The Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture and the Arlington Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion invited artists Sonya Quinlan Khan, Molly Scannell, and TJ Reynolds to explore some of Arlington’s diverse stories. Each artist created 3 portraits responding to the theme of “Friends & Neighbors” for display on lightpole banners in Arlington Center, choosing their own subjects.

The result – Friends & Neighbors: Arlington Stories – showcases people who are significant in the artists’ lives in Arlington; teachers, small business owners, musicians, community leaders, relatives, all essential to the fabric of our community. Molly, TJ and Sonya’s representations of their neighbors, each done in a style entirely their own, come together to remind us that though we look through different eyes, we are all intimately connected and each of us brings something worthy to our collective endeavor of building community.

In an age of polarization and isolation, now is the time to listen and hold each others’ stories. Art reminds us that this capacity is within us, if we can only slow down long enough to pay attention, and suspend our judgment to see with clear eyes. Let these banners brightly displayed on our flagpoles awaken you to the complex web of stories we all carry. Allow yourself to wonder about your neighbor, to appreciate who they are and all they have done, extend that same curiosity and gratitude to yourself, and Arlington will truly be a place of friends and neighbors.

The banners will be on view from mid-April through May 30, 2024. Many thanks to Nilou Moochhala, who designed our title banners and managed the printing process, and Town of Arlington’s Department of Public Works for installing them. Thanks as well to Mind’s Eye Yarn, 449 Mass Ave, for generously hosting our window display of art and stories to accompany the banners.

You can see all of the banner images with explanations, and info on the artists here.

Special thanks to the Arlington Cultural District, the Mass Cultural Council, and the Town of Arlington

Kelly Lynema, Department of Planning and Community Development, Town of Arlington | klynema@town.arlington.ma.us

Elizabeth Locke, Executive Director, Arlington Chamber of Commerce | info@arlcc.org