A local American Legion post is getting a new mural
July 14, 2023
An American Legion post in Virginia Square has a new mural prominently displaying three young Legion representatives and encouraging more to join.
The 22-by-15-foot mural can be found at the American Legion Post 139 at 3445 Washington Blvd, which will soon re-open to members within a new affordable apartment building, Terwilliger Place, which replaced the former post building. It is also less than a mile from another muraled building, American Legion Post 85.
Arlington resident, Navy reservist and Legion member Richard Rodriguez Jr. is displayed on the far left side of the mural. He told ARLnow the piece is intended to grab the attention of younger community members and encourage those who are currently enlisted or recent veterans to join the American Legion.
“Legions are looked at as a resource for older people, so the purpose behind this mural was to target younger people and pay tribute to the sacrifices that they have also made,” he said. “Younger members are always welcomed and encouraged to be in this organization.”
The idea for the mural came about because his father, Richard Rodriguez Sr., also an Arlington resident, took an art class.
Patrick Sargent, who owns the art business Sargent-Thamm Printmakers and shares a studio at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, told ARLnow that he met Rodriguez Sr. while teaching an art class at George Mason University. A veteran himself, Sargent used the GI Bill to get art degrees needed to teach.
“Richard took a couple of classes of mine, including an advanced printmaking class, which is where the mural idea came from,” Sargent said. “That was about a year and a half ago. We came up with designs, we had a meeting with the [county], who approved our initial designs and then after some minor changes we began painting what ended up on the wall.”
Sargent told ARLnow that after a few finishing touches, the mural in acrylic paint should be done in about a week.
The mural also pays tribute to the military monuments in Arlington, the county’s proximity to D.C., and the influence that proximity has had on the Legion.
“Behind the three main subjects are different memorials in the area in black. The D.C. skyline is also included, as Arlington and the Legion act as a gateway to the nation’s capital,” Sargent said.
Sargent and Rodriguez began painting the mural with the help of their children and neighbors at first, but as the piece began to expand Sargent told ARLnow that community volunteers and residents of the building helped with the painting of the mural.
“It went from this blank wall to this thing the community gathered around,” Sargent said.
Original Article by Hallie LeTendre, July 10, 2023 https://www.arlnow.com/2023/07/10/a-local-american-legion-has-a-new-mural-that-is-nearly-complete/