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East City Art

Artist Talk: Tuesday, July 10 from 9pm to 10pm.

Cliff Garten Studio is pleased to announce, Gravity and Grace, a site-specific large-scale LED public artwork integrated into the architecture of JBG SMITH’s new Central Place Plaza in Arlington, Virginia.

JBG SMITH, Arlington Public Art and the Rosslyn Business Improvement District invite the public to a free On-Site Artist Talk, on Tuesday, July 10 from 9:00pm until 10:00pm, at Central Place Plaza, 1800 North Lynn Street, Arlington, Virginia 22209.

The public Central Place Plaza features a covered pavilion, performance stage, a splash pool, and plentiful public seating. It serves as the main gathering point for all of Rosslyn and is home to the Rosslyn Farmer’s Market, various concert series, and entrance to the Rosslyn Metro station. Through July 12, artist Cliff Garten will be on-site daily until 10pm programming the new piece.

The work is 150-feet long by 15-feet high and occupies the top two bays of the parking structure above the plaza. The ever-changing artwork incorporates real-time environmental data that organizes its spectral shifts of color. Both color field painting and blues guitar inspired the design of the artwork. If the work of art were played on a guitar, you might say that the programmed environmental factors are really what are strumming the chords of color you see on the wall. This project is sponsored in part by Arlington Public Art and created in collaboration with Norm Schwab of Lightswitch and Pablo N. Molina of PNM Designs, who wrote specific algorithms that incorporate the data into an aleatory system that drives the color and motion transitions in the artwork.

The title Gravity and Grace relates to the artwork’s programming software, use of environmental data, and the effect of intense color on the viewer. The software has a limited number of particles described as having the quality of gravity within the particle system. The environmental data driving the artwork also possesses a gravity in its inference to our tenuous existence, as our actions cause the earth to change. The significant pieces of real-time environmental data tied to the artwork vary daily and show significant fluctuations over long periods of time, such as temperature and extreme weather tied to climate change. This shifting data introduces chance into the structure of the artwork pulling data from factors like local variations in Arlington’s temperature, river level, traffic patterns or water usage.

As a result, when these two gravities come together to create successful compositions of color they create a state of emotional grace. Within the artwork color is organized at two levels. At the larger structural level, the overall grids, blocks of color, and animations that comprise the wall change in a mathematical sequence. The second more fine-grained shifts of color happen within these larger blocks and their transitions create a depth and resonance.

JBG SMITH is an S&P 400 company that owns, operates, invests in and develops assets concentrated in leading urban infill submarkets in and around Washington, DC. Our mixed-use operating portfolio comprises approximately 20 million square feet of high-quality office, multifamily and retail assets, 98% of which are Metro-served. With a focus on placemaking, we drive synergies across the portfolio and create amenity-rich, walkable neighborhoods. JBG SMITH’s future development pipeline includes 17.9 million square feet of potential development density at our share. For additional information on JBG SMITH, please visit

Cliff Garten is an internationally recognized sculptor and founder of Cliff Garten Studio in Venice, CA. By connecting people to places and infrastructure through sculptural material, social history and ecology, Garten’s work locates the latent potential in public places to become more than the specific functions they perform. Garten is the recipient of two Individual Artist Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, two Bush Foundation Fellowships, and the Jerome Foundation Travelling Artist Grant. His civic sculptures have consistently been named best in the nation by The Americans for the Arts Public Art Network and have been cited for design excellence by the American Society of Landscape Architects. Garten received a Master of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design and a Master of Landscape Architecture with Distinction from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. For more information on Cliff Garten Studio please visit

Arlington Public Art is a unit of Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development, which delivers public activities and programs as Arlington Arts. Our mission is to create, support, and promote the arts, connecting artists and community to reflect the diversity of Arlington. We do this by: providing material support to artists and arts organizations in the form of grants, facilities and theater technology; integrating award-winning public art into our built environment; and presenting high quality performing, literary, visual and new media programs across the County.

Central Place Plaza is located at 1800 North Lynn Street, Arlington, VA.