collected and vetted by ArtsFairfax but chosen by Macerich. Mariam says the real estate company is currently negotiating agreements with at least two other artists.

In addition to lending some color to Tysons Corner Center and giving artists a platform to display their work for the 22 million people who visit the mall each year, the partnership has helped ArtsFairfax get acquainted with new artists and organizations, Mariam says.

“It’s been a really great experience for us, because through gathering these proposals, we’ve been learning about a lot of new artists that we weren’t even aware were living or working in Fairfax County,” she told FFXnow, noting that making those connections now will be especially useful as the agency gears up to do a census of local artists.

ArtsFairfax obtained funding for the census project in November, though Mariam said it’s too early to share details of exactly what it will entail. The count will help the agency know what services it needs to provide and focus its advocacy efforts on behalf of the arts community.

The findings will be integrated into a Master Arts Plan that the agency is developing with Fairfax County.

Eligibility criteria and other information about the Tysons Corner Center partnership can be found at ArtsFairfax’s submissions portal. The mall has committed to keeping each installation up for at least eight weeks.

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