Reston, VA

To lift little spirits and keep up an annual tradition, a Sunrise Valley Elementary teacher and her teaching assistants decided to coordinate with her students’ families to decorate t-shirts for the kids while keeping in mind safety and social distance guidelines.

“Every school year they make t-shirts for all the kids, the kids make their stencil designs and then they spray paint it so they can remember their kindergarten year,” Megan Bailey, mother of Alexandra said. “But this year because of the pandemic they had to adjust their way of doing it.”

To work around school closures, teacher Stefanie Marik individually met the families at 18 different homes, where the kids had already prepared a shirt with some sort of stencil pattern, according to Bailey, who added that it took roughly three or four hours.

“My teammates (Miranda Stitzel and Kristen Lauver) and I wanted to give some closure to our young friends, make sure they feel connected and at the same time be Covid safe,” Marik told Reston Now, adding that this tradition has been going on for over 10 years.

Marik also said that the team felt so much love from their community and they were thankful to be able to keep up that bond between themselves and the students.

Alexandra’s mother said that the young girl was almost speechless when she was able to see her teachers and didn’t want them to leave.

“She was so excited, it was really hard on the students. My child is an extrovert so she was really missing the classroom environment,” Bailey said about Alexandra. “Their little five and six-year-old brains can’t really grasp what was going on. She wanted to hug them, but that’s not really possible right now,”  McCue said.

Marik mentioned that other parents, like Sarah McCue, were really touched by the activity and the teachers hope to get a Zoom “class photo” in the shirts.

Photo courtesy Stefanie Marik

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After someone spread hateful symbols and messages across Reston, a social media group decided to rally and reject the graffiti with colorful, inclusive and tolerant messages of their own.

Chalk Hooligans, a social media vigilante-type group founded in 2016, decided to revive its mission and stand alongside community members of Reston by spreading words of love, appreciation and hope along with pleasant pictures drawn with chalk on public sidewalks.

In the past, the group posted photos of support in places of worship that were being targeted by hateful acts.

“When your neighbors have hate thrown at them, cover them with a blanket (or sidewalk) of love,” said one post.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn released a statement yesterday thanking the people who removed the hateful graffiti.

“What heartened me and I hope it will you, too, is that neighbors came together and bought food for the workers who were removing the spray paint,” Alcorn wrote.

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine also condemned the hate with a post on Twitter, praising a sign put up in a local window about loving your neighbor and staying “Reston Strong.”

Photo via Chalk Hooligans/Twitter

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Passers-by might notice a new mosaic art installation outside the Lincoln at Wiehle Station.

After facing delays due to COVID-19, artist Valerie Theberge expects the piece of vibrantly colored glass tiles to be completed by the end of today (May 13).

The project was commissioned in coordination with the Lincoln’s developers and ultimately approved by Public Art Reston. It consists of two pieces — a bench and a 75-foot long wall, according to Theberge.

When designing the geometric art, Theberge said she wanted it to “harmonize” with the surrounding area.

“There are highlights of red on the building so we added red highlights to play with the building,” she said, adding that the geometric shapes also “talk with the architecture.”

For the community, Theberge hopes that people will enjoy the art as they pass by the building on an afternoon stroll or on their commute into work. “I wanted something you could look at over and over,” Theberge said.

Especially since people can’t visit museums during the pandemic, Theberge said that public works of art are more important than ever for people’s mental health and overall enjoyment.

Photo courtesy Valerie Theberge

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The Reston Community Center is seeking talent for the 21st Annual Reston Multicultural Festival this fall.

Event organizers want both individuals and groups in the performing arts to submit applications online for their chance to be featured in the celebration, which is scheduled to take place on Sept. 26 at Lake Anne Plaza, a press release said.

The deadline for applications is June 19, according to a press release, which added that people should be prepared to submit audio and video examples.

“To accommodate as many applicants as possible, selection will be made on the basis of the materials submitted rather than requiring auditions,” the press release said.

Judging criteria will include artistic merit, production values, evidence of authentic traditions and forms of specific cultures, according to the press release. Performances may be religious in nature but should not “overly” promote one father above another, according to RCC.

“The Reston Multicultural Festival is a family-oriented event and material performed shall be suitable for all ages and free of any content that would be inappropriate for a diverse, multicultural and multigenerational audience,” the press release said.

Event organizers are also looking for art vendors, community organizations and food vendors. These vendors may apply online as well.

Photo courtesy Reston Community Center

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People have the chance to check out a new online exhibition until May 23 from the Greater Reston Arts Center.

The Velocity of a Page” shows off the impact that publishing has on communication and society, according to the website.

The multi-platform exhibition features photos and videos of booklets, objects that resemble books and publishing practices.

Those who want to learn more about the exhibit can attend a virtual artist talk tomorrow (May 7) at 6 p.m. People can RSVP beforehand to receive a Zoom link and password.

Christopher Kardambikis is the curator for the project and will be leading the talk tomorrow, the website said, adding that he is currently a faculty member at George Mason University.

“This multifaceted world reveals a nuanced and complicated view of what it means to publish and what it means to distribute ideas and art via objects that are held, open, and explored by hand,” the website said.

People who want a comprehensive view of the gallery can view a digital checklist.

Photo via Greater Reston Arts Center/Facebook

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The Explore More interactive exhibit is going digital this spring as the Greater Reston Arts Center so people can use it at home.

“Explore More, typically offered in the gallery located in Reston Town Center, provides the opportunity for families to learn about artists and artworks featured in the organization’s exhibition programming,” a press release said.

But due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Greater Reston Arts Center decided to move its artist learning series online.

People who take part in the activity will learn about the artist Moira Dryer and her current exhibition “Yours for the Asking” through various crafts and guided art experiments, according to the website.

The activities require supplies people likely already have on hand, according to the press release. For example, one activity lets people create an “off the wall sunburst” with cardboard, glue and things such as cotton swabs, flowers or pipe cleaners.

The Greater Reston Arts Center said that it will announce new activities monthly to keep patrons engaged with new artwork and concepts.

Image via Greater Reston Arts Center

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This May, Reston residents are invited to go outside and participate in a month-long stay-at-home chalk art challenge.

Participates of all ages are asked to model drawings after a weekly theme posted by Public Art Reston, a press release said, adding that the first theme will be announced next Monday (May 4) on Facebook.

“Get creative with your community throughout the month of May by making chalk drawings at home on your driveway, sidewalk, or whatever safe paved space you can find,” the event page said.

Once completed, participants are encouraged to submit their photos by posting a picture on social media using hashtags #AtHomeChalkArt and #PublicArtReston or emailing it to Reston Public Art.

Organizers ask that people respect social distancing guidelines while creating the art outside, make sure kids are supervised and avoid nude or lewd images.

For those unfamiliar with chalk-art, the press release suggested a list of tips for best results including making a preliminary drawing of the plan, applying a few layers of chalk, blending colors for a new effect and using a plastic tarp to cover the art in case of rain.

“If you want your proportions to be correct, you might consider drawing a grid over the drawing/photocopies using a ruler and thin marker,” the press release said.

Participants are expected to use their own supply of chalk and tools and the challenge will conclude on May 31.

Local businesses and organizations are also encouraged to apply, the page said.

Photo via Sam Haddad/Unsplash

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The public artwork titled “Spectrum” on Lake Thoreau Spillway will stay in place a little longer than originally planned at the request of local residents.

The piece was commissioned by Marco Rando, an art teacher at South Lakes High School along with his students and is a part of a  rotating annual project. Each updated piece of art usually stays up from July until the beginning of December, according to Anne Delaney the executive Director for Public Art Reston.

Now, the piece will be on display until the end of June, according to Delaney, who added that they plan to take down the piece before July 4 so it isn’t damaged by fireworks.

For now, Delaney said Rando hopes the artwork will help keep residents in good spirits despite the COVID19 pandemic.

“Spectrum” marks the sixth piece of art created by Rando and his team of students and the project is supported by Public Art Reston, which aims to engage the public and help foster a sense of community, the website said.

A petition led by residents earlier this year requested that the art project remain on the spillway for longer than originally planned.

“After two years of creating sculptures with strong conceptual origins that featured minimalist color palettes, STEAM decided to change direction and create a sculpture that prioritized an exploration of aesthetic elements over a representation of a tangible theme,” Public Art Reston’s website said about the piece.

Photo courtesy Public Art Reston

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The community is welcomed to celebrate the official opening of “Buoyant Force,” a 50-foot steel sculpture in Reston Town Center.

The community celebration, which is hosted by the Greater Reston Arts Center, is set for May 2 at 3 p.m. at Reston Town Square Park. The sculpture was installed earlier this year.

Artist Sue Wrbican, an associate professor and director of photography at George Mason University is behind the work, which was inspired by the paintings of American surrealist Kay Sage.

Here’s more from GRACE about the sculpture:

Buoyant Force is a 50-foot steel sculpture by Sue Wrbican inspired by the paintings of American Surrealist Kay Sage (b. 1898, Albany, New York; d. 1963, Woodbury, Connecticut). Sage, who lived in the shadow of her husband, the surrealist Yves Tanguy, is now recognized for her paintings of scaffolded structures and furled fabric in desolate landscapes. GRACE organized the first comprehensive exhibition of Wrbican’s work, entitled Well Past the Echo, in Fall 2017. The exhibition featured photography, maquettes of Sage-inspired structures, and a site-specific installation. It was featured in The Washington Post and East City Art. Based on the success of the exhibition, GRACE has commissioned Wrbican to realize one of her structures at full-size in Reston Town Square Park. 

More information about the sculpture is available online.

Photo via GRACE

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Aldrin Elementary School will unveil a new mosaic art piece in its lobby come April, to celebrate the school’s 25th anniversary.

The piece by international artist  Helen Marshall, will feature small mosaic tiles of students, teachers and community members at the school and make up a larger image of Buzz Aldrin’s iconic moon landing, according to Nicola Shelly, an Aldrin parent.

Shelley’s husband, Tom, is the President of Space Adventures and spearheaded fundraising efforts alongside the school’s principal, Nicola said.

Space Adventures is a company that opens up space travel opportunities to private citizens, according to its website.

Besides this upcoming project, Marshall commissioned other pieces for the Apollo 11 anniversary that were been displayed in London, New York and the Kennedy Space Center.

BBC recently featured Marshall’s work on another mosaic piece of Hilda Burkitt, an English suffragette.

Photo via Hellen Marshall/Facebook

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After the mysterious horse beheading at Lake Anne Plaza back in September, the artist of the wooden sculpture said that he is in the process of building a replacement.

The new horse is almost complete and will be available for public viewing shortly, artist Marco Rando said, confirming that natural decay caused the damages.

The name for the upcoming piece is “Intent, The Wooden Horse” and includes pieces from the previous version for the sake of nostalgia — including the head, Rando said.

“The horse is a metaphor for the energy and work required to bring an idea into existence, and the heart is the symbol for creative passion fueling intent,” he said.

Rando, who currently works at South Lakes High School, said he received assistance throughout the project from his students, who helped to conceptualize the design and will create graphics for the horse’s heart.

“These students are in my STEAM Studio Art & Design classes. They have been given a real-world assignment to design, create and fabricate a public work of art for Boston Properties and Reston Town Center,” Rando said. “The students have collaborated to achieve exceptional work.”

Photos courtesy Marco Rando

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A new art exhibit at the Greater Reston Arts Center uses collaged photographs to explore the memories of refugees living in Vietnamese internment camps.

“Day Dreams” by Khánh Lê will be on display from now through May 26, according to the webpage. Works in the collection explore concepts such as home, country and safety, according to the event page, which added that many pieces feature bits of his Vietnamese heritage and culture.

More from the Greater Reston Arts Center on the exhibit:

Lê creates dazzling compositions based on deteriorating photographs and collective memories of his and his relations’ experiences as refugees living in Vietnamese internment camps in the 1980s. Through the collaging of materials such as acrylic paintings, glitter, prints, and sparkling plastic craft jewels, Lê merges narratives–both horrific realities and idyllic fantasies–that are filled with tension as he explores notions of home, country, and safety.

The artist will be at the Greater Reston Arts Center (11850 Freedom Drive) on Thursday (Feb. 6) from 6-8 p.m. for an open reception and presentation.

People wanting to visit the display should arrive on the Freedom Drive side of the building and wait for the concierge to buzz them in, the event page said.

The hours for the exhibit are from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.

Image via Greater Reston Arts Center/Facebook

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Friday Morning Notes

Smoking in Bed Causes Reston Townhouse Fire — A townhouse fire on Wednesday night was caused by “smoking while in bed,” according to fire investigators. The fire happened on the 2300 block of Antiqua Court. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Robert Simon Jr. Children’s Center Marks 30 Years — “This month, The Robert E. Simon Jr. Children’s Center marks thirty years serving area families with high-quality childcare. Named for Reston’s founder, the nonprofit Simon Center provides families throughout Northern Virginia with a warm, responsive and caring environment for children to learn and grow.” [Reston Patch]

Census Begins on April 1 — A Census invitation is heading to your mailbox next month. [U.S. Census Bureau]

Local Students Earn Scholastic Art Awards — “The 2020 Regional Scholastic Art Awards program has recognized 372 Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) students in grades 7-12 with 571 awards including Gold Key, Silver Key, Honorable Mention awards, and American Visions Nominations.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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This Sunday (Jan. 18), the Liner Notes will perform “Music of the Movement.”

In this performance, the group will explore musical themes and the history of the Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s and 1960s.

The performance is set to take place at CenterStage at the Reston Community Center (2310 Colts Neck Road) from 2 to 3:30 p.m. and tickets cost $15 for Reston residents.

“Always striving to care for its audience, Liner Notes revisits this turbulent time in our history with authenticity, thoughtfulness and integrity, drawing connections and examining the intersections with the adversity still prevalent today,” according to the event page.

Tomorrow (Jan. 18)

  • Book Launch Celebration for Laura Renauld (11 a.m. to noon) — Children’s book author Laura Renauld will be at Scrawl Books (11911 Freedom Drive) for a meet and greet along with a book signing to debut her new book “Fred’s Big Feelings: The Life and Legacy of Mr. Rogers.” This event is free and open to the public.
  • Wine Tasting (2 to 5 p.m.) — Balducci’s Food Lover’s Market (1871 Fountain Drive) will host a wine tasting with various wines and food. There will be experts on-site to help answer questions and suggest pairings.

Sunday (Jan. 19)

  • Adoption Fair at Just Cats in Reston (1 to 3 p.m.) — Anyone looking for a new furry friend can stop by the Just Cats Clinic (1601 Washington Plaza) to play with adoptable cats and see if they find a good match.
  • Self Guided Painting (3 to 7 p.m.) — Guests will have the chance to work off temples to paint various items during this opportunity for independent creation at Pinot’s Palette (12976 Highland Crossing Drive). The cost for this event is $25.

Photo via Reston Community Center/Facebook

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A new studio to make wooden art is opening early next year in Herndon.

AR Workshop Reston, which currently has a location in Loudoun County, plans to open at the Reston-Herndon Business Park (315 Spring Street) in January.

Co-owners Michelle Shepard and Jacqueline Maglione, who have been friends for more than a decade, said the Herndon location is currently under construction. They hope to create a space where friends and families can come and create together.

Patrons can make home decor like wood signs and centerpiece boxes at the studio. The business offers more than 900 deign options. Bookings for kids parties and other group events are available.

“We empower our guests to be creative and learn how to use power tools. Each project begins with a stencil and raw wood, but leaves as a gorgeous new piece of Home Decor the guest will be proud of,” they said.

The business is currently hiring part-time instructors.

The co-owners met through their children. They look forward to launching the new location in the coming year. An exact opening date has not been set yet.

Photos via AR Workshop Reston

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