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MCC seeks artwork creation to celebrate 50th anniversary

Artists being sought for sculpture, mural
McLean Community Center officials are asking artists to apply to produce a mural and sculpture for the center's 50th anniversary in 2025.

McLean Community Center officials plan to go all-out with 50th-anniversary celebrations next year, and earlier this month began soliciting artists to create a sculpture and mural to grace the facility and its Old Firehouse Center.

“It’s a really fantastic way to celebrate the 50th and leave a lasting thing in the community,” said Betsy May-Salazar, the center’s executive director.

One project will have a selected artist or team design, make and install a permanent sculpture in spring 2025 at the community center, located 1234 Ingleside Ave.The artwork, based on MCC letters/logo, will be placed on the plaza area behind the building that faces Dolley Madison Library. The intention behind the sculpture is to welcome residents to the center and increase the facility’s visibility and identity.

“The art should be recognizable from a distance, with a strong day and nighttime presence,” center officials said in announcing the call for artists. “It should be engaging from all angles/directions and include interactive elements, such as seating, while ensuring safety.”

The site for the sculpture is ideal for creative place-making, said Lisa Mariam, who chairs an ad-hoc committee overseeing the two public-art projects.

“It’s a high-visibility area, and one of the goals of the 50th-anniversary programming is to increase visibility of the MCC,” she said. “The typographic sculpture will be a lasting presence on the MCC campus attracting passersby and library patrons.”

A selection committee will pick the winning artist/team and officials will award the contract in early November. Review of the final design will take place in January 2025 and installation is slated for next April.

The $80,000 fee for the artist or team will cover the sculpture’s design, materials, production, insurance, travel, packing, shipping, installation and maintenance plan.

For the second project, the artist or team chosen by MCC officials will design, produce and install a permanent, 16-by-80-foot mural on the rear wall of the Old Firehouse Center, 1440 Chain Bridge Road.

The mural “should express civic pride, showcase the diversity of the McLean community and provide place-making for the area,” MCC leaders said.

The selection committee again will choose the winner and officials will award the contract in early November. Next year, public-engagement workshops will occur in January through April, the final design will be reviewed in May and the mural installed in August.

“The nature of the mural project invites community input, whereas we were very specific about what we wanted for the typographic sculpture utilizing the MCC logo to create the artwork,” Mariam said.

MCC officials have budgeted a $30,000 artist fee for the project, which will cover design, public engagement, insurance, travel, site preparation and the mural’s materials, fabrication, installation and maintenance plan.

Artists interested in doing either project should submit applications including a statement of interest, résumé, five to 10 images of previous works, up to one video and professional references.

Applications for both projects are due by Aug. 16. Artists whom officials invite to submit proposals and undergo interviews for the sculpture and mural projects will be given honorariums of $500.

Mariam is an art historian who has worked at the National Gallery of Art on projects such as the National Gallery’s Sculpture Garden. She more recently helped ArtsFairfax coordinate its Imagine Art Here public-art engagement projects and now serves the Fairfax County Public Art Master Plan Task Force.

Mariam was upbeat on the public-art projects’ impacts for McLean.

“The projects will be sources of community pride, provide an increased sense of place and celebrate the MCC’s 50th anniversary,” Mariam said.