The Richmond Highway Bus Rapid Transit project is taking a step forward this month in the art category, as students from area high school art classes entered their art creations in a contest to decorate the new stations.
It's called the "Community Charm" initiative which "is focused on integrating artwork into each BRT station to reflect the history, identity, and character of the neighborhoods surrounding each station area," the project information read.
The students are working on artwork for seven of the nine stations on the future BRT, bus rapid transit that will run like a train on tires in the middle lanes of Richmond Highway from Huntington to Fort Belvoir. The BRT line is part of a bigger project called Embark that is aimed at revitalizing that whole stretch of Richmond Highway. Embark Richmond Highway is an initiative focused on creating a multimodal future for Richmond Highway Corridor where residents, workers, and visitors can walk, bike, or drive to the places they want to go, project information states. Other steps already in the process for Embark include artwork murals on buildings in the corridor, apartment projects at Huntington, Hybla Valley and Lockheed Boulevard, and a widening initiative that VDOT plans for the southern segment of the highway.
Hayfield Secondary focused on the Huntington Station, Kings Crossing (formerly Penn Daw) and Beacon Hill. Casey Shannon, a photography teacher at Hayfield, organized the effort with some of his Photography 2 and Photography 3 students. “It was important that the artwork connect to the history at that station,” he said.
For the Huntington Station, there are two pieces of artwork from students of Hayfield Secondary who focused on a military theme based on the old Fort Lyon that used to be on land in that part of the corridor. The artwork for Kings Crossing was also Hayfield students focusing on a theme of "Roadside Historic Motels, Restaurants, and the History of Mount Eagle." At Beacon Hill, the artwork followed the theme of Historic Beacon Hill Field Airport and Historic Groveton.
When all the planning and pictures were done, the students presented it to officials, which included Supervisor Dan Storck (D-Mount Vernon) and other county officials including the Department of Transportation. “It was a huge learning experience,” Shannon said.
West Potomac and Mount Vernon high schools had the Lockheed Station, Hybla Valley and Fort Belvoir. Since the Lockheed Station will be close to Huntley Meadows, the art was closely in line with the biodiversity of the wetlands of Huntley Meadows and shows how “nature and humankind are forever connected" the description read.
The theme for the Hybla Valley station artwork was Retail Hub, Diversity, and Multiculturalism and the two contesting pieces of art focus on that. The Pope Lehigh House and the Arcadia Farm were themes for the Woodlawn art and Belvoir was all about the U.S. Army museum, the yellow ribbon representing deployed family members and the American flag.
For Storck, getting the student’s artwork for the stations added a local feel and youthful perspective. “While we did not know what to expect, we were pleased by the variety of submissions we received and are honoring the students by now taking them to the public for comment and feedback,” he said.
See all the selections and more https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/rhbrt14