On a recent visit to La Taqueria, the brilliant new Mexican street food cantina in downtown Leesburg, I tucked into some tasty tacos (try the sweet and spicy al pastor) and a delicious gringa – a flour tortilla filled with Chihuahua cheese, salsa, guac and carne asada. But between bites, something caught my eye. Staring down at me from a corner wall was a vibrant Diego Rivera-style mural in bright red and yellow: a depiction of the famous Angel of Independence Monument in Mexico City. On shelves to the side meanwhile were dozens of handmade crafts – spooky Day of the Dead figurines, Frida Kahlo-style papier-mâché Catrina dolls, hand-painted clay cups. The place looked like an art gallery.

Which, in a sense, it is. Owner Herydan Maza and his wife Ana hired Loudoun artist Rover Rodriguez to do the angel mural and sourced the crafts, all of which are for sale, from the Mexican Cultural Institute in DC. Proceeds from any sales of the work go directly to the artists in Mexico who made them.


La Taqueria


It got me thinking. Loudoun has a dynamic creative scene and extraordinary public art, but you don’t have to visit a museum, gallery or studio to see it in the county.


What other surprising places can you find great art in Loudoun?


Lost Rhino Brewing Co

The interior of this popular Ashburn brewery is awash with hyper-realistic chalk drawings created by employees and talented local chalk artists such as Tonia Crawford, aka @Chalkoholic. The draft board has colorful illustrations of all the beers, the walls feature oversized chalk portraits of movie characters and upcoming events all drawn up in chalk. A visual highlight? A portrait of Napoleon Dynamite that draws attention to upcoming live bands at the brewery.


Lost Rhino


The Historic Douglass School

The Historic Douglass High School in Leesburg, Loudoun’s only African American high school until 1968, is more than a community center, playground and public park. Completely renovated in early 2023, the facility now features an extraordinary collection of historic black and white photographs on the walls of the building inside, and black history themed sculptures and murals in the gardens and playground out back. Next to a bronze sculpture of Frederick Douglass for example is a collection of playground murals featuring portraits of black Civil Rights leaders and artists such as Louis Armstrong.


The Historic Douglass School


Oatlands Historic House & Gardens

Oatlands is renowned for its garden and architecture tours, but the house is a museum of fine art. Small wonder since the Eustis family who bought the property in 1903 were involved in the Monuments Men Foundation and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, while Edith Eustis’ son-in-law David Finely served as the first director of the National Gallery of Art. The finest pieces are to be found in the smoking, dining, library and drawing rooms, among them an exquisite collection of early American portrait paintings and rare pottery that includes five boldly curved works by renowned New Mexico-based ceramist Maria Martinez. Among the more esoteric pieces? A lock of George Washington’s hair framed in the dining room.




Morven Park

You don’t have to travel the world to see great art from Europe and Asia: just take a tour of the Davis Mansion at Morven Park. Westmoreland and Marguerite Davis were expert travelers and the collection here includes 16th-century Belgian tapestries, Spanish cassones (decorative wooden chests), hundreds of silver pieces and Asian crafts, souvenirs and Buddhist relics from their many trips. Closer to home they also collected Hudson River Valley oil paintings, which are on display. The North Wing of the mansion meanwhile houses the North American Museum of Hounds and Hunting – an extraordinary collection of paintings, illustrations, costumes, taxidermy, letters and books dedicated to the sport of kings.


Morven Park


The George C. Marshall House at Dodona Manor

Q: What do Winston Churchill and Madame Chiang Kai Sheck have in common with Leesburg? A: Paintings they gave to their friend George C. Marshall are on display in the home-turned-museum of the revered Statesman General in downtown Leesburg. “Village in Snow”, an original oil by Madame Chiang Kai, was given to Marshall in the early 1950s and is displayed in the main living room, while a digital copy of a North African desert scene Churchill gifted to Marshall hangs nearby. The original Churchill painting was on display in the house in 2005, but Katherine Marshall’s granddaughter sold it at Sotheby’s for $1,200,000 a few years ago.  


Dodona Manor


Stone Tower Winery

Stone Tower Winery is renowned for its fine wines and dramatic mountain-top setting, but the design and décor at the multi-building property is its own work of art. Entry to the catacomb-like tunnels of the underground cellar is through huge, ornate 300-year-old antique Tibetan doors, while the heavy steel gate at the entry to the Reserve wine cellar is quite literally the original steel door to Al Capone’s jail cell.  Several large pieces of contemporary art adorn the walls of the Barrel Club Room and Vineyard View Ballroom while furniture and wall art created from reclaimed and upcycled wood appear throughout. If winemaking is an art, building a winery can be a work of art, too.


Stone Tower


Bia Kitchen

The swanky restaurant of Irish chef Shane O’Connor is known for its upscale European cuisine and delicious craft cocktails, but what first catches your eye when you walk in is the art. Lining the walls of the cozy downstairs space are a series of brightly colored framed backlit paintings by Purcellville “illumination artist” Tanya Cochran. Cochran integrates ink and acrylics in her work to create dream-like pieces that resemble water, ocean or starry night skies. The pieces are illuminated with back light, which bathe any room in a warm yet moody glow.