Reston, VA

A new addition is on its way to help visitors engage with the Buoyant Force sculpture in Reston Town Square Park.

This week, an interactive feature named the Buoyant Oracle is expected to be installed and available for visitors at artist Sue Wrbican‘s 50-foot steel sculpture. Buoyant Force was placed in the park on Jan. 31.

The Buoyant Oracle is designed to simulate “what an interaction with an inanimate object may feel like and provides a sense of fun by provoking our imagination,” according to Jaynelle Hazard, the executive director and curator for the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE).

By scanning a QR code marked by a blue sign with a speech bubble next to the sculpture, visitors will be able to interact with an evolving cast of guest oracles and narratives over the next five years. Through the Buoyant Oracle, visitors will be able to learn about the history, fabrication process and Wrbican’s philosophy behind the sculpture.

Visitors will also be able to view never before seen photos from throughout the fabrication process, gleam a behind-the-scenes view as if they were looking inside the sculpture, learn about the paint color choices and view details about the sculpture.

An aside to the goal of the project is to provide a light-hearted opportunity for engagement during this time while allowing for social distancing.

“It means a great deal to GRACE to be able to offer this experience to the community,” Hazard said. “In a moment where in-person art viewing may not feel comfortable to many but is missed by all, activating our monumental 50-foot steel outdoor sculpture, Buoyant Force, in a new and innovative way can fill that void and more to visitors.”

In tune with the surrealist tradition and the paintings of Kay Sage that inspired Wrbican’s design of the sculpture, the experience will offer different readings of paired poetry and remixed images of the artwork.

From the inception of the project – which is GRACE’s largest installation to date – the intention was to build out community programming related to the installation, according to Robert Goudie, board chair of GRACE.

“Serendipitously, Ben Stokes, husband to our then-executive director and curator, Lily Siegel, saw this as an opportunity to explore interests he has as an assistant professor in the School of Communication at American University and director of its Playful City Lab, which investigates the power of playful tactics to advance equity, strengthen the sense of place, and build strong communities,” Goudie wrote in a statement.

“Through the incredible pro bono contributions of Ben and Playful City Lab, the QR code project is what beautifully resulted.”

Photos courtesy Sue Wrbican

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Organizers had hoped the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival would take place at a rescheduled date this year.

But today, the Greater Reston Arts Center announced that the festival will be canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic this year. Organizers hope that the next festival will take place on its typical weekend — the third weekend in May. This year’s festival was rescheduled to September 11-13.

“This was a hard decision, knowing how deeply this impacts our artists (who we know value this opportunity, especially now), our audience (who may have appreciated the sense of normalcy the festival could provide), and ourselves (as a small arts non-profit with the festival accounting for over a third of our annual net income),” said Jaynelle Hazard, GRACE’s Executive Director and Curator.

GRACE noted that implementing phase three requirements — including 10 feet of distancing, a 1,000-person cap, and one-way flow of pedestrian traffic — seemed “impossible challenging for an open-air street festival of our magnitude.”

Volunteer numbers are likely to decline (and our volunteers are essential to a well-run festival in the best of times), and artists who remained committed to the event had dropped in recent weeks. We carefully surveyed all options and held on as long as we could; however, we have reached the point where we cannot, confidently, safely or practically proceed. The safety of everyone involved is our top priority,” wrote Erica Harrison, Associate Curator and Festival Director.

Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to make an announcement on the status of phase three in Virginia during a press conference tomorrow.

Photo by Charlotte Geary

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Monday Morning Notes

Maryland Man Arrested in Connection with Robbery — Police believe Ronald Smith, 46, assaulted a man while he was walking along Sunrise Valley Drive on May 14 at around 8:30 p.m. Smith, a Maryland resident, was charged with robbery and possession of marijuana. The victim had minor injuries. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Masks Required on Metro Starting Today“Face coverings or masks be required when traveling on Metro effective Monday, May 18. The move strengthens Metro’s position on the matter, which has ‘strongly recommended’ the use of face coverings since early April.” [WMATA]

Greater Reston Arts Center Exhibit Reviewed — “For those looking for an introduction to the book art space, The Velocity of a Page covers ample ground. Others will be compelled to search out the book-makers for more. In fact, the way to get the most out of this exhibition is to leave it. This is something the curator seems to understand, and is perhaps why The Velocity of a Page is marketed as multi-platform.” [Hyper Allergic]

Photo by vantagehill/Flickr

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Along with a myriad of other events, the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival in Reston has been rescheduled for later this year.

Event organizers made the call yesterday (March 24) to postpone the festival, which brings together a variety of handcrafted art pieces, until September due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release.

Now, the festival is set to take place from September 11-13, according to the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE).

“Our first priority is the health and well-being of our artists, volunteers, sponsors, and patrons,” GRACE’s Associate Curator and Festival Director, Erica Harrison said in the press release.

This annual event draws more than 30,000 guests from around the D.C. area, according to a press release.

As originally planned, the festival will still take place at the Reston Town Center.

Photo via Northern Virginia Arts Festival/Facebook

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Greater Reston Arts Center has selected a new executive director and curator after former head Lily Siegel resigned earlier this year.

Jaynelle Hazard will lead the organization as it rebrands and repositions itself in the community as a cultural force, according to a press release.

“I intend to expand GRACE’s already critically engaged practice by introducing new methods to advance scholarship; extend its reach in interdisciplinary experimentation of contemporary art and ideas; and engage audiences of all backgrounds and identities,” Hazard said.

Here’s more from the release:

Hazard received her BA in Fashion Design & Merchandising from Virginia Commonwealth University and her MA in Art Business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York (she is currently DC Chapter Co-Chair for Sotheby’s Institute of Art Alumni). For the last two years she has been the Director of Exhibitions for the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Virginia, where she oversaw five main gallery spaces, six artist-run galleries, outdoor installations and community-related projects (including a highly regarded outdoor mural project and festival), produced 75+ exhibitions, provided opportunities for 200+ artists, bolstered a new base of over 700 visitors, and grew social media presence by more than 2,000 followers. Before that she lived in New York working as Art Collection Administrator for the important UBS art collection (supporting an inventory of 30,000 modern and contemporary art works). She also spent four years in Cape Town, South Africa, a time that included serving on the team at Blank Projects Art Gallery. She is the Chair of the Faith Flanagan Fellowship and Co-Chair of the State of Art 5/DC conference for the DC Chapter of ArtTable, Inc. (the foremost professional organization dedicated to advancing the leadership of women in the visual arts).

“Jaynelle differentiated herself from a strong list of candidates with her inspiring contemporary curatorial vision and aesthetic since, first and foremost, we are a content organization dedicated to delivering the very best contemporary cultural experience,” said Robert Goudie, GRACE Board Chair. “And at a time when we are growing the strength of our voice in the regional and national cultural conversation, Jaynelle also brings strong connections to art networks in the DC region and New York. There are a lot of very talented people in our region, but Jaynelle, I think, is someone who can really establish for herself and GRACE pretty special and distinguished territory.”

Siegel left GRACE to become the new executive director of Hamiltonian Artists in the District as its fellowship program and exhibit transitions into a nonprofit organization.

Photo by Prathibha Polapragada

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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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Thursday Morning Notes

Apartment Fire in Greywing Square — A fire started in the kitchen of an apartment unit on the 12000 block of Greywing Square yesterday evening. The cause of the fire is under investigation. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Reston Association Meeting Moved — Next week’s Board Governance Committee has been moved to March 3 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting takes place at the Walker Nature Center. [Reston Association]

Submission Sought for Mary B. Howard Invitational — The Greater Reston Arts Center invites artists to submit a proposal for the new exhibition, “An Excellent Thought About a Quality Idea.” Submissions are due by March 15. [Greater Reston Arts Center]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr 

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A new 50-foot steel sculpture will be delivered and placed in Reston Town Square Park today (Friday).

The long-anticipated artwork, “Buoyant Force” by Sue Wrbican, is composed of steel.

Here’s more about Wrbican and her work from the Greater Reston Arts Center:

Buoyant Force will be 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. 

GRACE’s executive director and curator Lily Siegel said the artwork will be secured to the base today.

Installation, which includes weather proofing, signagae and weather proofing, is expected to take two weeks to complete. The sculpture’s foundation will remain enclosed with a fence for safety reasons.

A formal community celebration is planned in the spring.  The square was previously home to a nest-like sculpture made from tree saplings in 2017.

GRACE turned to a crowdfunding to help finance the construction of the project. 

Photo via GRACE

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More than 50 artists from around the region will create live artwork using their preferred media at a live fundraising event tomorrow (Saturday).

The Greater Reston Arts Center will host the third annual Monster Drawing Rally, which helps raise funds for its programs, at Signature apartments (11850 Freedom Drive).

As works are completed, they will be hung on a wall and will be available for purchase at $75 each. The event is free and open to all.

Tomorrow (Saturday)

  • Gifts from the HeART Shopping Event (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) — Residents can buy artwork, jewelry, and other items at Reston Community Center Lake Anne’s annual event.
  • Mystery Authors Extravaganza (1-4 p.m.) — Authors from the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in crime will prevent their 2019 novels. Books will be available for sale and signing.
  • Reston Friends Holiday Book Sale (10. a.m. to 4 p.m.) — Gently-used books will be available for purchase at the annual event at Reston Regional Library. 
  • Lake House Open House (10 a.m. to noon) — Light refreshments will be available at the open house which takes place at the Lake House.
  • Reston Town Center Holiday Performances — Over the weekend, several performers and groups will perform at the Reston Town Center promenade. Performances continue through Saturday, Dec. 21.

Sunday (Dec. 8)

  • Reston Friends Holiday Book Sale (1-4 p.m.) — Gently-used books will be available for purchase at the annual event at Reston Regional Library. 
  • Holiday Open House (1-4 p.m.) — A holiday open house to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Nature House takes place at the. Walker Nature Center. The event is free and registration is not required.
  • Best Kept Secrets with Dr. Charles Thomas (2 p.m.) — Dr. Charles Thomas, CEO of Clear Cloud, discusses his new book, “Best Kept Secrets from Invisible Walk-ons to Life Champions.” The event takes place at Scrawl Books (11911 Freedom Drive).

Photo via GRACE

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State Gov. Ralph Northam has appointed Robert Goudie, board chair of the Greater Reston Arts Center to take part in the Virginia Commission for the Arts.

The commission is state agency tenant supports the arts by seeking funding from the Virginia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Goudie is also the executive director of the Reston Town Center Association, where he expanded the RTCA’s programming. He also helped found Public Art Reston and serves on its Board of Directors. He is also a member of ArtsFairfax’s advocacy committee.

GRACE wrote the following about Goudie:

In the six years that Mr. Goudie has served as GRACE Board Chair, GRACE has built out its exhibition and educational content and Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival in service of a new vision to identify GRACE as an important cultural destination along Metro’s Silver Line and grow its voice in the DC metropolitan region’s cultural conversation; added to its board depth and diversity; grown its financial capacity; forged new partnerships with prestigious downtown institutions like the National Gallery of Art and others; built a strong strategic partnership with George Mason University and added collaborations with other educational institutions; added a satellite gallery at the Signature building in Reston Town Center; and was recognized as one of only four visual arts institutions in the entire Commonwealth to receive a VCA 50th anniversary award.

In a statement, Goudie described the appointment as an “institutional honor.”

“We have a very dedicated and talented Board of Directors, a superb staff led by our Executive Director and Curator, Lily Siegel, and fantastic supporters,” he said. 

Photo via GRACE

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More than 50 artists will converge at the Greater Reston Art Center’s gallery in Reston Town Center next month for the annual Monster Drawing Fundraiser.

The rally turns the gallery into a public performance space as artists create artworks on-site using the media of choice from 4-8 p.m.

Completed works are hung on the wall and are available for purchase at $75 each. If more than one person is interested in an artwork, the buyer will be determined through a drawing.

All proceeds from the event will benefit GRACE’s exhibition programs.

The event, which is sponsored by Collective Arts Brewing, is free and open for all.

Volunteers can sign up online to help with the event.

Photo via GRACE

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Learn a new way to elevate your yoga game with stand up paddle board yoga tomorrow.

Beloved Yoga is organizing a recurring event on Saturdays from 9-11 a.m. Participants will learn how to balance on a paddle board and take their yoga routine to the next level. 

The event is organized in partnership with Surf Reston. Participants will meet at the Lake Anne boat launch. The last class is on September 21.

Registration is available online. Tickets are $20 if you bring your own board and $40 if you do not.

Saturday (July 27)

  • Family Fun Entertainment Series (10-10:45 a.m.) — Groovy Nate creates educational shows with exotic musical instruments and puppet skits. Attendees should be ready to move, sing and play.
  • Historical Swordsmanship (3-4 p.m.) — Fantasy lovers can learn about sword fighting and gets hands on instruction from professionals at Reston Regional Library.
  • Dragonfly Count (9:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.) — Meet at the Walker Nature Center and help count dragonflies in natural areas of Reston.

Sunday (July 28)

  • Sunday Art in the Park with GRACE (5:30-7 p.m.) — Greater Reston Arts Center offers creative activities for all ages.
  • Sunday Art in the Park (7-8 p.m.) — Professor of clarinet Garrick Zoeter and soprano Mariana Mihai-Zoeter interpret romantic and inspiring work from around the world during this performance at Reston Town Square Park.
  • Summerbration Fun Brunch (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) — Dave Lange presents country and blues music at Reston Station Plaza. Garage parking is free on weekends in the Metro parking garage.

Photo via Beloved Yoga

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St. Anne’s Episcopal Church will host a book sale to help immigrants at the border on Sunday (July 21).

All proceeds from the event will go to the Refugees and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services.

Only cash will be accepted during the sale, which runs from 1-4 p.m. The church is located at 1700 Wainwright Drive.

Tomorrow (July 20)

  • Butterfly Count (9:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.) — Help count butterflies in the national areas of Reston and learn tips on identification. Data will be submitted to the North American Butterfly Association for inclusion in their Fourth of July Butterfly Count report.
  • Otto the Auto (10:30-11:30 a.m.) — Otto the talking car gives kids lessons on traffic safety. The event is geared toward children between ages three and six.
  • Family Fun Entertainment Series (10-10:45 a.m.) — Turley the Magician offers entertainment and itneractive magic at Reston Town Square Park. The event is free for all ages.
  • Children’s Friendship Afternoon Tea (1-4 p.m.) — Scrawl Books hosts its very first childrens’ tea at Elden Street Tea Shop. The event also includes an affordable trunk show with American Girl authors reading at each afternoon tea sitting.
  • Survivor Girl Launch Party (5-7 p.m.) — Celebrate the lunch of a middle-grade novel, “The Friendship Experiment,” at the Walker Nature Ceter. Writer Erin Teagen will host the party and introduce her new book.
  • Books Alive (2:30-3:15 p.m.) — Students will explore age-appropriate stories through creative drama at Reston Regional Library. Registration is required for this event.

Sunday (July 21)

  • Summerbration Fun Brunch (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) — Enjoy interactive theater at Reston Station Plaza. The event is free and open for all ages. Parking is free on weekend in the Metro Parking garage.
  • Sunday Art in the Park with GRACE (5:30-7:30 p.m.) — Greater Reston Arts Center partners with Reston Community Center to offer creative activities at Reston Town Square Park.
  • Sunday Art in the Park (7-8 p.m.) — Robert Larson, a professor of jazz, joins special guests for an evening of jazz trio standards at Reston Town Square Park. The event is presented by Reston Community Center and Reston Town Center Association.
  • Family Dive-In Movie (8:30-10:15 p.m.) — RA pass holders can come to the Dogwood Recreation Area for free pool-side movies. Registration is not required and the event will be cancelled in the event of rain or possible rain.

Photo by Ray Copson

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Reston Metro Center II Acquired — Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co. has acquired the building, which is located at 12180 Sunrise Valley Drive for $18.6 million. It is currently fully leased to a subsidiary of General Dynamics Corporation, one of the largest defense contractors in the world. [GlobalNewswire]

Rainbow Flag Flies Again — A new pride flag was installed at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston on Wednesday, July 10. The flag, which is on a pole at the entrance of the church, was stolen three times in the last three months. [The Connection]

Creative Response on ‘Overlooked’ — Callie Hawkins, director of programming at President Lincoln’s Cottage, will respond to the exhibition, which is currently on view in the gallery tomorrow. The event begins at 7 p.m. at the Greater Reston Arts Center. [GRACE]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Car Stolen from Garage in Home — Someone entered a garage on the 2700 block of Mansway Drive yesterday (May 21), took car keys and stole a 2017 Nissan Murano. The incident happened at around 7:15 a.m. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Reston-based Parabon Tracks Germantown Man Accused of Raping Elderly Women — DNA evidence submitted to the lab helped police track Marlon Alexander, who was sentenced to life in prison, on Tuesday. Alexander was linked to a series of unsolved rapes dating back over 10 years. [Fox 5]

A Recap of the 28th Annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival — Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) held its acclaimed free-to-the-public, 28th annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival last weekend. The event featured more than 200 juried artists and offered “high-quality hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind artwork in the dynamic outdoor setting” at Reston Town Center according to GRACE. The Festival once again attracted an estimated crowd of 30,000. [The Connection]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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