One year ago, an empty parking lot, a shuttered adult movie store, and an eyesore of a wall started a journey of transformation. It is rare instance when such a disused space exists within 200′ of a metro station, and the opportunity was not missed by a few ambitious minds. After months of work, and just in time for summer, there is now a great reason to hop off the Silver Line at the Greensboro Drive station – Art, Beer, and Public space.
The art gallery Art Whino, based in National Harbor, and the Tysons Partnership, will be unveiling one of the largest murals in the region on April 29th, with a reception from 6-9pm. Local artist, Naturel, has applied his trademark style of abstracted fashion prints, patterns, bold colors and strong lines on a 20′ x 100′ garage wall right outside north entrance of the Greensboro Metro Station.
“Luxury Lilies” is a ‘futuristic blend of pop and cubism’ depicting floating lilies against a backdrop of bright fashion patterns, and style icons. Naturel’s recent work includes art campaigns for Hypnoiq, Mountain Dew, and celebrities, including Rihanna, Spike Lee and Lebron James.
Of the mural, he says,”This massive mural is the first major project than I have done in my hometown. I’ve been blessed to work on an array of artistic endeavors throughout the world, each time I tried my best to represent myself, my family, and my hometown. This project gave me the opportunity to to bring all those experiences home and show all my folks from here the possibilities of turning your aspirations into your livelihood.”
The Tysons Partnership facilitated a collaboration between the owner of the wall, Beacon Capital Partners, and adjacent property owners, The Meridian Group, and NV Commercial, to create what is sure to be a destination for art enthusiasts.
Tysons Beer Garden, tucked between the Mint Hookah bar – already the burgeoning scene of Tysons’ after-dark crowd – and the mural, will be opening shortly to serve up frosty beer in front of this masterpiece. Speaking with the owners this past Saturday, they have no small plans for the current dilapidated parking area.
As the owner of Tysons Beer Garden, Matt Rofougaran, has been astute to notice, the site is ideally positioned to receive the Silver line riders, and become a social hub. In addition to a wide selection of drafts, local and imported, the Tysons Beer Garden will be converting most of their parking into outdoor seating, and entertainment space. Set against the backdrop of “Luxury Lilies”, it could be Tysons’ best pint-sipping experience.
The Greensboro Metro station empties onto two complimentary uses that activate great urban space: a new beer garden, and a large public art installation – all coming together on a dead-end parking lot. The aging asphalt lot is separated from the mural by a weedy strip of grass that runs all the way up to the beer counter window.
While the mural certainly activates the space, could it physically integrate the social space? Could the social landscape reach up the wall? Could the mural inform the form and aesthetics of the spaces it activate?
One added bonus of beer gardens is growing hops. With a little care, they make a great urban plant – twining around a simple cable, they prefer to grow straight vertical, ideal for the confines of the city. They are perennial, coming back stronger every year; and they provide the quintessential beer-drinking backdrop.
The dead-end asphalt lot, with its fading geometry of parking spaces, will soon be a bustling plaza with little trace of its former purpose. The parking, angled and leaving wasted triangles, subtly reflects the geometry of Naturel’s linework.
Here is where possibility exists to extend mural into the horizontal plane; creating spaces or terraces, varying in surface material/color/or shape. As the pattern matures, spaces emerge for planting in open ground against the wall. Hops vines on cables, connecting to the wall at the mural geometry, and the horizontal planes, give the wall a 3rd dimension, bringing a seasonal dynamic to static art in a living public space.