Artist Ben Volta’s public artwork for the Colts Neck Road Underpass — which uses more than 700 drawings created by 600 people — has received its final design approval, putting the project on track for installation later this month.
The project — a partnership between Public Art Reston, Reston Association and Atlantic Realty Companies — is the second public art to be permanently installed at an underpass in Reston.
Panels with drawings of interconnected and bright pathways will be set on the exterior and interior walls of the underpass — bringing together artwork created under Volta’s supervision with local students and residents from local senior living communities.
Volta conducted eight workshops with students at Hunters Woods and Dogwood elementary school, students at Southgate Community Center’s after school program, residents of Hunters Woods Fellowship House and Hunters Woods at Trails Edge. Participants were asked to draw a path, drawing on Volta’s inspiration from Reston’s 55 miles of pathways. The Philadelphia-based artist was also inspired by poet Henry David Thoreau’s statement, “Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.”
Public Art Reston wrote the following about the project:
Philadelphia artist and educator Ben Volta has been selected to create a permanent public artwork for the Reston community at the Colts Neck Road Underpass. A 2015 recipient of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, Volta is known for his public artwork, including intricate public murals and sculptures, working within the fields of education, restorative justice, and urban planning. He has a participatory approach to making art and has worked with numerous organizations and schools. According to Volta, his practice “stands on the belief that art can be a catalyst for change, within individuals as well as the institutional structures that surround them.” Volta–who as a young artist was a member of the groundbreaking art collective “Tim Rollins and K.O.S.” (Kids of Survival), in the south Bronx section of New York City–earned his certificate in sculpture from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2002 and his BFA from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005.
The final design was approved after months of review, including consideration by an art selection committee and RA’s Design Review Board. A ribbon-cutting is planned for October.
Photos via Public Art Reston