Our office is open 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. M-F

703-324-9300 | TTY 711

12055 Government Center Pkwy, Suite 755
Fairfax, VA. 22035

Jenée Padmore, Revitalization Planner

Paint it, Fairfax!

Call For Artists

The Paint It, Fairfax! Murals program is open to established professional artists living in the Mid-Atlantic region. Artists residing in the DC Metropolitan Area and particularly in Fairfax County are encouraged to apply. All applicants must be at least 18 years of age. If submitting as a team, a professional artist must be the lead team member.

All interested artists should review the program guidelines in the sections below and then complete a “Call for Artist” application in order to be included in program database. Artists will be notified whether their application has been selected.

logoIn 2023, the Community Revitalization Section received Board approval and funding to establish a pilot mural program, entitled Paint it, Fairfax! This is the county’s first mural program and is limited to the Commercial Revitalization Districts and Areas (CRDs/CRAs). The purpose of the Paint it, Fairfax! program is to engage the community to showcase its unique assets and build vitality in the CRDs/CRAs through creative placemaking efforts. 

Murals as a placemaking tool assist in shaping the physical and social character of an area. For purposes of this program, a mural is defined as a painting or work executed directly onto an exterior surface accessible to the public without a commercial message. The best murals can nurture the distinctive qualities of a community or place and can serve to celebrate community members or local establishments, while also being inviting to visitors.

Paint it, Fairfax! will inspire a commitment to public art that builds on Fairfax County’s Strategic Plan goal of fostering an equitable community through its support of community arts and culture. The goals of the program are to:

  • Improve the physical environments within the CRDs/CRAs
  • Facilitate and compliment placemaking goals for the CRDs and CRAs
  • Create positive change within our community, utilizing art and community engagement
  • Develop new opportunities for social connections
  • Develop programming at murals sites
  • Celebrate the unique assets, history, and character of our CRDs/CRAs
  • Align with the identity and place vision of each area 
  • Help improve the attractiveness and economic competitiveness of our older commercial districts

Program Guidelines

To learn more about the murals program and how to apply, please read thru the sections below (click to expand). The murals program is anticipated to begin unveiling murals in 2024. 



The purpose of the Paint It, Fairfax! murals program is to engage the community in the county’s Commercial Revitalization Districts and Areas (CRDs/CRAs) to showcase its unique assets and build vitality through creative placemaking efforts. A mural for the purpose of this program is defined as a painting or work executed directly onto an exterior surface accessible to the public without a commercial message.

Goals of the Program

  • Improve the physical environments within the CRDs/CRAs
  • Facilitate and compliment placemaking goals for the CRDs and CRAs
  • Create positive change within these areas utilizing art and community engagement
  • Develop new opportunities for social connections
  • Develop programming at murals sites
  • Celebrate the unique assets, history, and character of our CRDs/CRAs
  • Align with the identity and place vision of each area 
  • Improve the attractiveness and economic competitiveness of these areas


The murals program leaders and stakeholders should use the following principles to guide their efforts. 

  • Murals should be considered in private developments within the CRDs and CRAs, as well as in community or public facilities.
  • Murals should be commissioned as part of the overall design of a new development site, to the fullest extent possible, not as an afterthought.
  • Location of the murals will respond to CRDs and CRAs established community planning and urban design strategies.
  • Murals commissioned in all CRDs and CRAs will be visible and accessible to the public.
  • Murals should be integrated into the design of buildings, public spaces, landscapes, and community infrastructure.
  • Projects will be artist-led that engage the community. 

Mural Priorities

To maximize the effectiveness and impact for revitalization a mural should:

  • Add value to the community
  • Attract residents and visitors, and can be viewed positively by businesses
  • Be relevant and meaningful to residents and community members
  • Be practical, durable, and reasonable in approach, design, and maintenance
  • Transform a space and incorporate innovative elements, where possible
  • Seek to engage with people, including possibly being interactive

Eligible Areas

Program funding and technical assistance is available to eligible mural projects located within a Fairfax County’s Commercial Revitalization Districts and Areas, which includes the following:  

  • Annandale Commercial Revitalization District
  • Baileys Crossroads and Seven Corners Commercial Revitalization District
  • Lake Anne Commercial Revitalization Area
  • Lincolnia Commercial Revitalization Area
  • McLean Commercial Revitalization District
  • Merrifield Commercial Revitalization Area
  • Richmond Highway Commercial Revitalization District
  • Springfield Commercial Revitalization District

Maps of these areas can be found at - select Districts & Areas from the topical headings and select the specific District or Area from the listing on the left-hand side for the map you are interested in.

Eligible Surfaces

The following list of external surfaces are eligible for placement of a mural.  Note, permission of the property owner is a requisite before any art work can be commissioned.

  • Walls of Buildings (publicly or privately-owned)
  • Closed Business windows
  • Concrete Barriers
  • Construction Barriers
  • Fencing
  • Walls (non-load bearing)
  • Parking Decks

SECTION TWO: Muralist Database and “Call for Artists”

The Community Revitalization Section (CRS) will establish and maintain a muralist database consisting of professionals that demonstrate they can develop and install a mural consistent with the Paint It, Fairfax! program guidelines. The database will be managed by CRS and stored on Fairfax County’s shared drive with approved access to those on the Site and Artist Selection Committee (SASC). The database will have a folder for each approved artist that includes the artist’s resume with references, statement of interest, portfolio, and any other material deemed relevant. 

The CRS will initiate a “Call for Artists” process to form the pool of qualified muralists for potential projects in Fairfax County’s Commercial Revitalization Districts and Areas (CRDs/CRAs) (see Appendix I). These pre-screened qualified artists will be eligible to compete for Paint It, Fairfax! mural projects.  

Artists chosen for the database will be notified by CRS staff and will be placed on a mailing list for alerts regarding upcoming mural projects in the County’s CRDs/CRAs.

Artist criteria for each “Call for Artists” will be established and approved by CRS. The requirements will be published with the “Call for Artists” request. Muralists will be asked to submit their portfolio, resume, and any other relevant body of work that illustrates the artist’s capabilities.  The criteria may be modified yearly at the discretion of CRS.  Preference will be given to local and regional artists.  This pre-screening process helps ensure that candidates meet the program’s minimum qualifications.  It is possible for muralists not chosen for the database to still compete for specific projects through the program’s “Call for Project Submissions" process (see Appendix II). 

After the initial “Call for Artists” process, additional “Call for Artists” processes may be held periodically, as needed. Artists not chosen will receive an explanation and a chance to resubmit for the muralist database. The artist may resubmit during subsequent “Call for Artists” processes. Acceptance to the muralist database does not guarantee selection for a mural project. 

The murals program periodic “Call for Artists” will be promoted through Fairfax County social media, ArtsFairfax social media, Workhouse Arts, news outlets, local universities, colleges, and through art-focused associations. It will also be posted on the Fairfax County DPMM website and on the CRS website.

SECTION THREE: Site and Artist Selection Committee (SASC)

The Paint It, Fairfax! mural program will use a Site and Artist Selection Committee (SASC) to assist in the process of identifying and selecting sites and artists for mural projects. The SASC will be charged with understanding the role of murals and the power art has on the public realm. The committee will be entrusted with guiding the selection of muralists for specific sites within the CRDs/CRAs and making a final recommendation to the Director of the Department of Planning and Development for approval and funding of specific mural projects. 

The SASC will have seven members. The standing membership will be comprised of three people: the Paint it, Fairfax! murals program manager, a representative from ArtsFairfax, and the CRS Section Director.  There will be four rotating slots that will be specific to each CRD or CRA. The rotating membership will be comprised of the property owner(s) or their representative, a representative from the corresponding Supervisor’s Office, the Revitalization Program Manager for that District, and a revitalization partner representative.

SASC Member Responsibilities:

  • Review and make recommendations on proposed mural sites 
  • Review and provide input on artist’s submissions
  • Review and select a project artist
  • Review and select artists’ concepts for mural project
  • Assist with community engagement process for a mural
  • Be engaged and provide feedback that will be helpful to the muralist and community 
  • Help ensure an orderly, fair, and transparent process that is beneficial to the whole community 

SECTION FOUR: Site Selection Process and Criteria

Generally, a site or potential sites should first be identified before the artistic themes and artist are identified. The final site must be confirmed and permission granted by a property owner before an artwork is commissioned through this program. It is the responsibility of CRS to oversee site selection in collaboration with the SASC and communicate selection with internal and external stakeholders. 

The committee should consider the following when analyzing potential sites:

  • Is the site owned by a public or private entity?
  • How many people pass by or through the site regularly?
  • Is the area heavily trafficked by car or by foot?
  • Is the site highly visible?
  • Does the site provide a measure of security for artwork and discourage potential vandalism?
  • Is the site publicly accessible to all citizens?
  • What size/scale of work can be accommodated?
  • Is the site located near or adjacent to facilities or amenities that would draw foot traffic?
  • Is this a site that could be made more attractive to pedestrians?

The Mural program manager will work to identify property owners of any exterior surfaces nominated for a mural project. Property owners will be informed that they will have access to a committee slot and their role in selecting an artist and mural. Once the owner has agreed to permit a mural on their property’s designated exterior surface, they will need to sign a license agreement detailing their willingness to allow a mural to be located on their property and their concurrence with the associated terms and conditions of having a mural (see Appendix III for template license agreement). 

SECTION FIVE: Artist Selection Process and Criteria

The Site and Artist Selection Committee (SASC) will be the main body responsible for selecting the project artist to create a mural for a designated exterior surface. Once a site has been chosen, the SASC will be tasked with identifying the aesthetics and themes to be incorporated into the mural. The SASC will have access to the artist database to identify three potential artists that can fulfill their mural criteria. Once three artists have been identified, a “Call for Project Submissions” process will be prepared and reviewed by the SASC.  The identified artists will receive the “Call for Project Submissions” scope of work and be asked to submit a presentation to the SASC. 

Each of the three artists selected will be compensated $500 each for developing a pitch for submission. The SASC will meet to hear presentations by each artist. Afterward, the SASC will meet to discuss the presentations and to recommend an artist for the designated site. The artists will receive notification of selection. The selected artist must confirm their acceptance of the project and its terms and conditions by signing an agreement with Fairfax County government for the commissioned mural. (See Appendix IV for Sample Commissioned Artist Agreement).

General Criteria for Artist Selection

  • Artist meets the definition of artist, as defined herein as an individual or group that paints, designs, and installs murals
  • Demonstrates artistic excellence, innovation, and originality as represented in past work and supporting materials
  • Demonstrates capacity for working in the selected media and with concepts that are appropriate to the project goals and site
  • Demonstrates interest and capability in creating public art in collaboration with Fairfax County, Site and Artist Selection Committee, and other project partners
  • Demonstrates experience/knowledge in completing artwork of similar scope, scale, budget, and complexity, or ability to articulate how he or she would be able to bring the necessary artistic and technical skills to this project
  • Demonstrates interest in and understanding of the project
  • Is available to perform the scope of work in a timely and professional manner
  • Has the requisite equipment, materials, staffing and insurance to complete the project
  • Confirms ability and willingness to meet the public engagement requirements.

Public Engagement Requirements

To ensure that the mural is responsive to the community in which it is located, a robust community engagement process must be formulated and undertaken to involve and inform the community throughout the mural process.  The engagement process will include identification of possible mural sites as well as mural themes.  The community will be presented with different mural concepts by the recommended muralist and be able to interact with and hear from the muralist. The muralist will hold one or more in-person engagement sessions with the community to further refine the concept.  The property owner should be part of these discussions.

Once a final design is selected, the community will be informed about the project timeline and opportunities to participate in the creation of the mural, if appropriate.  Once the mural is completed, the community will be invited to celebrate its completion. 

SECTION SIX: Program Administration

Management and Oversight

The Murals program manager will be responsible for the following:

  • Manage ”Call for Artists” database application process
  • Manage ”Call for Project Submissions” process
  • Promote “Call for Artists” and “Call for Project Submissions” processes to stakeholders and partner organizations
  • Maintain the artist database
  • Organize engagement with muralists and the SASC
  • Communicate and remind all parties of timelines and deadlines
  • Ensuring the muralist will be able to access the site and construct their project with limited disruption
  • Review all submission materials, and process all necessary paperwork and approvals (procurement, zoning interpretations, county attorney review, as needed)
  • Organize community engagement process with muralist and Site and Artist Selection Committee
  • Contract Management and compliance 
  • Oversee disbursements
  • Guide selected artists through the County Procurement Process

Program Promotion and Education

The Paint It, Fairfax! murals program will maintain a strong presence with media partners and social media platforms. The program will share upcoming artist opportunities, special public art events, and activities. Retaining a healthy presence will allow artists and the public to connect with the murals and for the murals programs to establish itself as a valuable resource. Community engagement strategies may include:

  • Develop and promote guided and self-guided tours of murals through apps and other online resources and partners
  • Develop a smartphone-friendly website specific to the murals collection. Place a QR code on each artwork that links the murals program website, artist’s website, and other resources
  • Facilitate obtaining a sign permit for the QR code on each Mural
  • Make presentations on the murals program to neighborhood organizations, civic groups, businesses, and county staff
  • Collaborate with local education institutions, arts organizations, and museums to co-host educational programs, workshops, and lectures by sharing venues, professional resources, and funding 

Policies and Procedures

  • A building owner must not destroy or paint over the mural for a minimum of five years.
  • If the building changes ownership, a reasonable effort will be made to ensure that the mural remains part of the community. 
  • Building owner will report any vandalism or damage to the mural to the Murals program  manager.
  • If the mural is vandalized or damaged, the artist is contractually obligated to repair it or designate an artist to complete the work in their stead.
  • All selected and approved concepts will go through a preliminary review with Zoning Administration in the Department of Planning and Development.
  • All QR codes attached to murals will be subject to a sign permit and will undergo necessary approval.
  • Muralists will be required to bring their own ladders, scissor lifts, water, paint, storage, ground coverings, and water.
  • Muralists choosing to use a scissor lift must provide proof of operator certification.
  • Muralists will leave the property tidy, debris-free, and remove tools after each project completion day. 
  • If muralists leave paint on any surfaces other than the designated mural surface, they are responsible for immediate efforts to remove paint from non-mural surfaces. 
  • Property will be sectioned off from public access prior to the start of the muralist’s project by cones or barrels. If the muralists need cones, they may contact the Murals Program Manager.

SECTION SEVEN – Appendices

Appendix I:  “Call for Artist” Database Application Process

  • Background

  • Eligibility

    • The competition is open to established professional artists living in the Mid-Atlantic region. Artists residing in the DC Metropolitan Area and particularly in Fairfax County are encouraged to apply. All applicants must be at least 18 years of age. If submitting as a team, a professional artist must be the lead team member.
  • Scope of Work

    • The communities and neighborhoods in and around our CRDs/CRAs are very diverse, both economically and culturally. The Community Revitalization Section (CRS) of the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Development facilitates strategic redevelopment and investment opportunities within targeted commercial areas that align with the community's vision and that improve the economic vitality, appearance, and function of those areas. The process and the outcome envisioned for this project are to give a sense of community pride and ownership, and to give the community access to public art. 
    • Call for Artist Database applications will be evaluated based on a few established criteria.  Ease of upkeep and long-term maintenance will also be a consideration.  Only artists that are willing and able to engage with the community directly will be considered for listing in the database. 
  • Application Process

    • All interested artists must complete a “Call for Artist” application to be included in the Paint It, Fairfax! Murals program database. The application with a checklist of submission materials can be found on the program website.
    • CRS staff will preview all applications for completeness prior to forwarding to the SASC for its review. CRS staff may reject incomplete or non-responsive applications.  
    • Artists will be notified whether their application has been selected.
  • Evaluation Criteria

    • Aesthetic excellence of past projects; appropriateness of prior concepts as they relate to Fairfax County project goals and opportunity and commitment to equity and revitalization
    • Experience, success, and/or interest in creating public artworks in collaboration with stakeholder groups including public outreach, in determining the scope and development of artwork
    • Experience developing public artworks in outdoor environments
    • Experience conducting workshops with children and adults
    • Experience in construction materials and methods appropriate to the scope of the project
    • Demonstrated ability to fabricate their own work
    • Demonstrated ability to manage projects on time and on budget
    • Demonstrated delivery of previous projects will be reviewed
  • Selection Panel Review

    • Artists or artist teams will be evaluated based on their submitted work samples from previously completed projects and how those demonstrate the design and execution of projects in varied environments. Selection will be conducted by the SASC. 
    • Selected artists or teams will then be invited to develop a work that would represent the selected site and community.
    • Fairfax County is committed to reflecting the diversity and cultural richness of our community in the selection of artists and artworks.
    • The final artist selection and design concepts will be announced by the SASC.
  • Required Application Materials

    • All application materials will be submitted online. There is no application fee to apply.  
      • Application and Artist Statement of Interest
        • What perspective and/or experience do you bring to a project that is unique to you?
        • What specifically interests you about this murals program?
        • What is your experience in public art and collaborating with clients and communities?
      • Resume
      • Images of Past Work
        • Submissions must include visual representations of past artwork that demonstrate your qualifications for this program. To be considered for this program, the applicant must submit a total of 6 digital images that represent no more than 4 previously completed projects. Project images from prior projects may be submitted but should be clearly marked as “Call for Submissions” and cannot be more than 1 of the requested 6 images. Images must be JPEG, PDF, or PNG files and sized to 1024 x 768 pixels at 72 dpi. PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, and/or images embedded into MS Word document or similar files will not be accepted.
        • Description of Past Works
          • Title
          • Date of Completion
          • Location
          • Dimensions
          • Significant Materials
          • Budget
          • Description

Appendix II:  “Call for Project Submissions” Process

  • Scope of Work

    • Submissions for projects will be evaluated based on a variety of criteria as outlined in each Project Scope of Work. Ease of upkeep and long-term maintenance will also be a consideration. The artist selected will have to engage with the community through presentations and workshops and that may lead to direct community involvement in the creation of the artwork.
  • Design Phase

    • The artist or artist team selected for this project will engage in research and discussion with key stakeholders and the community and develop a design concept submission. 
      • The artist or artist team must perform research about the neighborhood and history; engage in discussion with committee members
      • The artist or artist team must develop design concepts that will take into consideration the durability of materials, resistance to vandalism, concern for public safety, and minimum maintenance. The artwork should be such that any graffiti can be cleaned off. The artwork should be sturdy enough to withstand an urban environment. Media considered for this project might include galvanized steel, ceramic, aluminum, concrete, tile, photo transfer, recycled materials (upcycled, reclaimed), etc. 
      • The artist or artist team must present their design concept(s) and fabrication documentation to the SASC
      • The selected artist or artist team must make a presentation(s) about their design concept and vision to the community
  • Application Process

    • All materials will be submitted online, using the following link: Call for Project Submissions. 
    • Artist or artist team can submit a presentation (video or PowerPoint) through the link below.
    • Art or artist team will receive a time slot to present to the SASC. Presentations will be no longer than 15 minutes with 15 minutes for questions and answers.
  • Installation

    • The artist or artist team is expected to fabricate and install the artwork.
  • Project Process and Sequence

    • Submittal Deadline
    • Artist Interviews
    • Finalist Announcement and Contract Execution
    • Research, Concept Development, Community Engagement
    • Presentation of Concept Submission
    • Design Approvals
    • Workshops and Construction Documentation
    • Installation and project completion
    • Community unveiling
  • Project Budget

    • The project budget is $--,---.  This amount includes all fees and expenses associated with this project, including materials, equipment, labor, permits, engineering documents, insurance, taxes, travel, installation, shipping, maintenance instructions’ document, and written documentation of the completed project. 
    • The project may be developed in two phases. Payment will be based on milestones that will be identified during the contract period.
  • Artist Contract

Appendix III:  Property Owner License Agreement Template

  • Under Development

Appendix IV:  Sample Commissioned Artist Agreement

  • Under Development