‘An Ultimate Sacrifice’: Local Artist Creates Public Art Piece Honoring Arlington Police

Thanks to a local artist, the Arlington Police Department has a star to call its own.

The public art piece, which has been titled “An Ultimate Sacrifice,” was installed last week on the front lawn of the Ott Cribbs Public Safety Building on Division Street in Downtown Arlington.

It is one of more than 20 stars that are now part of the Arlington Museum of Art’s Star of Texas Project, which launched last year.

Artist Justin Simmons, whose painting captured the excitement of baseball on the Texas Rangers’ star, said he had some hesitation when presented with an opportunity to commission a painting for police officers.

“With everything that was going on in our nation involving officer shootings and the deadly ambush on Dallas officers, [that] made developing a concept kind of difficult,” he said.“I decided to paint what I felt in my heart,” he said. “Police officers put on the uniform and badge and work every day to defend and protect people they don’t even know. That is the ultimate sacrifice.”

It took Simmons about 30 days to complete the painting, which features the police badge, patch, and officer pledge. The star also includes a scripture and the words, “To Protect and Serve.”

The Star of Texas project is a public art initiative developed in conjunction with the City of Arlington’s American Dream City brand. The project also receives support from the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation and Women Inspiring Philanthropy. The Arlington Police Foundation contributed $2,500 to the project.

“The goal of the project is to promote art,” said Chris Hightower, Director of the Arlington Museum of Art. “We want everyone to view and interact with all of our stars and experience a true appreciation for what makes our city a great place to achieve dreams.”

Click here to see a map of the Star of Texas public art pieces located across Arlington.

Each star has been painted by an artist born or living in Texas. Simmons was born in Oklahoma but moved to Texas to pursue his dream as an artist.

Simmons says he is inspired by the late Ernie Barnes Jr., an African-American painter well known for his unique style of elongation, movement and capturing the beauty of the ghetto. Simmons was first introduced to his paintings as a teen watching television episodes of Good Times.

Police Chief Will Johnson met the artist this week and presented him with a Chief’s Coin for his inspiration and creativity.