Mount Vernon Plaza debuts nature-focused murals


One of the new murals at Mount Vernon Plaza

In recent weeks, new artwork has been popping up along the Richmond Highway Corridor.

At Mount Vernon Plaza in Hybla Valley, paintings of birds and plant life have begun adorning the facades of several buildings housing retail tenants. The shopping center’s property manager, Federal Realty, contracted with BCT Design Group to create the murals.

According to Deirdre Johnson, Federal Realty’s senior vice president for asset management, the murals are an extension of the parklet that opened at the retail plaza last fall and are designed to build upon Mount Vernon’s sense of community. The art was inspired by the notion of living outside the hustle and bustle of everyday life, with birds and florals serving as the underlying theme, she said.

“There is no better means to connect with people than through art,” said Johnson. “This mural provides a unique photo opportunity by featuring elements of the community and environment while engaging with customers as they enjoy the property.”

Adding artwork to the corridor has been a priority for the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation (SFDC), which unveiled a mural at 8121 Richmond Highway last spring and has been in talks about implementing others. SFDC Executive Director Evan Kaufman said he’s happy to see other property owners take on public art in support of his organization’s “paint the corridor campaign.” He also is looking forward to helping activate Mount Vernon Plaza’s parklet this spring with events like live music, movie nights, game nights and other social activities.

In coming years, community-centered artwork will adorn the bus stations that are part of the Richmond Highway Bus Rapid Transit system. Students from several local schools and community centers have been working on designs for that project.

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