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NextStop Theatre Creates Program for D.C.-Area Playwrights

NextStop Theatre Company is rolling out a new program to strengthen the network of D.C.-area playwrights.

The Herndon-based, nonprofit theatre company unveiled The Playwrights’ Initiative on Friday (Feb. 8) to help connect artists and to provide resources often needed for new theatrical works.

“I have long aspired for NextStop to get involved in developing new work,” NextStop Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Evan Hoffman said in a statement. “But I wanted to start by consulting with playwrights. I wanted to find out how we could best serve them and their creative process.”

Hoffman says that playwrights often say they face two challenges. “They lamented that the writing process can be very lonely work and that finding the people and space to gain objective feedback is daunting,” Hoffman said. “It is my hope we can help to ease both of those struggles through this program.”

The program has two components.

First, the theatre company will host an inaugural “Playwrights’ Mixer and Pitch-fest” on March 23. NextStop Theatre Company plans to invite 30 local playwrights network with each other and local directors and producers before each playwright pitches their work to the group.

After the event, playwrights in attendance will have the opportunity to complete a survey about the pitches, which will help NextStop Theatre Company select the works for a series of free staged readings. The theatre company plans to have professional actors and directors take part in the developmental readings, which are slated to take place over six months.

The Playwrights’ Initiative is partly funded by a grant from ArtsFairfax.

Photo by NextStop Theatre Company

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CenterStage Event Set to Fuse Indian, Japanese Musical Traditions

The musical traditions of Japan and India will combine in a performance by Yumi Kurosawa and Anubrata Chatterjee at the Reston Community Center later this week.

Kurosawa is set to play the koto, a Japanese stringed musical instrument, while Chatterjee will play the tabla — a pair of small drums common in North Indian classical music.

“This collaboration highlights their affinity and respect for one another as virtuosic performers while furthering their own timeless musical tradition,” the event description says, adding that the performance by Kurosawa and Chatterjee will focus on creating “musical tales.”

They are set to perform on CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road) at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13. Tickets cost $15 for Restonians and $20 for everyone else.

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Nun-Themed Art Show Comes to Hunters Woods at Trails Edge

A Vienna resident’s art show titled “A Bunch of ‘Nun’sense” will bring depictions of nuns and stained glass windows to Hunters Woods at Trails Edge.

The art show “consists of mainly acrylic and ink on large stretched canvas, which includes a variety of styles,” according to information provided by Hunters Woods at Trails Edge.

Jan Dittmar, 68, started painting at the age of 50. A decade later, she earned an arts degree at Columbia College in South Car0lina at the age of 60. She is currently a member of the League of Reston Artists and the Vienna Arts Society.

Locals can view her nun-themed art while sipping sangria and enjoying sweets at the Pre-Opening Showroom (2254B Hunters Woods Village Shopping Center) from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Friday (Feb. 8).

Photo via Jan Dittmar/Facebook

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Annual Exhibit Showcases Fine Art Photos at ArtSpace Herndon

Finalists’ photographs for a contest have their work on display at ArtSpace Herndon starting today (Feb. 5).

The 10th Annual Fine Art Photography Exhibit features nearly three dozen finalists in the Fine Art Photography Competition.

A sneak peek at the artwork on ArtSpace Herndon’s website and Facebook shows some of the vibrant, colorful and dramatic photographs in the exhibit.

“These photographers show how a group of artists with a range of themes and skills can be brought together to exhibit work ranging from whimsical digital collages to realistic black and white prints to colorful abstract images, into one spectacular exhibit,” according to ArtSpace Herndon’s description of the exhibit.

Photographer Mary Louise Ravese is the competition’s judge. She selected the 45 photographs from more than 180 submissions from 93 professional and amateur photographers in Virginia, Maryland, D.C. and Pennsylvania.

Locals who visit the exhibit will see art by some Reston-area artists. A handful of members of the League of Reston Artists have their work showcased, including Vladimir Grablev, Maureen Costantino and Sandy Gherardi.

Ravese will announce the winners during the free awards reception from 7-9 p.m. on Saturday (Feb. 9) at 750 Center Street.

The exhibit runs until March 2.

Photo via ArtSpace Herndon/Facebook 

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Artist Seeks ‘Sculpture Court’ Performers for NoVa Fine Arts Festival

Adults are needed to participate in a movement installation for the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival.

Artist Heidi Latsky plans to “celebrate the beauty of differences” with a movement installation titled “ON DISPLAY/RESTON.” The installation is a sculpture court where the performers are the sculptures, according to the Reston Community Center.

The Reston installation is a local platform for a worldwide initiative called “ON DISPLAY,” which was created by a partnership between Heidi Latsky Dance, a New York City dance company, and the United Nations to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Men and women age 18 and older are able to participate — no formal dance experience is required. “Diversity and the most inclusive range of ability are welcome. The movement installations will involve focus, stillness and structured improvisation,” according to the press release.

“ON DISPLAY/RESTON” will take place on Saturday, May 18, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 19, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. People interested in participating should contact Kevin Danaher at [email protected]

The three-day festival at Reston Town Center is set to start on Friday, May 17, and last until Sunday, May 19. More than 200 artists are anticipated at the festival.

Photo by Charlotte Jones

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New Book Examines Bizarre Stories from Herndon’s Past

Herndon is well known as a sleepy farming community with growing development working its way west from Reston, but a new book takes aim at some of the bizarre stories from the town’s history.

“Hidden History of Herndon,” part of the Hidden History series from publisher The History Press, is scheduled to be released on March 11 in paperback.

The book’s author, Barbara Glakas, is the historian of the Herndon Historical Society. Glakas is a native of Fairfax County and a retired teacher from Fairfax County Public Schools.

The book includes tales from the town’s naming by a mysterious stranger to local unrest in the 1920s. According to the Amazon description:

A mysterious stranger who passed through the village one night suggested the name Herndon, after the captain of a sunken ship. The Civil War split loyalties among the townspeople and brought an unexpected Confederate raid on the town. Prohibition brought bootleggers with it, but its repeal caused an uproar from temperance-minded residents. Lively community fairs were ever present in the 1920s, but so was the Ku Klux Klan. Local author Barbara Glakas uses rare photographs and firsthand accounts to tell little-known stories of the people, places and events that shaped the history of the Town of Herndon.

Other nearby Hidden History books include “Hidden History of Northern Virginia,” “Hidden History of Arlington County” and “Hidden History of Alexandria.”

The book was mentioned by the Herndon Town Council in a Jan. 15 session during a recognition of the town’s 140th anniversary.

Photo via The History Press

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‘IRL’ Exhibit Debuts Tomorrow at the Greater Reston Arts Center

Updated at 11:05 a.m. — Corrects location of the exhibit

Art is imitating life — especially in an increasingly digital world.

Monica Stroik’s “Cyber series” opens tomorrow (Jan. 17) at the Greater Reston Arts Center at Signature (11850 Freedom Drive).

The series titled “IRL” — shorthand for “in real life” — explores “being present and disconnected simultaneously and how the natural world is entangled in our digital lives” by investigating he intersections between the organic, man-made and virtual worlds, according to the arts center.

Stroik, a Virginia-based painter and video artist, uses a combination of video and paintings for her ongoing series. Her website shows some of the colorful oil on canvas paintings, which depict buildings and nature juxtaposed with blocks and geometric designs.

Stroik’s artist statement says that her paintings depict the natural organic world in relation to the human architectonic influence.

“By standing in the ideal position, the paintings as a group serve to alter the viewer’s perception of space by providing the illusion of a continuous horizon line, which expands despite the confines of the physical architectural environment,” she wrote.

An opening reception for the exhibit will be held on Thursday, Jan. 24, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The exhibit runs until April 23.

Photo via Greater Reston Arts Center

This story has been updated

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New Guide Profiles the Public Art of Reston Town Center

Updated at 5:30 p.m. — Clarifies the project as part of a series of guides and includes Phoebe Avery.

Locals may find Reston Town Center to be a difficult place to park a car or open a business, but it’s apparently a popular spot to view public art.

Charlotte Geary, a local photographer, worked on commission by Public Art Reston to photograph every public art piece for an upcoming guide.

“Finding the artwork was half the fun,” Geary said on her website. “It was like a scavenger hunt around town. Of course I knew the most prominent sculptures, like Mercury Fountain, but some of the other artwork was unfamiliar to me and thrilling to discover.”

Geary provided a glimpse behind the photographs on her blog, like her use of a fisheye lens to capture the curve of the buildings.

Phoebe Avery, who is also contracted for the project, is writing the text. Both Geary and Avery contributed to Public Art Retson’s first “Public Art Tour Series” guide, which highlighted public artworks at Lake Anne Village Center.

The second guide of the series is slated for a release sometime in 2019, Anne Delaney, the executive director of Public Art Reston, told Reston. “The purpose of the series is to create greater awareness about Reston’s public art collection — the community’s cultural assets — available to all at all time and free of charge,” she said in an email. 

While some of the artwork is prominent, others are more obscure, like troll sculptures hidden under a bridge and half-concealed in undergrowth.

Photo via Charlotte Geary

This story has been updated

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‘Variety — The Spice of Life’ Exhibit Opens Tuesday at Jo Ann Rose Gallery

What is the spice of life? One artist delves into that topic with a new exhibit of paintings titled “Variety – The Spice of Life.”

Lassie Corbett, a Reston artist, will have her paintings on display at RCC Lake Anne’s Jo Ann Rose Gallery (1609-A Washington Plaza) starting tomorrow (Jan. 8).

“Corbett captures a mood, glowing light, subtle color and — above all — the chi, or spirit, in her paintings,” the Reston Community Center posted. Corbett draws on nature and outdoor scenic locations for her art with watercolor as her main medium, the post says.

Inspired by a two-year stint as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines, Corbett’s art has taken her around the world — from painting in Greece to sketchbook journaling in Turkey. She has taught painting workshops in Ireland, England, France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Peru and Hawaii.

She has also taught locally with acrylic painting, collage, Chinese brush painting and watercolor painting classes at the Herndon Community Center.

The exhibit runs until Feb. 4. A reception will be held on Sunday, Jan. 27, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Images via Reston Art Gallery

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New Steel Sculpture in Reston Town Center Delayed Until Spring

The Greater Reston Arts Center has pushed back the completion of a new 50-foot steel sculpture in Reston Town Center from this fall to spring 2019. 

Reston Now previously reported the installation and an opening ceremony were expected in August.

Now, the sculpture’s anticipated unveiling is set for spring after the project faced construction delays, Lily Siegel, executive director and curator of the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE), told Reston Now.

“As we embarked on [the project], things have shifted and got a little bit delayed,” she said.

Titled “Buoyant Force,” the sculpture by artist Sue Wrbican is inspired by the work of Kay Sage, an American surrealist who was known for her paintings of scaffolded structure and furled fabric in barren landscapes. GRACE previously featured Wrbican’s work last fall.

Currently, the sculpture is being fabricated by two fabricators. The main 50-foot piece is getting welded together at one fabricator’s shop in Rockville Md.

Siegel said that the GRACE team has dropped in several times on the fabrication, describing the tall piece as reminiscent of scaffolding or the inside of a skyscraper. Even though the 50-foot piece is lying on the ground, “it’s very impressive,” she said. “The impact is pretty powerful.”

A second fabricator is making other steel structures that will get attached to the sculpture. Both sourced preexisting, pre-fabricated materials at Wrbican’s request. 

While the main work on the pieces is “pretty much done,” technical details still need finishing before installation. Once the pieces are on site, the installation will require a crane and boom lift, she said.

“Buoyant Force” marks Seigel’s first public sculpture — an undertaking that has taught her quite a bit throughout the process. For starters, the project initially planned to have one fabricator, before she decided the work required two people, she said.

“It’s taking a whole team of professionals to get this done,” Seigel said That team includes architects, inspectors, a concrete team, engineers, movers and — of course — the artist.

Seigel also took a new approach to fund the sculpture. For the first time, GRACE started a crowdfunding campaign to cover the costs. Locals can donate online.

So far, the campaign raised about $50,000 — nearly half of the required funds — in roughly five months, she said. The Reston Town Center Association, Reston Community Center, ArtsFairfax and Public Art Reston are some of the places that have donated.

Seigel said the “slow” fundraising efforts are not causing the delay.

Additionally, the architect, engineer, concrete company and transportation company are providing pro bono work — a donation of its own kind, she said.

Siegel said a community celebration to mark the grand opening will happen.

After that, she plans to host programming, including dance, poetry and education, around the sculpture, which is expected to be on view for five years. “We’re looking for different ways to bring the community back around the sculpture” with different perspectives, she said. “We are incredibly excited about this project.”

Images via Greater Reston Arts Center 

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Here’s a Breakdown for This Weekend’s Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival

The 27th annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival is returning this weekend, and this year the festival is a day longer.

The festival will run Friday (May 18) through Sunday (May 20) at the Reston Town Center. The event encourages attendees to make a $5 donation, which comes with $200 worth of restaurant coupons.

The festival hosted by the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) brings in 30,000 to 50,000 attendees each year, the festival said in a press release.

For the first time, this year’s festival also includes a participatory performance “The Illuminated Fountain of Extinction” by Laure Drogoul both Saturday night during the Festival Party and on Sunday afternoon. Another festival first, is that GRACE members are given a free ticket to the Festival Party. Cost for membership for artists is $40 and $50 for other members.

Rain or shine the festival will go on, so long as a major storm does not hit, one of the organizers told RestonNow.

Below is a breakdown of the three-day event:

Friday (May 18) 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.:

  • All day — More than 200 artist booths from across the U.S.on display
  • Festival Friday — There will be specials all day among retailers and restaurants in Reston Town Center

Saturday (May 19) 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.:

  • All day — More than 200 artist booths from across the U.S.on display
  • Family Art Park — Free art making activities for all ages in the Pavillion
  • Festival Party (7-9 p.m.) — A celebration for sponsors, Adopt-an-Artist donors, GRACE members and artists. The party includes an award ceremony and first look into “The Illuminated Fountain of
    Extinction” by Laure Drogoul.

Sunday (May 20) 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.:

  • All day — More than 200 artist booths from across the U.S.on display
  • Family Art Park — Free art making activities for all ages in the Pavillion
  • “The Illuminated Fountain of Extinction” by Laure Drogoul (1-3 p.m.) — an immersive, interactive artwork in the Pavillion that is a tableau of natural and post-natural creatures inspired by manuscripts. Viewers are encouraged to participate in the performance that shows off a pageant of creatures from the past, present and future.

Garage parking is free during the festival. No registration is required.

Photo Courtesy of Carol Nahorniak

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Dishing Up Tea and Dirt in Reston

Travel back in time next Thursday evening, May 17 as professional impersonator Elaine Flynn transforms into one of history’s most famous presidential offspring for “Tea With Alice Roosevelt Longworth” at the Reston Community Center at Hunters Woods.

“If the headlines of today’s political scandals make you shake your head in disbelief, wait until you witness impersonator Elaine Flynn dish the dirt on scandals of yesteryear,” describe event organizers.

Roosevelt Longworth was the eldest child of former President Theodore Roosevelt, and his only child with his first wife, Alice Hathaway Lee. As a controversial writer and prominent socialite, Roosevelt Longworth is widely considered by many to be history’s first true “celebrity,” in every sense of the word.

As such, it’s no surprise that Roosevelt Longworth would have some very good gossip indeed, about the lives of the rich and famous around New York City and Washington, D.C. In fact, it’s rumored she first coined the phrase, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by me.”

Therefore, the theme of this event is “Scandals in the City.”

“Alice starts with her own scandals,” describe event organizers. “She then continues relating the scandals that led to the death of a Congressman; President Harding and his mistresses; the love affairs involving Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt; the person (other than Mamie) who REALLY liked Ike; the women linked to JFK; the Capitol Hill employee who couldn’t file, type or even answer the phone; and the story of the Congressman, Fannie Foxe and the Tidal Basin, and more.”

Registration for this special event in honor of Older Americans Month is $15 for Reston residents and $23 for non-residents. Tickets include afternoon tea and the performance.

The event is co-sponsored by Reston Community Center and the Reston Association and takes place from 1-4 p.m. on Thursday, May 17 at RCC-Hunters Woods, 2310 Colts Neck Road. Register online.

Photo: Alice Roosevelt Longworth (1884-1980), C0urtesy of the National Archives / Public Domain

 

 

 

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Mike Cloud to Discuss Upcoming ‘Figure Studies’ Exhibit

The Greater Reston Arts Center will be hosting the exhibit, “Mike Cloud: Figure Studies” from April 28 through July 7.

This is the first time Brooklyn-based artist Cloud will be showing his work in the greater D.C. area, according to the center. Cloud’s exhibit is described by the center as a selection of works that “consider language, symbolism, metaphor, history and identity through the examination of the figure.”

The exhibit based on a single painting “Cycle and Stable” (2015) features Cloud’s series of collages based on the work of photographer Anne Leibovitz and new paintings.

Cloud received an M.F.A. from Yale University School of Art and a B.F.A. from the University of Illinois-Chicago. He will also host a talk on the opening day of his exhibit from 4-5 p.m. followed by an opening reception from 5-7 p.m.

There will be a private dinner with Cloud celebrating the exhibit. Tickets cost $100 for the public and $75 for GRACE members, board of directors and sponsors. Those interested must RSVP by emailing [email protected] by April 25.

Photo courtesy GRACE

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‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ Comes to Reston Community Center

Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” will be gracing the Reston Community Center’s CenterStage from March 9 through 24.

The play, performed by the Reston Community Players, tells the story of Brick Pollitt, an alcoholic and former high school football player, and his wife Maggie. When the two join the rest of the Pollitt family for Big Daddy’s 65th birthday, a story of survival and family dysfunction emerges at the Southern plantation.

“Cat is one of my favorite stage productions, and it is an honor to bring these characters to life at Reston,” said Sharon Veselic, who directs the show, in a press release. “While the story takes place in the 1950s, many of the dynamics of the personalities portrayed on stage are still relevant today. It’s a true classic.”

The show is presented through an arrangement with Dramatists Play Service on behalf of the Sewanee: The University of the South.

Tickets are $23. To purchase, contact the box office at 703-476-4500 or go online. The play is recommended for ages 16 and older for adult themes and brief nudity.

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Greater Reston Arts Center Wins Virginia ’50 For 50 Inspiration Award’

The Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) was recently selected by the Virginia Commission for the Arts (VCA) as a “50 For 50 Inspiration Award” winner.

From a pool of more than 350 nominees, GRACE was honored in the category of Bedrock Institutions, which recognizes organizations that have been around for more than 10 years and “have demonstrated a benefit to economic health and tourism in the local community.”

At the recent awards ceremony, attended by Governor Terry McAuliffe, GRACE was also recognized for its artistic excellence, its celebration of diversity, and its work toward helping to make Virginia a “cultural destination.”

GRACE was one of only four organizations statewide to be recognized in this category.

“This is an incredibly proud moment for GRACE. To be in such rare company is humbling,” said Executive Director and Curator Lily Siegel. “All of us here view this as a real legacy award — one that honors the many people, fantastic partners and generous sponsors who, over GRACE’s 40-plus years, have made this iconic community institution what it is today.”

VCA planned the 50 For 50 Inspiration Awards to celebrate the commission’s anniversary — 50 examples of programs, individuals and organizations critical to the arts in Virginia, for the commission’s 50th anniversary.

“We are indeed fortunate in Virginia to have an abundant and diverse roster of outstanding artists and organizations and their supporters spanning disciplines and decades,” said Margaret Vanderhye, the commission’s executive director.

Commissioner Jo Hodgin added, “These awardees carry the banner for countless arts workers and supporters who use the arts to build a strong Virginia. We believe the arts are essential for a creative 21st-century workforce, economically dynamic communities and a culture based on wellness and accessibility.”

“I am very pleased to be moving GRACE forward on its vision to elevate the arts in the area by showcasing local and regional artists alongside artists of national and international reputations. We will continue to contribute and grow our importance and relevance in the Commonwealth and D.C. Metropolitan region,” Siegel said.

GRACE was founded in 1974. From its current headquarters at Reston Town Center, the organization hosts exhibitions, educational programming and special events year-round, including the annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival.

Currently, an exhibition of the photography of Sue Wrbican, entitled “Well Past the Echo,” is on display at GRACE through Nov. 18.

GRACE is located at Reston Town Center at 12001 Market St., suite 103. Visit the organization online.

Image: (Left to right) Governor Terry McAuliffe, GRACE Board Chair Robert Goudie, VCA Executive Director Margaret Vanderhye, and GRACE Executive Director and Curator Lily Siegel. Photo credit: Michaele White

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