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by RestonNow.com — June 26, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

The 51st season of the Reston Community Players will feature four performances of well-known and critically acclaimed shows.

It will begin in October with a staging of Elton John and Tim Rice’s “Aida.” A story of an enslaved Nubian princess that finds her heart entangled with an Egyptian soldier who is betrothed to the Pharaoh’s daughter, the musical will be staged by RCP from Oct. 20-Nov. 11.

Next, “Peter and the Starcatcher” is the story of an apprentice starcatcher and a young orphan boy who find themselves on a life-changing adventure when they are charged with protecting magical starstuff from fearsome pirates. It will be performed Jan. 19-Feb. 3, 2018.

Tennessee Williams’ play “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” is an American classic brimming with intensity and wit. RCP will bring it to the local stage March 9-24, 2018.

RCP will close the season with “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” a spirited musical romp that takes the audience back to the height of the Jazz Age in New York City. It will be performed April 20-May 12.

Reston Community Players perform at CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road) at Reston Community Center. Season tickets are now available for purchase online, and single-ticket sales will begin Saturday, Sept. 23.

For additional information, visit www.restonplayers.org or call 703-476-4500.

by Dave Emke — June 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm 3 Comments

The annual Chalk on the Water festival this weekend at Lake Anne Plaza brought out a bevy of artists, young and old, to color bricks with public art.

About 150 participants gathered on the plaza Saturday and Sunday to be a part of the annual event. Artists participated in four categories: family/elementary, family/junior and senior high school, amateur artists, and professional artists. Cash prizes were awarded in each category.

Winners at the festival were:

Professional Artists
1st Place: Ben Morse
2nd Place: Penny Hauffe
3rd Place: Phil Erickson

Amateur Artists
1st Place: Bruce Wright
2nd Place: April Komar
3rd Place: Maria Dorodnitsyna

Family/Junior and Senior High
1st Place: Nadya Steare
2nd Place: Charlotte Cottrell
3rd Place: Ian Henry

Family/Elementary
1st Place: Savannah Beard
2nd Place: Sofia Kortanek
3rd Place: Kim Stavio

All of the artwork from the weekend’s festival will remain visible on the plaza until it wears off naturally.

Photos courtesy Public Art Reston

by Kalina Newman — June 5, 2017 at 4:00 pm 0

Tennessee Loveless is an outsider.

Born severely colorblind, Loveless worked relentlessly as an artist despite failing out of art school. With no formal training, he was let down dozens of times before he his work was noticed.

Now he’s partnered with Disney and has a new collection called “Art Outsiders” on display at the ArtInsights gallery in Reston Town Center (11921 Freedom Drive), created with the collaboration of ArtInsights owner Leslie Combemale.

Both Combemale and Loveless will be at French bistro Mon Ami Gabi (11950 Democracy Drive) Tuesday at 6 p.m. for an evening of food, wine and art discussion. The Art Outsiders collection will be on display and the two will discuss the creative process behind the development of the project.

The evening will begin with a welcome reception, followed by a selection of hors d’oeuvres. In addition, attendees will be served a five-course meal paired with a boutique wine selection. Food includes a crispy goat cheese salad and charred bison rib-eye. The full menu can be found here.

“Art Outsiders”  is a collection of abstract portraits of various figures that all have one thing in common. Everyone depicted in Loveless’s collection was an outsider in their field of work, a reflection of Loveless’s own story. These portraits are people in the fields of science, art, music and beyond and each work of art displays a narrative of history, courage and perseverance. . Some notable figures include Vincent Van Gogh, David Bowie and Andy Warhol.

Tickets for the event are $75 and must be purchased in advance by calling 703-707-0233.

Image of Tennessee Loveless artwork

by Dave Emke — May 25, 2017 at 2:45 pm 5 Comments

This past weekend’s Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival was a major success for Greater Reston Arts Center, its executive director says.

“I can tell you that not only is the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival a marquee cultural event for the area, it is GRACE’s largest fundraiser,” said Lily Siegel, GRACE’s executive director and curator. “We, again, successfully raised half of our operating budget for the year.”

Siegel said the annual operating budget for GRACE is about $550,000.

She said that while attendance for the event cannot be accurately measured because of the numerous entrance points to Reston Town Center, casual counts have organizers estimating between 20,000 and 30,000 visitors over the course of the weekend.

Those thousands of visitors gave a lot of positive reaction to the cultural event, Siegel said.

“Response from the public and the artists was overwhelmingly positive,” she said. “We repeatedly heard that this year’s festival had the highest quality of work on display yet [and] it continues to get stronger every year.”

Siegel also said the festival’s jurors were “consistently impressed” by the excellence of the work at the show.

“This is one of the most competitive fine arts festivals in the country to gain acceptance to and it shows,” she said. “This all goes hand-in-hand with the mission of making the festival an extension of the gallery experience available to the public throughout the year at the Greater Reston Arts Center.”

Photos by Megan Myers and Carol Nahorniak

by RestonNow.com — May 17, 2017 at 10:15 am 1 Comment

Fans of public art now have greater access to Reston’s collection, as it has been added to a national online database thanks to the efforts of Public Art Reston.

Three dozen pieces of public art in the community are now catalogued in the Public Art Archive. They can be accessed by searching for “Reston, VA” on the website, which is currently featuring on its front page Patrick Dougherty’s “A Bird in the Hand” temporary installation outside Greater Reston Arts Center.

“We are pleased to incorporate Reston’s public art collection into the Public Art Archive after months of extensive collection management work by Public Art Reston’s art administrators,” said Lori Goldstein, the archive’s manager. “Reston’s collection shows outstanding diversity in the variety of projects, artists and sites chosen for both permanent and temporary public art throughout the community, and it is evident that Public Art Reston has excelled in establishing collaborative and creative partnerships to bring projects to fruition.”

Among the works pictured, detailed and mapped in the archives are sculptures, fountains, architecture and more. Public Art Reston committed to contributing content to PAA’s digital repository in order to give broader access to the community’s public art collection, its executive director Anne Delaney said.

“Creating greater awareness of Reston’s cultural assets supports Public Art Reston’s mission to inspire an ongoing commitment to public art and create a new generation of artworks in Reston,” she said.

Screencap via PublicArtArchive.org

by Dave Emke — May 15, 2017 at 2:45 pm 5 Comments

Metro’s Art in Transit Program is recommending the vision of a Colorado-based artist to become the motif of the future Reston Town Center Metro station.

Last week, the program unveiled the proposal of Joshua Wiener as its pick for the public art installation at the station’s walkways over the Dulles Toll Road. Wiener’s designs, which are shown on his personal website, consist of powder-coated aluminum sculptures of a bassist, a horn player and a drummer, as well as flowing red and teal ribbon designs down the corridors.

Wiener’s proposal was chosen over two other finalists. The program received 45 total submissions for the project. The Art Review Panel included the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, the Arts Council of Fairfax County, Public Art Reston and other Virginia-based visual art professionals.

According to the Art in Transit Program, the public art initiative benefits Metro as a whole by:

  • Creating attractive transit facilities
  • Building livable communities by creating public spaces that reflect the artistic, cultural and historic environment
  • Creating economic opportunities for artists, engineers, fabricators and other professionals

WMATA’s Customer Service Operations and Security Committee approved the proposal at its Thursday meeting. The full WMATA board will vote on it this summer. Upon board approval, WMATA will enter into contract with Wiener to develop, fabricate and install the artwork.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which is overseeing construction of Phase II of the Silver Line, is funding the public art effort. The project’s funding is capped at $250,000.

by RestonNow.com — April 6, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

Reston Community Players will put a wrap on their 50th season next month by staging the Noël Coward comedy “Private Lives.”

Coward’s 1930 play features a divorced couple who meet by chance while honeymooning with their new spouses. According to a press release from RCP:

“[The characters] reignite the old spark and impulsively elope. After days of being reunited, they again find their fiery romance alternating between passions of love and anger. Their aggrieved spouses appear, and a circle dance of affiliations ensues as the women first stick together, then break ranks, and new partnerships are formed.”

The show’s director, Adam Konowe, said the play is not as “flippant [or] even superficial” as it might appear at first glance.

“Look closer and appreciate how Coward skillfully embedded critiques in rapier-like dialogue,” he said.

The show’s cast includes Richard Isaacs as Elyot Chase, Rachel Hubbard as Amanda Prynne, Andy Gable as Victor Prynne, Caity Brown as Sibyl Chase, and Lisa Young as Louise. The creative team, headed by Konowe, also includes Suzanne Johnson, Laura Baughman, Mary Ann Hall, Eileen Mullee, Tel Monks, Michael O’Connor, William Chrapcynski, Maggie Modig, Doug Rolston, Scott Birkhead, Sara Birkhead, Bea Morse, Jerry Morse, Julie Cherundolo, Lilya Eberle and Mary Jo Ford.

Opening night for the production will be Friday, May 5 at 8 p.m. at CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road) at Reston Community Center. Evening performances will follow each Friday and Saturday through May 20; in addition, there will be a matinee show Sunday, May 14, at 2 p.m.

The Community Players’ 2016-17 season opened with “Gypsy,” which won five Washington Area Community Theatre Honors awards. RCP has also presented “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” and “Rock of Ages” this season.

RCP has announced its first two shows of the 2017-18 season will be “Aida” (Oct. 20-Nov. 11) and “Peter and the Star Catcher” (Jan. 19-Feb. 3).

For more information about “Private Lives” or to buy tickets, call 703-476-4500, ext. 3, or visit restonplayers.org.

Image courtesy Reston Community Players

by RestonNow.com — April 4, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

Inspired by springtime, the works of local artist Dorothy Donahey are currently on display at Reston Art Gallery and Studios (11400 Washington Plaza W.) on Lake Anne.

“First Blooms” showcases acrylic and oil paintings from the artist, an expert in commercial color printing who has traveled the nation lecturing on colorimetry for Reston’s HunterLab.

Donahey’s paintings are in the realms of representational abstraction and realism. She is known for her “Awareness Donkey,” which was featured on Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C. and is now part of the permanent collection at American University.

According to a press release about the exhibit:

The self-explanatory title of Donahey’s new show is inspired by the spring landscape, and a goal to “give people a little sunshine,” born out of the news, the cold and the loss of cherry blossoms at the tidal basin. The season can be enjoyed throughout the year through the paintings in this show.

The “First Blooms” exhibit will be on display at Reston Art Gallery throughout the month of April, including during Founder’s Day festivities at Lake Anne Plaza on Saturday. The official opening reception for the show is Sunday from 2-4 p.m.

Image: “Pastoral” — courtesy Dorothy Donahey/Reston Art Gallery and Studios

by RestonNow.com — March 23, 2017 at 4:00 pm 0

Rebekah Wingert Jabi/Public Art Reston

A trio of documentary films on the tradition of public art in Reston will be screened Tuesday at CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road).

Rebekah Wingert Jabi/Public Art RestonPublic Art Reston will present the three short films, works of award-winning director Rebekah Wingert-Jabi, who will also attend the event to discuss them. The films — “Emerge: The Making of a Community Public Art Project,” “Fun, Beauty, Fantasy: Reston’s Public Art” and “A Bird in the Hand — Patrick Dougherty’s Sculptural Installation in Reston, VA” — explore the legacy of Reston’s public art and show how Public Art Reston works to advance it.

“Since Reston was established over 50 years ago, public art has played a central role in defining the unique character of our community,” said Wingert-Jabi, a Reston native. “As Public Art Reston celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2017, it is a particularly important time to have a discussion of what public art has meant to our community and how we would like to see it advanced here over the next 10 years.”

The films will be screened beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Public Art Reston’s presentation is in collaboration with Reston Community Center. The event is free.

Photos courtesy Public Art Reston

by RestonNow.com — March 6, 2017 at 4:00 pm 0

Reston Community Players logoReston Community Players’ performance of “Gypsy” took home five honors Sunday night at the annual Washington Area Community Theatre Honors (WATCH) awards ceremony.

In addition to the awards won by “Gypsy,” the Community Players were also recognized with an award for their performance of “Mary Poppins” to bring their total number of wins for the 2016 season to six.

The full list of awards won Sunday night by Reston Community Players:

  • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical: Jennifer Lambert (as Rose) in “Gypsy”
  • Outstanding Lighting Design in a Musical: Ken and Patti Crowley, “Gypsy”
  • Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical: Joshua Redford, “Gypsy”
  • Outstanding Costume Design in a Musical: Kathy Dunlap, “Gypsy”
  • Outstanding Hair Design in a Musical: Chris Dore, “Gypsy”
  • Outstanding Special Effects: Greg Steele, Sara Birkhead and Rich Bird, “Mary Poppins”

The troupe was nominated 23 times, second-most among the 27 participating theater companies.

The next production by the Reston Community Players, “Rock of Ages,” will open Friday night at CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road).

by RestonNow.com — February 16, 2017 at 4:00 pm 0

Students from around the area are preparing to have their artwork on display at the Greater Reston Arts Center, where two March exhibits will be celebrations of Youth Art Month.

The first, GRACE Art: Celebrating Creativity, will be on display March 3-11 and will showcase the work of local elementary school students. The second, Emerging Visions: Interactions, will be on display March 17-April 1 and will feature the work of high schoolers.

Celebrating Creativity will highlight projects from GRACE Art program. Nearly 40 area schools participate in this program, in which trained classroom volunteers deliver an interactive art history lesson with materials and visuals supplied by GRACE, followed by a related in-class art project. Schools whose students will have art displayed in the exhibit include Academy of Christian Education, Aldrin Elementary, Armstrong Elementary, Crossfield Elementary, Flint Hill Elementary, John Kerr Elementary and Willow Springs Elementary.

After viewing GRACE’s exhibition last fall, Shih Chieh Huang: Synthetic Transformations, students from three area high schools — Herndon, Oakton and South Lakes — were asked to explore different interpretations and aspects of interactions. They worked directly with the education director at GRACE, and the final selections from their work will be shown in the Emerging Visions exhibition.

Several free art activities will also be offered for families throughout the month, and gallery visitors will be able to participate in hands-on art activities related to the art shown in the exhibition.

Key dates throughout the month are as follows:

  • GRACE Art: Celebrating Creativity opening reception and Family Day: Saturday, March 4, noon-4 p.m.
  • Emerging Visions: Interactions opening reception: Saturday, March 18, 6-8 p.m.
  • Studying Art Post Secondary School workshop, Saturday, March 25, 5-6:30pm

To register for the workshop, contact Stephanie Booth at [email protected] or 703-471-0952, ext. 118

The Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St.) is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

by Dave Emke — February 13, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

Alissa Buoni book

Alissa Buoni says her 5-year-old daughter is always starting sentences with “When I grow up.”

“It just got me thinking,” Buoni said. “There are some pros to being an adult, but [my daughter] should really enjoy being a kid.”

Alissa Buoni bookWith that thought in mind, the 2002 South Lakes High School graduate penned her first children’s book, “Oh, The #Adulting You’ll Do.” The book reminds children, Buoni said, that there are a lot of responsibilities associated with the fun of being an adult.

“Trust me, you’ll get to a point where you can make those [grown-up] decisions for yourself, but there’s sort of a price for that,” she said. “It’s not meant to scare kids from adulthood either, because … obviously there’s things adults enjoy about being adults. But you can’t go backward in time, so enjoy the moment.”

Buoni said she used the hashtag in the book when describing “adulting” as a nod to the parents, because it’s a term that is often used on social media.

“I’m on Instagram, I’m on a lot of social media, and I see my friends being like, ‘Ugh, I have to #adult today,” she said. “It’s this dreaded thing, like I’m paying my car bill or I have to go do this and that — boo to #adulting. … It follows throughout the book, kids are going to get to this stuff too.”

Alissa Buoni bookBuoni worked in government contracting for several years and also received a master’s degree in school counseling. She is now a stay-at-home mom, with children ages 5, 2 and 1. She says she gets ideas for writing topics from them constantly.

“[Writing] became sort of an outlet at home,” she said. “They inspire me a lot with that day-to-day fun stuff.”

Published by Rocket Science Productions, the book came together quickly once the ball started rolling, Buoni said. Now she calls holding the finished product in her hands “surreal.”

“It was definitely a process, never having done this before,” she said. “It’s been fun, and I like seeing it come to life. But it’s a lot of work, obviously.”

Alissa Buoni bookBuoni’s first child, Kendrick, tragically passed away in 2009. The loss of her son to complications of Heterotaxy syndrome and congenital heart disease has inspired her donate a portion of sales to Children’s National Hospital. Buoni has written a book on the topic of loss in families, “Make a Wish for Me,” that is scheduled to be released in April.

“Oh, The #Adulting You’ll Do” features illustrations by Kosta Gregory, a Boston-based artist. The book is currently available for purchase on Buoni’s website as well as on Amazon and other sites. It can also be downloaded through iTunes.

by Dave Emke — February 1, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

Rock of Ages logoReston Community Players will bring rock ‘n’ roll to life next month, as “Rock of Ages” comes to the stage.

The show, a celebration of rock bands with big guitar solos and bigger hair, will hit Reston on March 10. It features songs from Styx, Whitesnake, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister and more favorites from the ’80s.

“It is a privilege to direct the very talented cast of singers, dancers and actors in ‘Rock of Ages,'” said Joshua Redford, director of the production. “This is a show unlike any other.”

The musical is the story of Drew and Sherrie, an aspiring rock star and an aspiring actress, who try to prevent developers from turning the Sunset Strip into a strip mall.

The cast of the Reston production consists of the following performers:

  • Russell Silber (Drew)
  • Claire O’Brien Jeffrey (Sherrie)
  • Brett Harwood (Lonny)
  • Joey Olson (Dennis Dupree)
  • Ben Peter (Stacee Jaxx)
  • Brent Stone (Hertz Klinemann)
  • Rich Farella (Franz Klinemann)
  • Bruni Herring (Justice)
  • Evie Korovesis (Regina)
  • Melrose Pyne (Ensemble)
  • Kendall Mostafavi (Ensemble)
  • Jenny Girardi (Ensemble)
  • Chris Dore (Ensemble)
  • Philip Smith-Cobbs (Ensemble)
  • Erich DiCenzo (Ensemble)

The band includes Matt Jeffrey on keyboards, Christopher Willett on bass, Matt Robotham on drums, and Noah Dail and David Smigielski on guitars.

In addition to Redford, the creative team includes producer Jocelyn Steiner, stage manager Colleen Stock, music director Matt Jeffrey, choreographer Chris Dore, sound designer Seth Sacher, lighting designers Ian Claar and Sam Andrews, set designer Dan Widerski, costume designer Carol Steele, and hair and makeup designers Molly Hicks Larson and Kat Brais.

A number of these members of the Reston Community Players team were recently nominated for Washington Area Community Theater Honors awards for their work with the troupe in 2016.

“Rock of Ages” will be performed on the CenterStage at the Reston Community Center (2310 Colts Neck Road), March 10 through April 1. For showtimes, tickets and more information, call 703-476-4500 (ext. 3) or visit the Community Players online.

Reston Community Players is now in its 50th season. It is currently staging “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” through Saturday.

by RestonNow.com — January 27, 2017 at 4:00 pm 2 Comments

The Audubon Society of Northern Virginia will be displaying the Audubon’s top photos of 2016 beginning this weekend at the Walker Nature Center in Reston (1145o Glade Drive).

The top nine photos of the year were chosen from more than 7,000 submissions to the Audubon Photography Awards by about 1,700 photographers. The exhibit also includes three honorable-mention winners, for a total of 12 photos.

Criteria included technical quality, originality and artistic merit. The photos cover a range of bird species and geographic locations.

An open house for the exhibit is scheduled for 1-3 p.m. Sunday at the nature center, with the photos to be on display until Feb. 14.

Along with the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia and Walker Nature Center, Friends of Reston is also co-sponsoring the show. Light refreshments, short bird walks and hands-on bird activities will also be part of the open house.

For more information, call 703-476-9689 or email [email protected].

by Dave Emke — January 27, 2017 at 1:30 pm 2 Comments

Reston Community Players logoReston Community Players will have their productions all over the annual Washington Area Theatre Community Honors awards in March.

The troupe’s productions received 23 total nominations for the 2016 season, second-most among the 27 participating theater companies. Only the Little Theatre of Alexandria (26) received more.

Among the nominations are 17 for the Community Players’ performance of “Gypsy” last fall. The group also received five nominations for its performance of “Mary Poppins” (February-March) and one for its staging of “Master Class” (January).

Paul Tonden, artistic director, said the Community Players are humbled by and grateful for the recognition.

“We strive to offer our patrons high-quality productions, which would not be possible without so many talented volunteers,” Tonden said. “We consider ourselves lucky to be part of such a vibrant DC Metro-area theater community and congratulate all the nominees.”

The full list of RCP nominations is as follows:

  • Outstanding Musical — “Gypsy”
  • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical — Jennifer Lambert (“Rose”), “Gypsy”
  • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical — Shaina Murphy (“Mary Poppins”), “Mary Poppins”
  • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play — Lisa Anne Bailey (“Mary Callas”), “Master Plan”
  • Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical — Erich DiCenzo (“Tulsa”), “Gypsy”
  • Outstanding Direction of a Musical — Paul Tonden, “Gypsy”
  • Outstanding Music Direction — Mitch Bassman, “Gypsy”
  • Outstanding Choreography — Andrea Heininge, “Gypsy”
  • Outstanding Choreography — Andrea Heininge, “Mary Poppins”
  • Outstanding Costume Design in a Musical — Kathy Dunlap, “Gypsy”
  • Outstanding Costume Design in a Musical — Charlotte Marson and Judy Whelihan, “Mary Poppins”
  • Outstanding Hair Design in a Musical — Chris Dore, “Gypsy”
  • Outstanding Light Design in a Musical — Ken and Patti Crowley, “Gypsy”
  • Outstanding Makeup Design in a Musical — Chris Dore, “Gypsy”
  • Outstanding Properties in a Musical — MaryJo Ford, “Gypsy”
  • Outstanding Set Construction in a Musical — Dan Widerski, “Gypsy”
  • Outstanding Set Design in a Musical — Bart Healy, “Gypsy”
  • Outstanding Set Decoration in a Musical — Jerry and Bea Morse, “Gypsy”
  • Outstanding Set Painting in a Musical — Cathy Rieder, “Gypsy”
  • Outstanding Special Effects — Greg Steele, Sara Birkhead and Rich Bird, “Mary Poppins”
  • Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical — Joshua Redford, “Gypsy”
  • Outstanding Cameo in a Musical — Jaclyn Young (“Electra”), “Gypsy”
  • Outstanding Cameo in a Musical — Phillip Scott-Cobbs (“Neleus”), “Mary Poppins”

Last year, Reston Community Players took home four awards on 17 nominations.

The Community Players are currently presenting “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” through Feb. 4.

This year’s awards ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, March 5 at The Birchmere in Alexandria.

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