Normally year-end lists arrive just before New Year's Eve. But by that time, anyone venturing out into the cold is concerned solely with traveling from Point A to Point B in the fastest possible manner, not public art viewing. So I thought I'd go ahead and offer a reroute through the streets of Arlington, with stop-offs at some of my favorite pieces of public art. That way, you'll have several weeks of lovely fall weather to rediscover some of Arlington's best statues, sculptures and murals.
Flame - 950 Glebe Road, Ballston
Start your day at sunrise and see the rays of the early morning sun glitter on the panels of Flame, an interesting trophy-like sculpture.
Bud/Blossom - 4250 Fairfax Drive, Ballston
Not too far away is stop No. 2 -- a symbol of the new day that lays ahead, a symbol of rebirth. Reflect on the day before you and the unknown that will unfold as time passes by appreciating the giant metal replication of a budding flower. And if you're hungry, how about a bison burger with an egg on top for breakfast at Ted's Montana Grill.
Spielschiff - Arlington Arts Center, 3550 Wilson Blvd., Virginia Square
If you brought the kids along for your art walk, then there's no better place to enjoy some exercise with the little ones than at this piece of imaginative playground art. Public art for the adults, a colorful, fantastic ship for the kids. Everyone wins.
Naga - 3010 Clarendon Blvd., Clarendon
Worked up a sweat and appetite playing on the last piece of public art? Why not stop for lunch? Sit down and debate the merits of pieces of public art provided by real estate developers over a few slices of pizza at Circa. If you sit on their terrace, you can stare out at some interesting decorative elements -- Naga -- which some consider to be "public art."
Invisible Forces - 2500 block of Clarendon Boulevard, Clarendon
Get your mystery on at this intriguing totem pole of a sculpture. It's attractive and puzzling. If the mystique wears you out, there's plenty of grass around on which to take a nap.
Helix - 1800 block of Wilson Boulevard, Rosslyn
There are a few pieces of public art in Courthouse worth visiting, but you're tired so I'll keep you moving on down the hill. Don't worry, only three more stops and you've had your cultural dosage for the day. Stop and rejuvenate yourself with coffee and a treat at Cafe Assorti. And while you nibble on your biscotti, you can contemplate the stark black, organic form of this bronze statue.
Anna and David - 1525 Wilson Blvd., Rosslyn
I don't need to tell you to stop for this one. You're bound to notice the bold colors and dimensions of this towering sculpture as you stroll down Wilson.
Bike rack folk art (unnamed) - Gateway Park at 1300 Lee Highway, Rosslyn
End your tour with my favorite piece of public art in all of Arlington: Two hilarious sculptures woven into a rusty bike rack. I love all types and forms of folk art, but I especially love public folk art. These playful sculptures have spunk and everything I hope for in public art: humility, imagination, functionality.
Congrats, you're slightly more cultured than you were this morning. And an added bonus, you're right next to the Metro, so you can get back home easily if you're tired of walking.
Until next time, happy public art walking.