Marymount’s Salvatore Pirrone selected for COVID-19 memorial commemoration

Marymount's Salvatore Pirrone selected for COVID-19 memorial commemoration


Salvatore Pirrone, a tenured associate professor of Interior Architecture and Design at Marymount University, has been selected to commemorate a COVID-19 art memorial in Fairfax County.

Pirrone will collaborate with Miriam Gusevich, a Cuban-American environmental artist, architect, scholar and educator based in Washington, D.C. She was a tenured professor at Catholic University from 2000-2020, and was recognized as a Loeb Fellow by Harvard University in 1997. Currently, she is also working on a Holocaust memorial site, Remember Sambir, currently under construction in western Ukraine and on hold because of the ongoing conflict.

Jollie Rancher by Salvatore Pirrone (2018)
Jollie Rancher by Salvatore Pirrone (2018)

The proposed design for the COVID-19 memorial, which will be known as ‘Circles of Memory,’ is for a tall and slender structure that serves as a landmark to protect a contemplative space. The monument will consist of a 27-foot tall hollow concrete cone, divided by a break in the center and topped with an oculus from which to view the sky. These features, Pirrone says, evoke a sense of loss and represent portals for one to move through, both physically and emotionally. Visitors will be invited to sit inside the structure and on surrounding benches.

Pirrone and Gusevich’s intention for this permanent memorial is to honor the local victims of the COVID-19 pandemic and recognize the courageous and heroic efforts of County staff, nonprofits, first responders, health care providers, frontline health care workers, community heroes and others in Fairfax County who worked to alleviate the impact of the pandemic during those difficult times.

“The memorial, first and foremost, is about the people who lost their lives and those who will honor them,” Pirrone emphasized. “The message should be one of reverence, hope and assurance that we are not alone or forgotten, especially in times when we are at our most vulnerable.”

The art piece will stand in front of the Herrity Building and Public Safety Headquarters at 12055 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax. It’s expected to take several months to complete.

Concrete Cone by Salvatore Pirrone (2018)
Concrete Cone by Salvatore Pirrone (2018)

Pirrone joined Marymount, where he teaches drawing and design studio classes, in 2015, and has been an active member and supporter of the creative academic community in the metro D.C. area since 2009. He holds a B.A. from the University of Tampa, a M.F.A. from Parsons School of Design at The New School, and a master’s in architecture from the University of Florida.

He started to pursue art after attending the Institute of Architecture in Vicenza, Italy, and his passion increased while exploring drawing techniques, 3D modeling, philosophy and other pursuits that expanded his worldview, interests and creative abilities.

“My passion for art comes out of a general need to make a connection with people and things both familiar and new,” Pirrone stated. “It wasn’t until after architecture school when it occurred to me that I wanted to work at a more intimate scale, where I could affect the greatest change within my immediate surroundings and relationships.”

He has exhibited artwork at prominent locations in the region that include the Arlington Arts Center, Atlas Performing Arts Center, CulturalDC’s Mobile Art Gallery, Sandy Spring Museum, Transformer DC, Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, Maryland Art Place, Hillyer Gallery and the Dittmar House at Marymount University.

Click here to see Pirrone’s full body of work.