Cooperation between Moscow and Washington has spread to the arts.

In an exhibition sponsored by the Washington Moscow Arts Exchange, the works of 58 Washington area artists will go on display Saturday in the McLean Project for the Arts' newly reopened Emerson Gallery. The exhibit will close in December, when the show will open at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.

A local delegation traveled to Moscow last fall to select art for display in the United States. The Russian works will be exhibited at Union Station in March 1991.

"There has been interest in the last two years in what artists who are living and working in Moscow are producing," said Betty Ustun, chairman of the exchange. "{The Soviets} line up for these exhibitions. There's tremendous curiosity about the U.S., just as we are curious about their culture."

In the spring of 1989, three Soviet curators selected works for the McLean show from more than 200 artists in the metropolitan area. "The curator from Russia coming here was impressed by the quality of artists' work in Washington," said Ustun.

The exchange marks the reopening of the Emerson Gallery. The new, permanent gallery space will allow McLean Project for the Arts to showcase the works of local artists who otherwise might not be able to exhibit. The space will also enable the arts group to increase public awareness of contemporary arts through its exhibitions, instruction and education projects, said Ustun.

The original Emerson Gallery, founded in 1962, was demolished in 1986 to make room for a fire station.

As a result, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, the McLean Community Center's board of directors and McLean Project for the Arts agreed to house the arts organization in the McLean Community Center. In exchange, the arts group agreed to raise $300,000 for a new community room for the center.

The gallery will reopen with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday. Gallery hours will be 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.