Mirror image: Alexandria art installation invites viewers to get a closer view

A grandfather and his grandson enjoy the new art installation in Alexandria, Virginia. (WTOP/Liz Anderson)
A grandfather and his grandson enjoy the new art installation in Alexandria, Virginia. (WTOP/Liz Anderson) (WTOP/Liz Anderson)
A new art installation hopes to make Alexandria, Virginia, an arts destination. (WTOP/Liz Anderson)
A new art installation hopes to make Alexandria, Virginia, an arts destination. (WTOP/Liz Anderson) (WTOP/Liz Anderson)
"Mirror Mirror" is a temporary art installation in Alexandria, Virginia. (WTOP/Liz Anderson)
“Mirror Mirror” is a temporary art installation in Alexandria, Virginia. (WTOP/Liz Anderson) (WTOP/Liz Anderson)
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A grandfather and his grandson enjoy the new art installation in Alexandria, Virginia. (WTOP/Liz Anderson)
A new art installation hopes to make Alexandria, Virginia, an arts destination. (WTOP/Liz Anderson)
"Mirror Mirror" is a temporary art installation in Alexandria, Virginia. (WTOP/Liz Anderson)

Alexandria wants to solidify its reputation as a Virginia arts destination, and a new installation hopes to do just that.

Saturday’s warm temperatures had people enjoying the outdoors, and where the waterfront meets King Street, visitors can find a display aptly named “Mirror, Mirror” — the inaugural work for the City of Alexandria’s Office of the Arts series called Site/See: New Views in Old Town.

The piece, created by Michael Szivos of the New York-based design studio SoftLab, takes inspiration from the Jones Point Lighthouse, located south of the installation.

The historic lighthouse used a Fresnel lens, technology widely used in 19th century lighthouses and still found in some modern-day camera lenses. It uses prisms to concentrate a source of light, which is then narrowed and projected over the open sea.

The circle-shaped mirrored installation reflects the environment. There’s an opening for visitors to step inside and behold the reflections and color spectrum.

As a DJ spun hits, children ran and frolicked about, dogs panted with wagging tongues and tails, others dug in on their ice cream cones, and others yet bopped their heads to the beat. WTOP caught up with two visitors, Nereida Gonzalez and Louis Pinckney, enjoying a quick dance before stepping inside the piece.

“It’s incredible, it really is. It’s beautiful. It’s innovative for a very traditional area,” Gonzalez said.

“I also think it’s a great location. It’s outdoors, it’s airy. And at the same time, being that this is one of the first weekends where we actually had good weather, it really makes it a centerpiece for conversation, and as you can see, a whole bunch of people are taking pictures and just kind of, sort of, celebrating it,” Pinckney said.

Gonzalez and Pinckney are from New York, but they now call the D.C. area home. Gonzalez said she thought of New York when she first saw the installation. “It looks like something you’d see in a modern museum of art,” she said.

Another visitor John Nguyen enjoyed the installation with his grandson Grant Cox. They were out and about for a little grandpa-grandson quality time. “You’re seeing yourself in a different perspective. You have to be here in person to appreciate it,” Nguyen said.

“I think it’s really cool how you can, like, see yourself in the mirror and there’s different colors inside,” Cox said.

The installation will end in November.

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