Reston could get a new animal icon to support public art

Reston Association (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Local organizations are exploring the possibility of creating a new icon for Reston.

The icon would serve as a local, visible symbol that would be memorialized in sculptures across the community. The symbol would be available for local businesses, corporations and residents to display as a fundraising effort that will provide money for public art.

Friends of Reston, Reston Association, Public Art Reston and other community partners are collaborating on the project.

At a March 23 meeting of the Reston Association Board of Directors, chairwoman Sarah Selvaraj-D’Souza presented the project, following up on a previous presentation to the board in July. RA is the funding beneficiary of the project, while Friends of Reston is leading the fundraising efforts.

The icon will be selected from a list of four choices: a blue heron, woodpecker, a fox, or a write-in animal.

“The infrastructure is us, which is our underpasses and our spillway,” D’Souza said. She hopes that the project will be unveiled at RA’s annual membership meeting on April 11.

Jennifer Jushchuk said she was confused about RA’s role in the project.

“Is there money that’s involved? Is there staff time that is involved?” Jushchuk inquired.

Board member Travis Johnson said he was confused about the scope of the project and the placement of the icon.

“I see the word ‘icon’ and it just concerns me a little,” Johnson said.

The winning selection will be fabricated into a cast sulphur to be painted and auctioned off for future public art projects in Reston.

Selvaraj-D’Souza noted that other communities have similar projects. Norfolk has a mermaid, while D.C. has donkeys and elephants — the animals representing the country’s two major political parties — as well as pandas. She hopes the funds will be used to pay for public art projects on RA’s underpasses.

Board member John Farrell noted that the Walker Nature Center — which is operated by RA — already uses a pileated woodpecker, suggesting that additional animal-centric icons could create confusion.

But board member Margaret Perry, who expressed support for the program, noted that the center also uses a squirrel and turtle in some of its programming.

“We’ve already shot ourselves in the foot there,” Perry said.

Read more on FFXnow…

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