Release Date: Sep 18, 2019

Crystal City Business Improvement District Unveils Finalists in Competition to Reimagine Facade of Synetic Theater

Media Contacts:
Justina Lombardo: 212-843-8343

Mary-Kate Morrow: 215-847-0693




Five Artists Selected from Dozens of Entries Submitted from Around the Globe to Design Mural on Exterior adjacent to 1800 South Bell Street  



CRYSTAL CITY, VA– September 18, 2019 – The Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) today announced five finalists and revealed their dynamic design submissions in its competition to create a mural on the façade of Synetic Theater adjacent to 1800 South Bell Street in Crystal City.  


In enlivening the façade of one its premier cultural institutions, the BID hopes to amplify the pedestrian experience and draw further attention to the vital role that arts and culture play in Crystal City.


“We were elated when Synetic Theater renewed its lease in Crystal City this February, continuing its nearly decade-long tenure of inspiring audiences through its innovative approach to performance art,” said Tracy Sayegh Gabriel, President and Executive Director of the Crystal City BID. “Thanks to this competition and the caliber of artists it has attracted, the exterior of the theater will soon match the artistry that occurs within the walls.”


The competition aligns with the BID’s Strategic Plan, which was released earlier this year.  The Plan outlines a unified vision for Crystal City and the organization’s efforts to foster its cultural vibrancy through this period of momentous change.


Sponsored by the BID and 1800 South Bell Street owner JBG SMITH, and in partnership with Arlington County and Synetic Theater, the design challenge launched in July with a call for individual artists and teams from around the world to submit their relevant experience and visual portfolio for consideration.  After receiving 24 impressive entries, a jury of representatives from the BID, JBG SMITH, Arlington County and Synetic Theater selected five finalists and invited each to submit conceptual designs by September 9.  The finalists are:


  • A collaborative effort between Washington, DC-based boutique event design firm Suite Nation, led by Ian Callender; Lawrence “Naturel” Atoique, whose futuristic work is well-known in the contemporary art scene; and Gregory Cummins, the founder of art advisory and contemporary artist representation agency Pintar Worldwide;
  • a team led by Tom Pipkin, the founder of DC-area firm Pipkin Creative, that will include artists Juan Pineda and Jeff Huntington, who have produced vibrant and energetic murals in other locations in Crystal City;
  • David de la Mano, a Spanish contemporary artist whose signature brushwork art can be found in 16 countries throughout the world;
  • Cecilia Lueza, an Argentine-American artist who has created vibrant public art pieces across the United States and beyond; and
  • Jay Shogo, who launched his career in Japan and has since created inspirational murals in Miami, Los Angeles, Barbados, Australia, Korea, as well as New York City, where he worked on the famed “5POINTZ” street art.

The finalists were tasked with creating a design concept specific to the context and building exterior of Synetic Theater.  The artwork, as well as a brief explanation of their inspiration for the project, will be reviewed by the jury and the winner will be announcedby early-October.  The mural will be completed in the fall of 2019.


“This neighborhood has been Synetic Theater’s home since 2010,” said Jason Najjoum, Managing Director of the Synetic Theater. “We are proud to be a part of the future of Crystal City and excited to have one of these talented artists create a design that will elevate Synetic Theater’s physical presence in the community.”


The BID will display these top designs at the Crystal City Underground beginning on September 28.  To view the finalists’ designs and learn more about the artists, please visit:





About the Crystal City Business Improvement District


The Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) is a public-private partnership established to promote the vibrant Crystal City business, retail, restaurant and residential community. As Virginia’s largest downtown, the Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard - Arlington area consists of 18.6 million square feet of office space in a mixed-use, walkable urban center that includes more than 32,000 residents, over 5,800 hotel rooms, and nearly 500 restaurants and shops. Nearly $4 billion in public infrastructure investment is anticipated over the next decade, and another $4 billion of private development is expected to be delivered by 2024. The BID is supporting the exciting transformation of Crystal City through placemaking, public art, transportation, economic development, events, and marketing/promotion. For more information, visit