Reston, VA

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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A new exhibit is coming to Reston Historic Trust & Museum on Nov. 3.

The museum will showcase limited edited prints created by local artist Sam LaFever through April 2021.

The series, called the Lake Life exhibit, aims to capture the beauty of Reston’s planned lakes and offers explanations on how to use the lakes to relax, fish, boat, and play sports.

Artwork is available for purchase inside the museum.

LaFever began creating and exhibiting art since 1995. His website describes him as an artist, mariner, printmaker, creator of drawings, paintings, intaglio and digital prints.

The museum is located at 1639 Washington Plaza-N. It is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.

Image via Reston Historic Trust & Museum/Sam LaFever

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American Real Estate Partners (AREP) is bringing in muralist Kelsey Montague to paint the face of the Reston International Center parking garage. 

The painting of the mural will take place over three days, and will be commemorated on July 17 from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m, according to a statement released by AREP. 

Visuals in the mural will include two colorful wings to celebrate the people of Reston. However, that’s not the only symbol in the painting. The mural will also include elements honoring the COVID-19 frontline, recognition of the community’s dedication to wellness, inclusion and racial equality, according to the statement. 

The project was created in an effort to provide joy and hope to future community members, visitors and tenants of Reston. 

Montague is a world-renowned muralist, and has over 270 large-scale murals across the world, according to the statement. Her signature “What Lifts You” wing mural was used in the launch of Taylor Swift’s “ME!” in Nashville. Montague was also the only female artist selected by the NFL to create art for Superbowl LIV.

Photo via American Real Estate Partners

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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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