Patrick McDonough: Portrait of a County by a Youngish Man
Jenkins Community Gallery
Through the project Portrait of a County by a Youngish Man, artist Patrick McDonough pays homage to the unsung workers of Arlington County, the individuals who repair our streets and sidewalks, maintain our parks, and beautify our public spaces.
The exhibition includes eight drawings, completed as the second phase of the project, which originally began in 2019 as a public art project outside Arlington Arts Center. During the first phase of the project, McDonough asked Arlington County Parks and Recreation to refrain from mowing a large area on the front lawn of AAC. After two months, he mowed down the lawn and used the harvested grass to make paper.
The drawings on view in this exhibition are portraits of Arlington County employees, drawn by McDonough on the paper made from this grass. The eight employees who participated in the project have all worked directly with Arlington Arts Center in recent years. They have repaired the roads and sidewalks outside AAC’s building, maintained the building itself, and partnered with AAC on public art and community-oriented events. Through Portrait of a County by a Youngish Man, McDonough honors their work and points to the often-overlooked labor that goes into building and sustaining a vibrant community like Arlington.
About the Artist
Hailing from the idiosyncratic landscape of Wisconsin, Patrick McDonough is best known for his populist, vernacularly-styled interventions into a variety of municipal, cultural, and public contexts. His previous projects include collaborations with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Van Alen Institute with DC Office of Planning, Arlington Public Art, the Ballston BID, and the DC Department of Parks and Recreation, among many other private and public entities. McDonough previously taught at the Corcoran College of Art & Design and American University, among other institutions, and is currently a public high school teacher near Washington DC.