Public art pops up in Penn Daw

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Mural at North Kings Highway entrance to South Alex (Credit: Google Maps)

Another community along the Richmond Highway corridor is getting splashes of color from local artists.

This past August, Jared and Aaron Scales, brothers who launched the BroCoLoCo design firm from their Washington, D.C. apartment a decade ago, spent nine or 10 days under the hot sun painting two brightly colored murals at the South Alex residential and retail complex.

According to BroCoLoCo co-founder and project manager Jared Scales, the pair initially presented property manager Combined Properties with a theme-based design concept tying into the local area, but the client had different ideas – largely inspired by South Alex’s artfully inspired and vibrant interior spaces.

The building’s exterior had lots of brick and masonry work that lacked punch, said Scales, so Combined Properties wanted “something that was going to pop and stand out from other stuff.” They also wanted art for art’s sake.

BroCoLoCo responded by going big and bold, ensuring that the murals — located on the North Kings Highway and Poag Street sides of the building — can be seen from afar.

South Alex mural on Poag Street adjacent to ZIPS dry cleaners

Soon those murals may be joined by others in the immediate area. The Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation (SFDC), which teamed with Community Art for Everyone on a mural at 8121 Richmond Highway earlier this year, is preparing to survey the community on several mural design concepts for the ZIPS Cleaners adjacent to South Alex. According to SFDC Executive Director Evan Kaufman, Community Art for Everyone will again manage the art project, which Kaufman hopes to get funded soon by a grant from Arts Fairfax.

The opposite side of Richmond Highway may be getting more color too. Across the highway from ZIPS, another commercial property owner is in talks with SFDC about a potential mural, Kaufman said.

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