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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Although last year’s festival was postponed and eventually canceled, organizers anticipate that the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival will be on for 2021.

The festival, which typically takes place in the spring and is hosted by the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE), will take place on Sept. 10-12.

“Even with news that a nationwide roll out of a COVID-19 vaccine will be available, there is still uncertainty that an outdoor event will see a return to normalcy by May. We believe taking this proactive step will better ensure that we can safely host our annual vibrant celebration of the arts,” said Jaynelle Hazard, GRACE Executive Director and Curator.

Erica Harrison, GRACE’s associate curator and festival director, added that the same reasons that motivated the center to cancel the festival this year guided decisionmaking for 2021.

Recent guidelines influenced this decision, including the Governor of Virginia’s modified stay-at-home orders, strongly urging all Virginia residents to limit indoor and outdoor in-person gatherings to no more than 10 people, and the Centers for Disease Control statement encouraging the continuation of social distancing and avoidance of mass gatherings and crowded places.”

Harrison said Boston Properties, its onsite partner and sponsor, could accommodate the new dates.

“The board and staff of Greater Reston Arts Center, and our community partners do not make this decision lightly, knowing how deeply this impacts our artists, our audience, and the organization. We look forward to next year, the Festival’s 30th anniversary, and delivering another culturally-enriching, successful, and safe experience for all.”

Photo via GRACE

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Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) has announced the Mary B. Howard Invitational: An Excellent Thought About a Quality Idea, on view now through February 6 via the exhibition’s online viewing room. The group exhibition features new work by Rahne Alexander, Matthew Mann, Omolara Williams McCallister, Zia Palmer and Mojdeh Razaeipour. 

The artists were selected by Guest Curators Zoe Charlton and Tim Doud, the co-founders of ‘sindikit, alongside GRACE Associate Curator Erica Harrison, according to a press release from the arts center. 

Artists were invited to submit a proposal for the exhibit using its title as a prompt, in alignment with the project’s commitment to supporting studio research and experimentation emphasizing gender, sexuality and race, according to the release. Artists explored and developed concepts, receiving feedback from the curators. 

The ‘sindikit project is a self-funded endeavor that values collaborative practices as artists and educators. The platform includes artist projects and creative community conversations between cultural activators, visual artists and their co-conspirators, said the release. The project was founded on the discussion of socio-political and cultural issues affecting art and artists.

According to the arts center, the exhibit honors the memory of Mary B. Howard, an artist, long-time board member and supporter of GRACE. 

GRACE remains closed to the public. For more information, readers can visit their website

Art by Rahne Alexander/GRACE Online Viewing Room

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After cancelling this year’s Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival due to the pandemic, Greater Reston Arts Center is preparing for next year’s annual festival by opening the applications for artists.

GRACE announced the opening of the application in its newsletter via email earlier this week.

The 30th annual festival will run from May 14-16 of next year, with new health and safety modifications, according to the newsletter.

Artists are encouraged to apply before the deadline, Dec. 27, including the following information on their application:

  • $55 application fee
  • Four high-resolution photos of recent artwork (Artwork created in the last five years)
  • A description of each piece (1,000 words or less)
  • An artist statement explaining their creative process and referencing one piece of artwork that was submitted (3,000 words or less)
  • Choosing one of ten categories of which their artwork best falls under (Ceramics, Glass, Jewelry, Digital & Multi-Media Art/ Drawing/ Mixed Media 2D, Painting, Photography, Sculpture/ Mixed Media 3D/ Metal, Textiles, or Wood)

The complete newsletter is below:

Now in its 30th year, the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival has a long-standing reputation for showcasing high quality, hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind artwork in a dynamic outdoor setting. The Festival provides an opportunity to engage directly with exceptional artists, as juried in by leading art practitioners and artists in the visual arts field, that meet a high level of artistic standards. This unique open-air event is presented in Reston Town Center and attracts affluent patrons and knowledgeable collectors from the Washington, DC metropolitan region and beyond. This year, the 2021 Festival will implement new health and safety adaptations for the care and consideration of all.

Artist applications are accepted through ZAPPlication through December 27, 2020

Photo via Greater Reston Arts Center/Facebook

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Greater Reston Arts Center is the latest local entity to be hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With one of its flagship events canceled this year, the organization has launched a special fundraising appeal for this month. The Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival, which was initially rescheduled to September, was canceled late last month due to the difficulty of implementing social distancing guidelines at the popular event.

“The festival historically provides more than one-third of our annual net income. And, consequently, the financial I impact of the cancellation is severe fort he organization,” wrote Jaynelle Hazard, GRACE’s executive director and curator in a written appeal sent earlier this morning. A board member has offered to match the first $5,000 raised.

Here’s more from Hazard on the plea:

We understand that charitable donations may not be an option for many in this moment, and that some have already given to Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) – thank you. If you are, in any way, able to help meet this inspirational year-end challenge, we would be grateful. Donations will contribute toward essential funds necessary in powering our ability to continue offering opportunities that explore and engage with contemporary art and artists. Whether you are able to donate $5, $50, $500, or more, your tax-deductible gift will make a substantial impact. Help us meet, if not exceed, Lezley’s gracious challenge. Thank you for your thoughtful consideration and for supporting GRACE.

GRACE is projecting a loss of about $100,000 of its $500,000 budget, GRACE’s gallery and communication manager, Sofia Blom, told Reston Now. Donations are being accepted online.

Photo by Don Renner

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As local camps announce cancellations for the summer, the Greater Reston Arts Center is transitioning to its first digital summer art camp.

The program, which is geared toward children between the ages of 5 and 10, includes guidance on how to make art through pre-recorded, instructional videos The digital program replaces in-person camps, which were previously organized with Reston Association.

The online program mirrors what is offered at the in-person program and will run for six weeks between June 29 and August 7.

The art camp includes a weekly collection of pre-recorded video lessons with a professional arts educator.  Each activity, which will be 15 minutes or less in order to limit screen time, will also include written instructions.

The camp also includes a camp-in-a-box kit with materials required for activities. A list of materials not included in the kit like scissors or makers will be available on GRACE’s website before the camp begins.

Each kit was prepared by PPE-wearing staff members using items ordered online. Kits can be picked up every Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. at GRACE by appointment only.

Here’s more from GRACE on the different sessions offered:

My Mom Would Never Let Me Do That!

June 29-July 3 (Ages 5-7)

July 6-July 10 (Ages 8-10)

Explore the possibilities of art with our most popular camp, adapted for our new digital camp model. Using a variety of materials, this session combines scientific exploration and the creative process to create the messiest and silliest of art projects.

FUN-TASTIC Forts!

July 13-17 (Ages 6-10)

In this camp, kids investigate all things 3-D! From blankets to boxes, we cover the basics of building the best forts ever! Campers will spend their days creating new spaces to explore and will walk away with a basic understanding of engineering, and a personalized fort of their own!

Fibers & Friends!

July 20-July 24 (Ages 5-7)

July 27-July 31 (Ages 8-10)

Have you ever wondered how a spider builds its web, how a bird weaves a nest, how your friend made such an AWESOME key chain? Become a wonder-weaver as we explore all things fiber!

Art & Movement

August 3-August 7 (Ages 6-10)

Who says art-making has to be stationary? This camp session focuses on all the ways art can get you moving and features 2-D and 3-D projects, which will utilize movement and art-making in innovative ways.

Registration, which is $220, opened today (Monday). It will close one week before the start of each camp.

Photo via Mariah Hewines/Unsplash

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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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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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Lily Siegel, the Greater Reston Arts Center‘s executive director and curator, has resigned effective mid-February as the institution explores rebranding and repositioning itself in the community.

Siegel will become the next executive director for Hamiltonian Artists in the District as its fellowship program and exhibit transitions into a nonprofit organization.

In a Jan. 13 letter, GRACE’s Board of Directors credited Siegel for leaving the center in “a much stronger position than we were in when Lily arrived three years ago.”

As difficult as it is to lose someone of Lily’s great capability and vision, that challenge presents opportunity. We look forward to announcing in the near future the hire of a new Executive Director and Curator who we are confident, given our achievements and repositioning, will also be someone of world-class caliber capable of taking us to the next level of accomplishment and distinction.

In the meantime, we will not miss a beat. As so many of you know, we have a very experienced and highly capable team of whom we are proud (Erica Harrison, Elizabeth Denholm, Sofia Blom, and Sarah Berenz), each of whom is already stepping up to ensure we stay right on track.

The leadership that Lily has provided this institution is something for which we are all grateful and celebrate, and every one of us wishes Lily all the best for what we know will be continued success in her career.

Siegel — who looks forward to changing jobs to a location where she lives — told Reston Now she’s proud of all her accomplishments over the last three years.

“I’m so proud of everything that I’ve done here and all that our team has accomplished,” she said, adding that she looks forward to continuing to support and work with artists in the community in her new role.

As executive director, Siegel helped bring on more main gallery exhibitions with established, nationally, and internationally recognized artists.

In addition to strengthening partnerships with area organizations, also helped establish GRACE’s satellite gallery at Signature in Reston Town Center, support Sue Wrbican’s new sculpture in Town Square Park in RTC, run the summer art camp with Reston Association, and add Festival Friday to the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival.

GRACE is accepting applications for Siegel’s position online.

Photo via GRACE

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The Greater Reston Arts Center is welcoming a new exhibit featuring the work of artist Moira Dryer this month. 

Dryer’s work, which features large abstract paintings on wood panel, will be on display from Jan. 18 through April 18. The exhibit, which was curated by GRACE’s executive director and curator Lily Siegel is titled “Yours for the Taking.”

Here’s more from GRACE on the exhibit:

This exhibition will provide an intimate look at the artist’s practice through works given as gifts to friends and family, many never previously shown publicly. Her work has been exhibited extensively across the United States in institutions such as Boston’s Institute for Contemporary Art; Whitney Museum of Modern Art; and The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Dryer’s work is included in the permanent collections of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Museum of Modern Art, New York

Dryer was educated at the School of Visual Arts. Her first solo exhibition debuted in 1986 at John Good Gallery in New York. She was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1957 and died in New York City in 1992.

The exhibit is supported by ARTFAIRFAX and Robert and Theresa Goudie, as well as the Exhibition Circle.

A curator’s talk and opening reception is set for Jan. 19 from 4-6 p.m.

Photo via Moira Dryer/GRACE

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Seven art organizations across Fairfax County, including the Greater Reston Arts Center, were recently awarded part of a $105,296 grant from ARTSFAIRFAX.

The Greater Reston Arts Center plans to use the funds to display works from Moira Dryer, who currently has a larger selection of works displayed in D.C.

Dryer’s work “Yours for the Taking” is expected to be available for viewing from January to April, and the Reston Greater Arts Center is set to host a reception and curator talk on Jan. 18 from 4-7 p.m.

Each organization will receive a sum of money between $1,000 to $30,000 to assist with a specific project. ARTSFAIRFAX declined to share the specific grant amounts for recipients with Reston Now.

The seven art centers demonstrated factors including enrichment, economic growth for the area, accessibility to art and the ability to foster individual creativity, according to a press release.

“Project awardees presented innovative and creative means to engage the community and bring people together to experience arts in fresh and unusual ways,” the press release said.

Other grant recipients include the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts and the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra.

Image via Greater Reston Arts Center/Facebook

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The annual Monster Drawing Rally returns to Reston next month, but with a new location at the Signature Apartments (11850 Freedom Drive).

Artists from around the region will converge at the apartments for a live drawing event and fundraiser. More than 50 artists will create artwork on-site, which will be hung on a wall and available for purchase at $75.

The event is set for Dec. 7 from 4-8 p.m.

If more than one person wants to purchase the same artwork, a drawing will determine the winner.

All proceeds benefit the exhibition program at the Greater Reston Arts Center.

More information about the event is available online.

Photo via GRACE

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After a months-long crowdfunding effort, construction on a 50-foot steel sculpture has begun in Reston Town Center.

The sculpture, titled Buoyant Force, is designed by artist Sue Wrbican who was inspired by the paintings of American Surrealist Kay Sage.

In a release, the Greater Reston Arts Center called the sculpture an “unprecedented project that will not only bring a monumental sculpture in Reston, but will be an act of creative place-making.” The sculpture will be located in Reston Town Square Park.

Wrbican is an associate professor and director of photographer at George Mason University’s School of Art.

Her work, which is known for depicting scaffolded structures and furled fabric in desolate landscapes, is inspired by Sage, who GRACE says lived in the shadow of her husband, the surrealist Yves Tanguy.

GRACE turned to a crowdfunding to help finance the construction of the project. The installation is expected to be complete by the fall.

Photo via Greater Reston Arts Center

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Tuesday Morning Notes

‘No Place Safe’ from Hidden Cameras — “The teen said she never gave a second thought to the iPhone that Raphael Schklowsky incorporated into his lessons at Herndon High School. But even as he was teaching drama, Schklowsky was allegedly using the device to victimize her. Fairfax County police detectives showed the 17-year-old girl a shocking display. During just one class in spring 2017, they said, Schklowsky snapped at least a dozen inappropriate photos of her body from different angles and zooms as she sat on a riser.” [The Washington Post]

INOVA Bloodmobile in Reston Town Center Today — INOVA’s blood mobile will be on-site at Reston Town Center from 1-6 p.m. today. Individuals can donate blood by registration on-site or online. [Reston Town Center]

Strategic Plan Feedback Sought — Residents who are unable to make a series of community meetings on the county’s strategic plan, which is currently in development, can provide feedback online. [Fairfax County Government]

Centroid Exhibit Opens This Weekend — “GRACE will present the next chapter of Baltimore-based artist Nate Larson’s Centroid Towns project. Since the first US census in 1790, the United States Census Bureau has been recording the mean center of population as it moves steadily west and south. The first Centroid Town recorded was Chestertown, Maryland, and the projected Centroid of the 2020 census is Hartville, Missouri.” [East City Art]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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