It’s been all art all the time at the Mason District Governmental Center this month. A fabulous new mural was installed in the Police Department side of the building earlier this month, and unveiled for the Commander’s Advisory Council on September 6. The colorful mural covers an entire wall, and is the first thing an officer sees when he/she walks into the station from the police parking area.
Created by former Mason District Station police officer John Kiernan, the community-oriented painting includes renditions of Culmore, Skyline, Bailey’s Crossroads, and Plaza at Landmark. The Annandale Cannon, Columbia Pike, and bike patrol officers are highlighted, and the Mason District Governmental Center itself is depicted with a police cruiser parked nearby. One small scene includes a traffic stop, and a nod to technology is a patrol officer entering data in a cruiser’s CAD system. All of the scenes are painted on a red, white, and blue backdrop.
The centerpiece of the painting is a scene of a police officer and a little girl, possibly a runaway, sitting on identical stools in a restaurant (Juke Box Diner in Annandale) while a restaurant manager looks on. The scene has a Norman Rockwell introspection – simple but telling whatever story you wish to imagine. It appears one has lifted a spyglass or monocular that captures just one moment in time. The details of the counter tiles, the officer’s grey shirt, and the coffee pot are so lifelike that you can feel the coolness of the tiles, the crispness of the fabric, and even the aroma of the coffee. The mural captures the essence of community policing that is the hallmark of the Mason District Station.
The major cost of the project was underwritten by Dr. James Dryden, a local dentist, and Plaza at Landmark Shopping Center. Captain Gun Lee, current commander of the Mason District Station, noted that the project was conceived when now-Major Ted Arnn was the station commander. Both men were present for the unveiling, and revealed to me the tiny personal touches included to commemorate their leadership in the project. Although the mural is not available for viewing by the general public – it is a tribute designed for the officers themselves – arrangements are being made for a photo display of the work in the center’s lobby.
At the same time the police mural was being mounted, Stephanie Bianco, co-president of the Springfield Art Guild, installed her solo show in my office as part of the Art in the Workplace program. The show presents an eclectic mix of mediums, including bright watercolors, misty ethereal natural scenes, and collages. One photograph features a realistic two-story computer lab. When I asked about it, Stephanie told me it actually is a photo of a doll house presentation. You need to see for yourself! The office gallery at the Mason District Governmental Center is open from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Don’t forget the 32nd Annual Mason District Park Festival this Saturday at the Park, 6621 Columbia Pike in Annandale. Hours are 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.; admission is free. The Festival features arts and crafts vendors, children’s rides, and live entertainment on the showmobile stage. I look forward to seeing you there.
Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be e-mailed at [email protected]