New public art on Lake Thoreau inspired by Reston’s rapid development

A new magnatile-like structure now floats atop Lake Thoreau’s spillway in Reston.

The public art installation by South Lakes High School’s Science Technology Engineering Art Math (STEAM) club was installed in late June. Called “Rise,” the artwork was inspired by the rapid development of Reston.

The artwork represents the growth of Reston’s population and the rise of high-rises and other infrastructure, “abstractly” representing the community’s goals of “reaching new heights in progress, innovation and diversity,” the club said in a statement.

When Robert E. Simon, Jr. bought the land to develop Reston, it was rural farmland without access to downtown Washington, D.C. Simon dreamed of turning his planned community into a modern suburban utopia for residents and commuters alike. His dream would be realized decades later with the construction of Route 267, the Dulles Toll Road. Since then, Reston has grown from a nationally renowned, but relatively small, planned community, into a hotspot for international corporations and contemporary housing developments. Nevertheless, Reston retains its core values and remains an intertwined, multi-faceted place to live, a place like nowhere else. Rise represents the growing success of Reston, one that was founded on humble beginnings.

This is the club’s 11th year, with several artworks installed on the spillway since its founding. The group is led by advisor and SLHS art teacher Marco Rando in partnership with Public Art Reston and Reston Association.

This year’s artwork is also sponsored by the Lake Thoreau Entertainment Association, Mary and David Prochnow, Red’s Table restaurant, and supporters of the STEAM Team’s calendar fundraiser.

Rando said the installation was completed earlier than expected.

“This is more than just a work of art,” Rando said. “Its essential element is layers of collaborative relationships between STEAM students, Reston Association, Public Art Reston, and the community, who for the first individuals to pass by, provided major positive feedback. One such woman always loves to see bright colors on the art works, adding how well it accentuates Reston’s greenery.”

RISE is expected to remain afloat for the better part of the year.

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