Artists encouraged to apply to build COVID memorial in Fairfax Co.

Leaders in Fairfax County, Virginia, are calling on artists in the region to throw their hats in the ring as the county looks for someone who can build a memorial that will recognize the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The memorial site has already been located and we know exactly where it’s going to be,” said Jeff McKay, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

That site is near the entrance to the county’s public safety headquarters along Government Center Parkway in Fairfax.

Applications will be accepted now through April 12, and artists who are interested can apply online.

During the pandemic, about 243,000 COVID cases were reported in Fairfax County, resulting in more than 1,600 deaths.

“We’re looking for something that will be inspirational but also something that will reflect some of the challenges we went through,” McKay said.

The opening of the application process was first reported by FFXnow.

Artists who apply should have “experience in public artwork design and fabrication” and should have “interest in working in the public realm with community members and stakeholders,” the county said.

As part of the application, artists are asked to submit up to five artwork samples.

“This is a great platform for somebody to shine,” said McKay. “It’s a high-profile location.”

A $200,000 artist fee will include “design, materials, fabrication, insurance, travel, packing, shipping, installation and a maintenance plan for the artwork,” according to the county.

The memorial will be at the center of an existing circular brick plaza, and the use of water as part of the artwork is encouraged.

“There’s a fountain that no longer works, and the hope is to replace that fountain area with this memorial,” McKay said.

It’s not clear exactly what the memorial will look like yet, whether it will be a statue or something else entirely.

“We don’t know, and that’s the great thing about art,” McKay said.

A virtual information session is scheduled for Feb. 1 at 3 p.m. during which artists who are interested can ask questions and learn more about the project.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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