National Harbor Launches Guide by Cell for its Extensive Outdoor Art Collection

By Editorial Team on February 12, 2019

Over the past 10 years, National Harbor has  acquired and commissioned a large number of artworks by local and nationally known artists. Most of this outdoor art collection is along American Way in the Waterfront District at National Harbor. The tour begins at the waterfront with the world-renowned sculpture, The Awakening by J. Seward Johnson, a giant rising out of the sand. The tour continues up steps lined by two mosaics by artist Cheryl Foster. Two amazing 4500-pound stainless steel eagles with 14-foot wingspans rise over the Belvedere Plaza atop 60-foot poles. The eagles are by artist Albert Paley and sit above the spectacular terrazzo mural by Steven Weitzman.

On the edge of the Plaza, five lifelike sculptures by artist Ivan Schwartz represent all five branches of the military. The collection continues up American Way towards National Harbor Boulevard.  Milton Peterson, the visionary and developer behind National Harbor, has curated the art over the years and strategically placed it to delight and entertain visitors as well as residents. It has long been Peterson’s dream to have an outdoor gallery that not only celebrates art but also celebrates American history.

“In addition to our prime waterfront location and the many attractions at National Harbor, we want visitors and residents to also be able to enjoy our unique collection of art in a beautiful outdoor setting,” explained Deborah Topcik, director of marketing at National Harbor.  “Our outdoor art gallery is open to the public at no charge and now we also have a great guide-by-cell tour that explains the art, the history of many of the persons depicted in the art, and the artists who created the art.”

Moving along American Way, there are statues of historic icons George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Henry Ford (along with an actual Model T automobile), Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Louis Armstrong and Rosie the Riviter—all by world-renowned sculptor Ivan Schwartz. Each figure tells his or her story on the Guide by Cell.

J. Seward Johnson has created additional sculptures along American Way including “Forever Marilyn” (Marilyn Monroe), “The Kiss” and “Bag Lady.”  David Strohmeyer’s “Tool De Force,” a 13-by-17-by-18-foot painted steel work depicts modern American tools.

Other works of art are positioned along American Way and throughout National Harbor including Albert Paley’s “The Beckoning” towering 85-feet high at the entrance of the Waterfront District and Norman Greene’s “Five in the Wind” along the waterfront.

“This is a great way for history to come to life,” said Topcik. Many of the statues tell their own history on the Guide-by-Cell tour. “It’s a fun way to get outside, walk and see great and interesting works of art with an educational component as well,” Topcik added. National Harbor has always prided itself on it’s easy, walkable streets.

The Guide by Cell tour can be downloaded by texting ACNH to 56512.

For more information on National Harbor, go to www.NationalHarbor.com.

(via National Harbor. Photo courtesy of National Harbor.)