Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A Note from the Crystal City BID President/CEO, Angie Fox

Note as delivered at the Kick-Off Party...
"Two weeks ago, for what has to be at least the 1000th time since I moved to Arlington more than 17 years ago, I landed at National Airport. And, as that Boeing MD-88 pulled into the Gate, I thought, as I always do, I love my neighborhood airport!! Within 5 minutes, I was in Crystal City at the office and 5 minutes more, I was home. Where else in the world does that happen?

Crystal City has it all. Location, Access, and, to slightly modify an old phrase, Transportation, Transportation, Transportation. This is about celebrating that transportation connection specifically as it relates to Air. We are thrilled and honored to launch Crystal Flight - A Celebration of Art and Air.

As a recovering electrical engineer, I am all about convenience and efficiency sort of like Crystal City. But, as we have all learned, that is not enough. We need sparkle, fun, and whimsy to make us whole. That is what the BID is about - Crystallizing Crystal City - making it whole. At first glance, that project is about as cumbersome as eating an elephant. But, as this vegetarian has been told, you eat an elephant one bite at a time, and that is what we have begun. We started at the beginning alphabetically speaking.

A - Art. First...Artomatic, which brought more than 32K people into Crystal City over six weekends last April. Second...Arena Stage. We have seen our restaurants up more than 10% and it has only just begun.

Now, its Airplanes. And, to ensure we make a statement, we've bought 50 of them. I remember telling my four-year-old son, Tatton, "well, Mommy bought 50 planes today!" He was like, COOL!! And, he was right!! They are COOL! 25 are vintage props, 25 are fighter jets. We have 50 designs from amazing artists and wonderful area sponsors. Please give a huge hand for our sponsors and our artists who are meeting for the first time here today. The planes are the media, and the art is the message. In April, these 50 airplane sculptures will land on the streets of Crystal City, symbolizing that Crystal City is truly taking off!"

"But, there is much more. This idea is not new. In fact, when we first started kicking this program around, we heard a lot of "It's been done before" comments. Clearly, we disagree. That is because Crystal City is all about the execution and relevance. This isn't cows. It isn't pandas. This is airplanes. From the beginning, people have been fascinated by flight. They love all forms of flight from the Birds and the Bees, to Balloons, Rockets, and Jets. The Smithsonian Air/Space Museum continues to be one of the most visited museum in the world. People want to see and fly. And, we want people to come see and fly. Crystal City is a hub a center of Air. From National Airport, to the USAF Cycling Race, to Boeing, Northrup Grummond, and Lockheed Martin (just to name a few).

Needless to say, this is a huge undertaking for this little team of four, but we have the best sponsors you could ask for. In addition to the actual plane sponsors, we have three major partners who, without which, we would not be here. First, there is Lowe Enterprises Real Estate Group, who generously provided the workshop space in this building to store and decorate the planes. It Is our ARTIST STUDIO and people can actually come and watch the artists in action.

Then, there is
Miller and Long, who graciously donated the 50 451-pound concrete bases to have them installed on the streets does not look good to have planes laying on the ground.

And, finally, there is
JK Moving and Storage, Inc. We were told that three tractor trailer trucks (3 Semis) would deliver these planes, and we had the bases on which to put them, but the concept of putting them together was a little beyond us. In stepped Steve Wilder from Boeing who said, "You need to call JK Moving and Storage.” He was right. They pulled it all together. They provided the critical technical support for the handling of the planes and they will put them on the streets when the time comes. Steve Kuhn and his team from JK Moving & Storage have moved mountains (and lots of planes) to make this work and we are extremely grateful.

Please come by the Artist Studio in the Century Center Buildings and watch the progress. Stop by this blog often as we will provide frequent updates over the course of the next two weeks and beyond. On April 13th, the Crystal City BID will also be sponsoring Crystal Block, an outdoor street festival of music and libations celebrating not only some of the areas best and most original restaurants, but also the "landing" of the completed Crystal Flight statues on the streets of Crystal City.

Thank you and I hope to see you on the streets soon!"


Anonymous said...

These overnight Art Pieces are blooming along with the Cherry Blossoms and warming temps! What fun to see the planes and various designs show up today. Love 'em!


Anonymous said...

The planes are great and add something 'cheerful' to the office conversation. Everyone is smiling but no one knew why they were here.