Reston residents uses her art to support arts on Lake Thoreau spillway

A Reston resident and former South Lakes High School parent is using her interest in photography to fundraise for the school’s next public art sculpture on Lake Thoreau’s spillway.

Mary Prochnow, who recently retired from a career in systems engineering, has donated her nature photographs, for a calendar that can be purchased to help raise money for the students’ work. Each year, students from the school’s Science, Technology Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) club create a public art piece on the spillway.

“Knowing that funding this project is always a challenge and that it is entirely independently funded, I was looking for an easy way for anyone who enjoys the artwork to be able to help support the effort,” Prochnow said.

All proceeds from calendar purchases will go toward pushing materials for the sculpture, which will likely be installed in the summer of next year. Lake Thoreau Entertainment Association and Red’s Table, a restaurant, will cover the costs of printing the calendar.

Phoebe Avery, Public Art Reston‘s public art manager, said her organization was humbled by the support of Prochnow, her husband who runs the entertainment association and Ryan Tracy of Red’s Table, for supporting the students’ work.

“Along with our program partners at Reston Association, we have been gratified to watch the STEAM Team grow from four participants to more than 30 students each year,” Avery wrote in a statement.

Two SLHS students — Nava Mehrpour and David Raw — joined Public Art Reston’s public art committee to handpick several of 72 photographers by Prochnow for the calendar.

Marco Rando, an art teacher at the school and the STEAM teaam’s program advisor, said he was ecstatic that Prochnow offered to help fundraise for the effort.

“Using art to support art could not be a more appropriate concept. In addition, the suggestion to engage in an aesthetic gathering with STEAM students to choose her photos for the calendar was a beautiful layer of educational collaboration,” he said.

Rando and Public Art Reston did not immediately return requests for comment on what next year’s public art will look like or where the project is in the development phase.

Residents have until Oct. 31 to donate to the project in order to receive a calendar gift. A minimum donation of $20 is suggested.

The STEAM team has brought public art to life on the spillway, with projects like Spectrum in 2019 and Simon in 2016.

Photo via Public Art Reston

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