ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — It’s an unusual place for public art, but for one day out of the year, a traffic island in Rosslyn is packed with people.

“It’s something that the community has kind of accepted and taken as their own, and that to me is a sign of a successful piece of public art,” said Angela Anderson Adams, director of Arlington Public Arts.

Born out of the National Endowment of the Arts in 1979, The Dark Star is a work of art of two spheres and five poles, situated against the morning sunlight. At 9:32 in the morning on August 1, their shadows line up perfectly on discs on the ground.

“I think in our current society, we forget that time is something that we humans have invented,” said Lisa Lefeuvre, executive director of the Holt-Smithson Foundation. “This is an artwork that shows that time is not just an invention; it’s natural.”

August 1 is the anniversary of the day when William Henry Ross acquired the land that would become Rosslyn, Virginia in 1860.

“And 9:32 is where the art comes in,” said Anderson Adams. “[Artist Nancy Holt] decided that that was when the shadows were particularly beautiful.”

And those perfectly aligned shadows are as fleeting as time; we only get to enjoy it for 60 seconds.

“And maybe that’s really an analogy of being human,” said Lefeuvre. “Time moves on. It changes, it shifts, and that is fantastic.”

Arlington Public Arts was born out of Holt’s Dark Star. Since the piece was finished in 1984, the division has acquired 60 more pieces of public art.