A new art show and sale at Lake Anne Plaza’s Reston Art Gallery and Studios (RAGS) will benefit COVID-19 relief efforts in Nepal.

More than 50 works from Ugandan and Nepali artists will be on display and on sale starting tomorrow (Wednesday) through Thursday (Sept. 2) with a reception tomorrow at 5 p.m.

The show is being presented by Scott DeLisi, the former U.S. ambassador to both Uganda and Nepal, and his organization Engage Nepal. Proceeds will go toward funding a pediatric intensive care unit in a Nepal hospital that will help care for young COVID patients.

“Nepal has been devastated, so we are doing all we can to help,” DeLisi wrote in the press release. “This includes the sale of these wonderful paintings and photos donated by a variety of artists, including many from Uganda who truly wanted to help the people in Nepal in a time of need. I met those artists when I served as Ambassador in Uganda and was so touched by their kindness and concern.”

Currently, the hospital has constructed the ward with beds, and the local government has provided two ventilators, DeLisi elaborated to Reston Now in an email.

“But much remains to do,” he noted.

The show and fundraiser are being held in Reston thanks to local artist and former Foreign Service officer Rosemarie Forsythe, whose month-long show “Illuminations” is set to debut at the Reston Art Gallery on Sept. 3.

“I learned about Engage Nepal through a former Foreign Service colleague who is on the board of directors,” Forsythe said in the release. “I spent over a decade as a Foreign Service officer in the late 1980s to late 1990s. I like to think that this event is my way of showing appreciation for the time I enjoyed traveling, hiking and mountain climbing in Nepal.”

RAGS Director Pat Macintyre said she is “honored” to host the event.

“All artists are world artists, and we are honored to host this event and help raise awareness of this global concern,” Macintyre wrote. “We hope that our community of Reston and beyond will enjoy Engage Nepal’s art show and support the work of this important organization.”

Artworks that will be featured in the show include a painting of the African Cape buffalo, Ugandan wooden sculptures, and works from artist Lima Mugalu.

“[She’s] one of the most active female artists in Uganda,” DiLisi told Reston Now. “She paints women celebrating weddings, at introduction ceremonies, and in other social interactions using mixed media, acrylics and fabrics.”

Prices range from $50 to $850. Monetary donations will also be accepted.

DiLisi says that he’s touched by the gallery’s willingness to host the show and sale.

“I have to say…that the community spirit of everyone associated with Reston Art Gallery has touched me,” DiLisi said. “Their willingness to act to help kids in need in Nepal has been heartwarming.”

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3AM: Time Sensitive, a new exhibit at Tephra in Reston (courtesy Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art)

A new exhibit at Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art in Reston is set to highlight how great art can still be created even in the midst of intense political and social upheaval.

The Reston Town Center-based local arts organization, which re-branded earlier this year from Greater Reston Arts Center, is debuting “3AM: Time Sensitive” next month, a collection of performance-based works from a Myanmar artist collective.

“There’s a lot that we can learn about how people express themselves, how people create art, and how people organize in their communities in the face of volatile political times,” says show curator Adriel Luis. “Often times what can be missed is how much we can learn about…these issues happening in the United States when we actually look at things from a global lens.”

The exhibit will feature three video-based works showing lived-in experiences of the artists, particularly the impact of globalization, political turmoil, and the complexities of queer life in Myanmar.

This is the first time that work of the three artists that make up 3AM — Ma Ei, Ko Latt, and Yadanar — is being shown in the United States. The exhibit at Tephra will run through early January 2022.

One piece, says Luis, features still images of the artists holding objects that are commonplace in Myanmar, some traditional and some clearly imported from the west.

“There are places in this world that are actively going through civil war, but yet art persists and people continue to express themselves,” Luis says.

The exhibit is in-person only at the moment, but the display will also be shown out the windows of Tephra’s gallery at 12001 Market Street for those who are not comfortable coming inside.

Despite a pandemic, Tephra has had several notable exhibits and displayed works over the last few months including Quantum Shift, which is still on display until August 7, as well a monolith sculpture that was erected in D.C. back in May.

Luis says he and Tephra as a whole made it a priority to work with international artists not only to grow as an institution, but also to provide a look into what’s going on in other parts of the world.

Luis, who is also a curator at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, says his career has been about bringing artists from across the world to local galleries and communities.

“The hope is to demonstrate how showing an international artist can actually resonate deeply within a local community, as opposed to sticking out like a sore thumb,” he says.

He believes Reston’s size will give community members a closer connection to the message that these artists are trying to make.

“There’s a lot of reasons why somewhere like Reston is so much more similar to the environment that these artists are used to than a bigger city like D.C.,” he says.

Under normal circumstances, the artists would be here to introduce and answer any questions about their work, but between the COVID-19 pandemic and upheaval in the wake of a military coup in Myanmar, that isn’t possible for 3AM. Luis and Tephra are still trying to figure out a way to have the artists be available for a conversation about their works.

Either way, the message that Luis hopes audiences take away from this, no matter the circumstances, is one that is universal.

“The message is ‘what does it mean to be true to ourselves?’,” Luis asks. “We’ll definitely see how it lands once it’s shown, but that’s the hope.”

Courtesy Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art

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Public Art Reston has a new executive director.

The nonprofit announced last week that Trinity Villanueva officially took over the role on April 26. She succeeds Anne Delaney, who served as executive director for 11 years before stepping down on July 31.

Villanueva says that she plans to focus on making art more accessible and inclusive. Citing Reston founder Robert E. Simon’s belief in art as a necessity, she says she is “thrilled” to know it is such an ingrained principle in Reston’s culture.

“Art is a connector. It fosters a strong climate and elevates voices on the spectrum of agency,” Villanueva said. “We will continue to cultivate accessibility and equitable art, already embedded in Simon’s guiding principles.”

Villanueva comes from the Carlos Rosario International Charter School in D.C., where she founded and led the arts integration and culture department for more than a decade.

She’s also the co-founder of Mixt Collective, which supports marginalized artists, and she’s a graduate of multiple institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania and Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.

Public Art Reston Board of Directors Chair Maggie Parker noted how Villanueva’s energy has already impacted Reston, complimenting her “zest for living and her unlimited view of what public art can do for a community.”

“She has already injected joy and enthusiasm into Reston and will be a wonderful collaborator and thought leader in the community,” Parker said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has kept the art world on the sidelines in recent months, shuttering venues and limiting many events to online spaces, but Villanueva feels it has also spotlighted the need for art to take on a more primary role.

“The constraints of these times have further shown that you do not need to go into a building to engage in art,” Villanueva said. “Your direct involvement is what makes art transformative, and this next chapter for Public Art Reston will set that tone.”

As Public Art Reston’s executive director, Villanueva will oversee the continued implementation of the Public Art Master Plan for Reston that the organization adopted in 2008.

“I look forward to gathering the Reston community to collectively define public art,” said Villanueva. “It is a wonderful time to recharge and regenerate what public art means, across disciplines, and positively impact Reston’s current and future growth.”

Photo via Public Art Reston

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The Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art is expanding its reach to downtown D.C., where it is installing a sculpture by California artist Gisela Colón.

Titled “Parabolic Monolith Iridium,” the sculpture will be located at the top of James Monroe Park near the National Mall, and it will be on view starting this Saturday (May 8). It is Colón’s first public sculpture by  in the D.C. region.

“We’re thrilled to bring Gisela’s work to Washington,” Tephra ICA Executive Director and Curator Jaynelle Hazard said. “The Parabolic Monolith Iridium is an object that speaks to the future, to transformation, and especially to hope. It’s symbolism is very much aligned with how we aim to position ourselves and our perspective as an institution.”

Tephra, which was previously known as the Greater Reston Arts Center, is currently hosting Colón’s D.C.-area debut solo exhibit, which features acrylic and carbon-fiber artwork made using “advanced aerospace technology,” according to the institute’s website.

The Quantum Shift exhibition will remain on display at Tephra’s gallery in Reston (12001 Market St.) through May 29. In-person visits are limited to 30-minute appointments made in advance, but it can also be viewed through a virtual tour.

The monolith that will be on display in D.C. was part of the solo exhibit. A native of Puerto Rico who currently works and lives in Los Angeles, Colón says she wanted to explore the relationship between humans and the earth through her sculptures.

“While their outward appearance is high-tech, space-age, and futuristic, [my Monoliths] are also visceral, primitive, and reminiscent of ancient cultural artifacts,” Colón said.

The “Parabolic Monolith Iridium” project is being sponsored by Leidos and the civil engineering firm Charles P. Johnson & Associates. Tephra partnered with the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District on the display.

As part of its sponsorship, Leidos has committed to making a donation to the Puerto Rican nonprofit Hogares Teresa Toda, which provides shelter, education, and other supports to adolescent girls.

“As a leading science and technology company, creativity drives our pursuit of knowledge and solving problems for our customers,” Leidos Senior Vice President Melissa Lee Dueñas said. “We are excited to team up with Ms. Colón on this new exhibit and we look forward to partnering with her to help empower girls and young people in Puerto Rico.”

Photo courtesy Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art

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Morning Notes

Reston Association Board Election Ends Tomorrow — Voting in Reston Association’s Board of Directors election will close at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 2. There are four candidates seeking two at-large seats, along with one person running for the South Lakes District seat. Reston Now ran profiles of the at-large candidates earlier this year. [RA]

Major Development Coming to Innovation Center Station — Developers are planning to bring 4 million square feet of development to the Innovation Center Metro station. The latest proposal focuses on Loudoun County but was made possible by the sale of the Center for Innovative Technology campus in Herndon [Washington Business Journal]

Virginia Adopts First State Voting Rights Act in U.S. — “Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday approved the Voting Rights Act of Virginia, which aims to eliminate voter suppression and intimidation in the state.” [CNN/WTOP]

South Lakes Students Install Public Art at Lake Thoreau — Students on the South Lakes High School STEAM Team finished installing their Part and Parcel art exhibit at Lake Thoreau earlier this week. The work took nearly 17 months to put together and was developed through a partnership between Reston Association and Public Art Reston. [@SeahawkBoosters/Twitter]

FEMA to Help with COVID-19-related Funeral Costs — “Beginning in early April, residents may apply to FEMA for financial assistance to help cover funeral costs incurred by COVID-19-related deaths. This assistance will be available to all residents…who incurred expenses after Jan. 20, 2020, for a death attributed to the virus.” [Fairfax County Health Department]

Leidos Wins Multimillion-Dollar Navy Contract — The Reston-based contractor Leidos has been awarded a contract with an estimated value of $149.2 million to provide engineering, technical, and management services for the U.S. Navy’s Naval Array Technical Support Center. [PR Newswire]

Photo by Ray Copson

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Monday, March 29

  • Draw Nature (4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m) — Get out your pencils and get ready to draw the trees, sky, and birds around you. Join naturalist and artist Margaret Wohler on the trails of Fairfax County’s Huntley Meadows Park. Learn basic skills, color theory, perspective, shading, gesture, contour and realistic rendering. This is a four-week class.

Tuesday March 30

  • Storytelling, Roots of Resistance (6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) — Explore the role of folktales in resistance with local storyteller Diane Macklin. She’ll talk about the history of storytelling as a means of liberation and introduce the audience to American folk hero High John. This virtual event is presented by the Fairfax County Public Library.

Wednesday, March 31

  • Scrawl Books Trivia (8:00 p.m.) — Experience another version of virtual literary trivia, hosted by Scrawl Books in Reston and emcee Kate Clark. This time, though, there will be new competitors looking to take the prize from Twice-Told Tales New and Used Books in Kansas.

Thursday, April 1

  • Egg-stravaganza (10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.) — Join the Reston Association for a woodland walk to find all the Easter Bunny’s eggs. Start the journey at Walker Nature Center and search high and low for those eggs. At the end, grab a selfie with the Easter Bunny or the nature center’s mascot, Walker the Woodpecker. Face masks and social distancing are required.

Friday, April 2

  • Movie Under the Stars (7:00 p.m.) — Grab a blanket and chair to take in a Hollywood blockbuster under the stars. “Lego: Batman” is the first in a series of movies presented by the Reston Association at Hunter Woods Park. Concessions will be available to purchase, but a threat of rain will cancel the event.

Saturday, April 3

  • Dino Safari (9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.) — Take a trip back in time and see dinosaurs. Head to National Harbor for a drive-thru adventure across a Jurassic safari populated by robot T-Rexes and lost Spinosauruses.
  • Anime Movie Days at the Wharf (3 p.m. & 7 p.m.) — Cherry blossoms aren’t the only symbol of the U.S.’s and Japan’s friendship. Come to downtown D.C. to watch one of Japan’s most loved exports — anime movies! Over the next 10 days, a series of popular anime movies will be played outside on the 20-foot LED screen at the Wharf.

Photo by Annie Spratt

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Monday, March 22

  • Get a Book, Return a Book (10 a.m.) – For the first time in a year, all Fairfax County libraries are reopening for express service. All visits will be limited to 30 minutes and capacity is reduced. Users can pick up a book, drop one off, and use the computer. Masks, of course, are required.

Tuesday March 23

  • Astronomy Webinar (7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.) – Have you ever wondered what’s out there among the stars? Take this astronomy webinar through Colvin Run Mill Park in Great Falls and maybe you could get closer to some answers.

Wednesday, March 24

  • Forest Bathing (12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m) – Take a bath in the forest, no water needed. Join Smithsonian Associates and certified forest therapy guide Melanie Choukas-Bradley to learn about the meditative, Japanese practice that will re-connect you to nature.

Thursday, March 25

  • Women in History(7:00 p.m.) – Celebrate Women’s History month with best-selling nonfiction author Marie Benedict, the writer behind The Mystery of Mrs. Christie about the mysterious disappearance of the famed author. Buy a signed copy of the book from One More Page Books in Arlington and check out the online talk through Fairfax County Public Libraries.

Friday, March 26

  • Animal Sleepover (5 p.m.) – Drop off your best stuffed friends to Scrawl Books at Reston Town Center for stuffie sleepover where they’ll dance, snack, and play games. Then, at 7:30 p.m., join all the furry pals for a reading of That’s Not a Dog Toy.

Saturday, March 27 

  • Peter and the Wolf (7:30 p.m.) – Start streaming Manassas Ballet Theater’s newest production. Peter and the Wolf was first composed in 1936 as a way to introduce children to orchestral instruments.
  • Underwater Egg Hunt (12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.) – The Easter Bunny has lost hundreds of eggs, but somehow they’ve been found… floating in Reston Community Center’s pool. Kids from six months to nine years old are invited to take a dip and find those eggs.

Sunday, March 28

  • Art in Bloom (any time) -The National Cherry Blossom Festival is a mix of in-person and hybrid activities this year. Head to National Landing to gander at a series of five-foot-tall bloom statues created by a host of local artists, including a few from Northern Virginia.
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The Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art will welcome its first new exhibit under new branding tomorrow.

The institute, formerly known as the Greater Reston Arts Center, will present the work of light and space artist Gisela Colon. The exhibition, which is on display through May 30, is the artists first solo exhibit in the DC area.

The exhibit features artwork that is made from carbon fiber using aerospace technology. Here’s more from Tephra on the exhibit.

Gisela Colón (b. 1966) introduces mutable, transformational qualities in her practice using a unique sculptural language of Organic Minimalism. Colón produces objects that are seamless, featuring little to no edges, lines, or place for the viewer to rest their eye, nodding towards an energy of constant fluctuation and growth. Made from carbon fiber material using advanced aerospace technology, the “Pods,” “Monoliths,” and “Elliptoids,” are light weight yet durable objects, both from this earth and not of this earth, birthed from a symbiosis of high art and high science. 

An opening reception and artist talk is set for March 18 at 6 p.m. In addition to in-person viewing, the exhibit can be visited via an online viewing room, a video walkthrough and a series of public programs. More information on these offerings is expected soon.

Photo via Tephra

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A new international art show at Gallery B in Bethesda features work from eight Reston artists.

Organized by local creative co-op Art4Us, the show is entitled “CounterCurrent” and features paintings, sculptures, drawings, photography, and literature from about 30 artists across the globe – a number of which call Reston home.

Antonella Manganelli is the co-curator of the show (along with Grazia Montalto) and she describes the show as “as everything that goes against the current.”

“It’s about challenging yourself, trying a different technique,” she says. “Unfollow the rules, whatever was taught to you. Don’t be afraid to be unconventional.”

She’s also an artist herself and heavily involved in Reston’s art community. Manganelli is a long-time board member at the League of Reston Artists.

Due to her local roots running deep (though, she’s originally from Italy) is why many Reston-based artists sent in submissions to the open call.

Artists also from France, Canada, and Brazil also provided work for the show.

CounterCurrent is also being juried, with awards being given for visual arts and literature excellence.

The literature awards are being judged by Mike Maggio, former Northern Regional Vice-President of the Poetry Society of Virginia.

Manganelli’s work is also in the show and she says that she took it as a challenge to try unfamiliar techniques.

“I’m a surrealist and like to create different meanings in my paintings,” she says.

CounterCurrent was also reviewed earlier this month in the Washington Post, which called the show “as sprawling and diverse a show as the compact Gallery B can contain.”

The show opened on February 4 and closes on the 28th of this month.

Gallery B at 7700 Wisconsin Ave E in Bethesda is open for in-person visits from Wednesday through Saturday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Masks must be worn and the space is limited to ten people at a time.

Manganelli says the idea is for artists to not hold anything back with their work in the show.

“Just speak your mind,” she says. “Be outspoken in anything you think and anything you do.”

Photo courtesy of Antonella Manganelli

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Virginia’s iconic “LOVE” letters have descended at Reston Station near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.

The letters, which were installed in late January, will remain at Reston Station as part of its permanent art collection, according to the Virginia Tourism Corp.

The 7,676-pound display was designed by artist Dylan Myers with glass fiber reinforced concrete and carbon fiber rebar. The colors of the letters were created with glass pieces.  The sign is located on Wiehle Avenue in front of Google’s offices.

Here’s more from the state’s tourism website on the display.

Each letter is supported 18″ from the top of the base with stainless steel all-thread rods in order to achieve the ” floating” effect. Bases were cast with a board form technique, creating depth and character. This is how concrete was cast before the days of plywood forms like you see now. In order to give the exact degregrated look, every single exposed rock was time intensively hand placed prior to casting. After the concrete had cured, the rocks were sheared off by hand with a hatchet. No machines were used for this process. This achieved the true look of a wall that underwent an enormous force.

It’s not the first time Virginia’s LOVE letters have made an appearance in the area. The letters are one of more than 250 installations in towns and cities across the state in order to model the state’s slogan, “Virginia is for Lovers.”

Comstock, the developer of Reston Station, says the inclusion of the installation affirms the company’s commitment to public art.

“Comstock believes the inclusion of art in development projects serves the common good in a manner that enhances architectural designs, landscaping and streetscapes,” says Christopher Clemente, CEO of Comstock.

Photo via Virginia Tourism Corp. 

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A new art exhibit titled “Fleeting Moments” is officially on display at the Signature apartment’s satellite art gallery for Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art through April 20.

The exhibit features the work of DC-based artist Amanda Outcalt. A multimedia artist who was born in North Carolina in 1985, Outcalt explores the social and psychological connections to momentary experiences.

The institute, which rebranded itself from its previous identity of the Greater Reston Arts Center, issued the following statement about the exhibit:

Outcalt’s intensive process of combining intaglio printmaking and the embellishment of works on paper results in a narrative that appears playful at the outset but carries significant weight. Large, unwieldy mammals, including bears, bison, camels, elephants, and walruses are seen positioned on precarious objects, such as circus balls and ice floes while adorned in party hats and tethered to jewel-hued balloons. Outcalt’s visual vocabulary and diverse use of media reflect emotions, such as anxiety, contentment, and longing paired with optimism, growth, and an eagerness for a return to normal during this extraordinary moment.

Her work is inspired by personal struggles with natural pregnancy loss and infertility, as well as challenges associated with memory recall.

“Outcalt’s distinctive compositions and diverse use of media reflect optimism, growth, and an eagerness to return to normal during this extraordinary moment,” according to TICA.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to the satellite gallery is only permitted for Signature residents only. However, a virtual artist talk with Outcalt is planned for Feb. 11 at 6 p.m. Participants should registry by emailing [email protected] for Zoom link and password. The event is sponsored by Reston Community Community Center.

Image via Amanda Outcalt/TICA

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Tuesday, Jan 19

  • Mr (Fictional) President (6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.) – Hail to the fictional chief. A day before a real president gets inaugurated, participate in a virtual conversation with actor Martin Sheen who played President Bartlet in the NBC television drama West Wing. Journalist Ken Walsh will be asking questions about how fictional depictions of government have impacted the real thing and why we view our national leaders the way we do. This event is hosted by the Smithsonian Associates.

Wednesday, Jan. 20

  • Bull Run Festival of Lights  (5:30 p.m.) – While this annual show of glimmery holiday lights was extended well into January, this is the final day for the season. So, bring your family, talk a socially distant walk, and appreciate this extra little bit of joy.

Thursday, Jan. 21

  • Fiber Art  (9 a.m.) – At Reston Community Center in Lake Anne, five local fiber artists are displaying contemporary quilts. Each artist has a different approach, but uses fabric and thread as their medium. Located in the Jo Anne Rose Gallery and runs through the end of February.

Friday, Jan. 22

  • Date Night (5 p.m.) – The Winery at Bull Run has all the pieces for a perfect outdoor but warm date night. A package includes a pair of rocking chairs around a fire pit, two glasses of wine in logos that are yours to keep, and one cozy blanket to snuggle up in together.

Saturday, Jan. 23

  • Hunt for Dinosaurs (1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.) – There are dinosaurs on the loose at Claude Moore Park in Sterling! Join a park naturalist in the search. Afterward, warm up by a campfire and toast some marshmallows (provided, individually wrapped, and Halel available upon request).

Sunday, Jan. 24

  • Notes From the Field screening and Q&A (3 p.m.) – Playwright and actor Anna Deavere Smith (best known for her role as Dr. Nancy McNally in the tv show West Wing) screens her new film “Notes From the Field” about systemic racism in the American justice system. Afterwards, she will appear virtually for a question and answer session.

Photo from distelAPPArath/Pixabay

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Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) is officially changing its name to Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art.

The announcement came at a virtual press conference with partners and media earlier today.

“The name [GRACE]… really no longer align and communicate about who we are,” said Robert Goudie, Chair of the Board of Directors of the non-profit community arts center. “When we did our branding exercise internally, words we came up with to describe who we are were ‘provocateur, ‘risk-taker,’ ‘disruptor,’ ’emergent.’ Those are not words… people think about with ‘GRACE,” which is a more specific term, classic, timeless.”

The change was also motivated by the fact that audiences have grown beyond the Reston community. The center’s largest audience on social media, is D.C., Reston, and New York City.

The new name comes from the term for rock fragments ejected into the air by an erupting volcano.

“For us, tephra is representative of that combustibility of the creative process,” said Jaynelle Hazard, Executive Director and Curator. “And the generation of ideas that the arts can provide.”

Founded in 1974, the non-profit houses its gallery and art space at Reston Town Center. Known for its modern and contemporary art, the center is also the long-time host of the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival. After being first postponed and, then, canceled in 2020, it’s back on for September 2021.

It’s been a year of change for the nearly five-decade-old arts center. In January 2020, its executive director and curator announced her resignation to take on a similar job in the District. In March, Hazard was named the new executive director and immediately had to confront challenges brought on by the pandemic. This includes exhibit cancellations, transitioning to online, and fundraising challenges.

For now, the gallery will remain closed until further notice. But exhibits are expected to open on Feb. 27 with at least a virtual option for viewing.

Additionally, Tephra staff says that the organization will not be moving from Reston or its current space in Reston Town Center. Particularly, with the Reston Town Center Metro station still scheduled to open later this year.

“We are not leaving Reston,” says Goudie. “We were born here. We live here and will continue to live here. We are not going anywhere.”

Full press release below:

Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE), a 501c3 non-profit located in Reston, Virginia, has announced a significant rebrand, introducing the organization as Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art (Tephra ICA). The repositioning emerged as the institution’s programs, audience, and impact continued to evolve over the past several years, and the original name and acronym no longer aligned with the organization’s reach and vision.

Tephra ICA is a non-profit, non-collecting institution committed to promoting innovative contemporary art and thinking. Leading with curiosity and care, the organization is a catalyst, generator, and advocate for visual arts. The institution is devoted to celebrating artists and values the power of art to broaden and shift perspectives, start difficult conversations, and consider alternative ideas.

“Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art reflects my vision of fostering meaningful dialogue, contextualizing artists’ work in the historical canon, and presenting critically engaged, experimental practices,” said Executive Director and Curator Jaynelle Hazard who was hired in March 2020. “The rebrand was well-underway when I joined the team last year, and I am now thrilled to publicly share this collaborative work and bring it to the finish line. What initially attracted me to GRACE, was its drive to continue expanding its presence and impact both regionally and nationally. I look forward to our growth and introducing forthcoming initiatives that will advance the organization.”

The word “tephra,” matter ejected from geothermal eruptions landing upon, nourishing, and changing the surrounding environment, emphasizes the institution’s belief in the combustibility of creativity and generation of ideas and growth that the arts can provide.

“A name change has been considered in the past, but, given how we and the region have changed and continue to grow, the timing now just felt right,” said Robert Goudie, the Board Chair. “We had terrific participation in the process from our supporters and partners, excellent professional guidance, and importantly have the unanimous support of our board and staff for this new name. We are only able to do this thanks to the incredible foundation put in place these past 47 years. The new name is as much a testament to our legacy as to our future.” Initial discussions for the rebrand began in 2018 with a series of conversations held with staff, supporters and partners, and board members working in tandem with external naming and visual design companies, as well as the organization’s pro bono outside counsel, DLA Piper.

Ruth Abrahams Design, the institution’s new visual identity is a balance between classic and contemporary, with a vibrant green accent color representing growth and regeneration. The logo’s design element illustrates a shift, signifying a change – a frame for a new way of looking, or a change in dimension.

Recent programs have made significant strides in gearing up for the organization’s next chapter, including the installation of the monumental, 50-ft, steel sculpture, Buoyant Force, by artist Sue Wrbican, located in Reston Town Square Park; building institutional partnerships such as the Moira Dryer exhibitions in concert with The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.; and the forthcoming Laurel Nakadate exhibition and programming in conjunction with George Mason University.

Tephra ICA’s first headlining exhibition under the new brand will be a solo show with Puerto Rican and German light and space artist, Gisela Colón. The mutable, changeable qualities of Colón’s work nods towards an energy of constant fluctuation and growth. It is emblematic of the direction Tephra ICA is headed and reflects the institution’s values in adding to cross-cultural dialogue by contributing to the expanded perspectives of our time.

Photo courtesy of Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art

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Students at South Lakes High School will debut their seventh temporary public artwork for the Lake Thoreau spillway in early 2021.

The project, titled Part and Parcel, is made largely from repurposed materials in order to draw attention to ”companies and corporations that could have better systems of disposing unused products and materials,” according to a project description.

Students who are the SLHS STEAM team began creating public artwork for the spillway after a Lake Thoreau resident pitched the idea in 2012. Since then, Reston Association worked with Public Art Reston to launch a partnership.

Students who are part of the team and led by local artist and SLHS art teacher Marco Rando, design, develop and construct pieces of public art. Members then present the concepts to RA’s Design Review Board and Public Art Reston’s public art committee.

”By repurposing materials, we are challenging ourselves to create art out of things that would otherwise be deemed trash,” the students wrote.

Photo via Public Art Reston

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An exhibit featuring Chinese brush painting on silk and paper is on display at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods through Jan. 4.

The exhibit, titled “Naturescape Narrations,” features the 6,000-year-old Chinese art form with an animal-centric display.

Here’s more from artist Tracie Griffith Tso, who began painting her first brushstrokes at the age of 12 at a studio in California:

“Compositions strive to be interactive, and success is when they prompt a reaction, an emotion. Whether it be the adoration of slumbering rabbits, disgust of pesky squirrels, tranquility from a gliding fish, heartbeat of the cantering horse. Interactions are central, either between the rendered subjects or with the artwork and the viewer. Connecting with consciousness and tapping into the experience of a viewer is what drives deeper art. A story is told by ink: The flight of an insect, the posture of a bear, the glance of a bird. These tales are yours to decipher, let them flow like a brush trailing on paper,” she added.

Griffith Tso, who lives with her husband in Reston, specializes in Chinese flower-bird painting. She lectures and teaches about Chinese brush painting across the country.

The exhibit is on display through Jan. 4. Paintings are on display in the main area and masks are required in the county-run facility. The hours are 9 a.m. to 9. p.m. on weekdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Photo via Tracie Griffith Tso

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