Reston has more than 70 pieces of public art. While many of them are placed in well-traversed locations, like the Mercury Fountain in Reston Town Center, some pieces are less widely known because they are hiding in plain sight or located off the beaten path.
“There are many gems that are off the main areas,” Anne Delaney, the executive director of Public Art Reston, told Reston Now.
Reston Now has rounded up information on eight “hidden treasures” — as Delaney describes them — and where to find them.
Where to find it: Bundeswehr–German Liaison Office (11150 Sunrise Valley Drive)
Description: A part of history is at the entrance to the office. The 4-foot-wide Berlin Wall fragment is circa 1973 and was acquired by the Command Headquarters in 1990 to commemorate the reunification of Germany, according to Public Art Reston.
Where to find it: Glade Drive Underpass near Hunters Woods Village Center
Description: Valerie Theberge’s 2010 glass and mirror mosaic tiles greet bicyclists and people walking eastbound on the Turquoise Trail. “Theberge designed this artwork to be uplifting, whimsical and optimistic,” according to its Public Art Reston bio. “Multiple shades of greens were chosen to reflect the rich vegetation in Reston.” Students from Hunters Woods Elementary School helped create the stars scattered around the art.
Where to find it: North Shore Drive Underpass near Lake Anne
Description: Multiple, concrete sculptural elements created by Gonzalo Fonseca in 1965 decorate the tunnel connecting Lake Anne and the nearby Hickory Cluster townhouses along the Green Trail. “Along with a functional seat and table, The Underpass includes pieces that — upon close inspection — provide passersby with surprises meant to jog the imagination with stories and ideas,” Public Art Reston says.
Where to find it: Right by The Underpass
Description: The curved, concrete cylinder, also by Fonseca, sits near the pathway beyond The Underpass. Public Art Reston notes that this piece is the most inconspicuous of Fonseca’s work in the area.
Where to find it: Attached to a large stone in the garden at the Freedom Grove at Brown’s Chapel (1575 Browns Chapel Road)
Description: The Reston Association commissioned the bronze memorial by Kathy Walden Kaplan to honor the memory of the victims of the 9/11 attack, including Reston residents Leonard Taylor and Norma Cruz Kahn, according to Public Art Reston.
Where to find it: In the parking lot at Plaza America directly across from MOD Pizza
Description: While three red ellipses standing more than 6 feet tall might sound like a sculpture that would stand out, this welded steel art piece by Al Landzberg is hiding in plain sight at the complicated Plaza America parking lot. Meant to be the centerpiece of the plaza, “Slit Figure is a study in contrasts: the contrast in shapes between three closed ellipses and a mysterious opening that slices through them, the contrast in colors between the sculpture’s fire-engine red and the shopping center’s subdued hues, and the contrast in design between the center’s business orientation and the sculpture’s playfulness,” Public Art Reston says.
Where to find it: Also near The Underpass
Description: Overlooking Lake Anne, the wood and steel swing was designed by William Roehl in collaboration with Conklin and Rossant. The swing has changed since it was first installed in 1965, evolving from a hanging basket swing to its current form, according to Public Art Reston.
Where to find it: Along Moorings Drive by the Blue Trail
Description: This mysterious ceramic, mosaic piece made by Olin Russum in 1967 is an abstract representation of the map of Reston, although only the right side remains intact, according to Public Art Reston. “I would love if anyone knows how this work came to be,” Delaney told Reston Now.
People looking to learn more about public art in Reston and visit the pieces in person can contact Public Art Reston or the Reston Association to find out information about upcoming walking tours and print and digital maps marking the locations of the art.
Last two photos via Google Maps
The Colts Neck Road underpass will soon get its long-awaited makeover.
Public Art Reston recently awarded a contract to Philadelphia-based artist Ben Volta to create permanent public artwork for the underpass.
When selecting the artist, Public Art Reston sought someone who could “address the spirit of the Hunters Woods Neighborhood; respond to the cultural diversity of the community; and develop an artwork that identifies the underpass as a civic facility within the fabric of the surrounding neighborhood,” according to a Public Art Reston press release.
“The project is an opportunity for infrastructure beautification, engagement, education and inspiration,” Delaney said. “It will promote active use of the underpass that links residential areas, Hunters Woods Village Center, two schools, two senior facilities and two community centers.”
Known for his public murals and sculptures, Volta will work on the project with the Dogwood and Hunters Woods elementary schools, in addition to partnering with Hunters Woods at Trails Edge, a soon-to-open senior living facility.
Volta, who is familiar with working with students in participatory art creation, told Reston Now that he plans to engage with kids in the classrooms with the hope of brainstorming an idea, color or shape that will then get incorporated into the art.
Right now, he is working to get the design done before summer break starts for the kids.
He has started making several planned site visits, where he also meets with students, teachers and administrators at the two schools. “I like to start with the site,” Volta said about his artistic process.
While the Colts Neck underpass was “dark with lots of mud everywhere” on his first visit, Volta said he’s been thinking about how the tunnel’s purpose as a passageway between the two schools can lead to a transformative experience for people who enter and exit it.
“Really, the site has a lot to say because of the way people experience it,” Volta said.
Volta said he didn’t know much about the Hunters Woods area before he was chosen for the project, but said he was struck on his first visit by the area’s connection to nature. “I really fell in love with Reston.”
The project has an anticipated installation in the summer so that the artwork will be ready for when students return to classes in the fall, he said.
Photo of Ben Volta courtesy of Public Art Reston
Updated at 5:30 p.m. — Clarifies the project as part of a series of guides and includes Phoebe Avery.
Charlotte Geary, a local photographer, worked on commission by Public Art Reston to photograph every public art piece for an upcoming guide.
“Finding the artwork was half the fun,” Geary said on her website. “It was like a scavenger hunt around town. Of course I knew the most prominent sculptures, like Mercury Fountain, but some of the other artwork was unfamiliar to me and thrilling to discover.”
Geary provided a glimpse behind the photographs on her blog, like her use of a fisheye lens to capture the curve of the buildings.
Phoebe Avery, who is also contracted for the project, is writing the text. Both Geary and Avery contributed to Public Art Retson’s first “Public Art Tour Series” guide, which highlighted public artworks at Lake Anne Village Center.
The second guide of the series is slated for a release sometime in 2019, Anne Delaney, the executive director of Public Art Reston, told Reston. “The purpose of the series is to create greater awareness about Reston’s public art collection — the community’s cultural assets — available to all at all time and free of charge,” she said in an email.
While some of the artwork is prominent, others are more obscure, like troll sculptures hidden under a bridge and half-concealed in undergrowth.
Photo via Charlotte Geary
This story has been updated
The Greater Reston Arts Center has pushed back the completion of a new 50-foot steel sculpture in Reston Town Center from this fall to spring 2019.
Reston Now previously reported the installation and an opening ceremony were expected in August.
Now, the sculpture’s anticipated unveiling is set for spring after the project faced construction delays, Lily Siegel, executive director and curator of the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE), told Reston Now.
“As we embarked on [the project], things have shifted and got a little bit delayed,” she said.
Titled “Buoyant Force,” the sculpture by artist Sue Wrbican is inspired by the work of Kay Sage, an American surrealist who was known for her paintings of scaffolded structure and furled fabric in barren landscapes. GRACE previously featured Wrbican’s work last fall.
Currently, the sculpture is being fabricated by two fabricators. The main 50-foot piece is getting welded together at one fabricator’s shop in Rockville Md.
Siegel said that the GRACE team has dropped in several times on the fabrication, describing the tall piece as reminiscent of scaffolding or the inside of a skyscraper. Even though the 50-foot piece is lying on the ground, “it’s very impressive,” she said. “The impact is pretty powerful.”
A second fabricator is making other steel structures that will get attached to the sculpture. Both sourced preexisting, pre-fabricated materials at Wrbican’s request.
While the main work on the pieces is “pretty much done,” technical details still need finishing before installation. Once the pieces are on site, the installation will require a crane and boom lift, she said.
“Buoyant Force” marks Seigel’s first public sculpture — an undertaking that has taught her quite a bit throughout the process. For starters, the project initially planned to have one fabricator, before she decided the work required two people, she said.
“It’s taking a whole team of professionals to get this done,” Seigel said That team includes architects, inspectors, a concrete team, engineers, movers and — of course — the artist.
Seigel also took a new approach to fund the sculpture. For the first time, GRACE started a crowdfunding campaign to cover the costs. Locals can donate online.
So far, the campaign raised about $50,000 — nearly half of the required funds — in roughly five months, she said. The Reston Town Center Association, Reston Community Center, ArtsFairfax and Public Art Reston are some of the places that have donated.
Seigel said the “slow” fundraising efforts are not causing the delay.
Additionally, the architect, engineer, concrete company and transportation company are providing pro bono work — a donation of its own kind, she said.
Siegel said a community celebration to mark the grand opening will happen.
After that, she plans to host programming, including dance, poetry and education, around the sculpture, which is expected to be on view for five years. “We’re looking for different ways to bring the community back around the sculpture” with different perspectives, she said. “We are incredibly excited about this project.”
Images via Greater Reston Arts Center
Your guide to Halloween — As ghosts and ghouls prowl the neighborhood streets tonight, here are some safety tips you should keep in mind as you head out and dress up. [Fairfax County Government]
Voting 101 — Election Day is just days away and with more than 70,000 active registered voters in the county, there’s a lot to catch up on. [Fairfax County Government]
Preventing pedestrians crashes — So far, 10 pedestrians have been killed in crashes in Fairfax County and 100 pedestrians have been involved in crashes. Drivers and pedestrians should keep the following tips in mind in order to prevent accidents. [Fairfax County Government]
Photos: Annual Public Art Reston party –– This year’s annual fundraising event for the nonprofit organization took place on the 16th floor of the Helmut Jahn building at Reston Station. [Public Art Reston]
Photo by Ray Copson
New bike racks were installed last week at the Lake House, bringing a whimsical home for bike storage to the area.
Hauffe, a painter and sculptor who lives and works in Leesburg, will be at an open house at the Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Avenue) on Saturday (Oct. 13) from 12:30-2 p.m. to discuss her work. Refreshments will be served and the event is free and open to the public.
Public Art Reston issued the following description about the installation, which is owned by RA. The project is supported by Friends of Reston, Reston Bicycle Club, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, RA and Public Art Reston.
Hauffe had three main priorities: a fully functional art work; one that ties in to its surroundings; and one that engages the public (bike riders and pedestrians alike), reaching out to them in a direct and visually pleasing way.The last point speaks to her overriding creative philosophy, to uplift and make positive connections between places, people and ideas. Duck, Duck, Goose emerged from these goals- a children’s game solidified into a parade of water birds found commonly in and around the lake. A practical and beautiful object, it aims to bring smiles to those enjoying the Lake House park area and its diverse recreational and natural offerings.
Other site-specific bike racks will be installed at two other spots in Reston over the next few months, Anne Delaney, Public Art Reston’s executive director, told Reston Now.
Photos via Public Art Reston
Public Art Reston will celebrate its 11th birthday with an annual ‘PARty!’ on Oct. 18 (Thursday) from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Unlike previous years, limited-edition artwork will be available for sale, with all proceeds benefiting Public Art Reston.
The program will be launched with photographs of sculptures at Lake Anne Village Center by Reston-based artist and photographer Charlotte Geary, according to Chelsea Rao, chair of Public Art Reston’s reception committee.
“The 2018 Annual PARty! offers attendees a fun opportunity to celebrate the public art of Reston, the ongoing initiatives of Public Art Reston as well as its sources of inspiration,” Rao said.
This year’s event will also celebrate the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Public Art Master Plan for Reston. The master plan was adopted by the board of Public Art Reston in December 2008, solidifying the organization’s commitment to ensuring the planning process integrated public art in a manner that enriched community life and spirit. Since 2008, a dozen permanent artwork and another dozen temporary installation have been commissioned in Reston.
The event will take place at Comstock’s Reston Station on the 16th floor. It’ll include a cocktail party with catering by Ridgewells and an art installation created by Marco Rando, a local artist, teacher and Public Art Reston board member.
“The installation design is intended to visually play with the raw space of the Jahn building. The geometric forms are created to be an illusion of a three-dimensional space. At first glance, the lines creating polygons are received as correct proportions, but with closer examination, one discovers the optical illusion. The colored lines are intended to enhance the playful and whimsical overall design,” Rando said.
Tickets, which can be purchased online, are $60, two for $100, and $55 for attendees 25 and under.
Photo by Sarah Mccue
Aside from several stand-out pieces, there are a lot of art displays to explore around Lake Anne Plaza.
On Friday, Oct. 10, art historian Phoebe Avery will offer a walking tour of art around the plaza. The tour begins in front of Lake Anne Coffee House.
The event is presented by Reston Association and Public Art Reston. Registration is $5 for Reston Association members and $8 for all others. The tour will run from 9:30-11:30 a.m.
It’s no secret that the Colts Neck Road underpass could use some sprucing up. Public Art Reston is looking for artists to create a site-specific artwork to enhance the inside and outside walls of the underpass.
Artists should capture the spirit of the Hunters Woods neighborhood, respond to the cultural diversity of the community and identify the underpass as a “civic facility” within the surrounding neighborhood, according to a description of the call to artists issued by the organization.
Public Art Reston also indicated the following:
The project will promote active use of the underpass that links residential areas, Hunters Woods Village Center, two schools, two senior facilities, and two community centers. At the Colts Neck Road underpass, public art will have the opportunity to enhance the community’s relationship to their infrastructure and encourage active transportation options such as walking and cycling. The artist will actively engage with community stakeholders to develop the concept of the artwork and will give workshops to students. This project is an opportunity for infrastructure beautification, education, engagement, and inspiration.
The project is in collaboration with Reston Association and Atlantic Realty Companies.
The deadline for entries is Oct. 26. Entries can be submitted online.
Photo by Public Art Reston
Two bold black and white chalkboards are up at Lake Anne Plaza, challenging passers-by to write down what they wish to do or achieve before they die.
The public art installation, called Before I Die, is a temporary public art installation as part of the run-up to the 12th annual Jazz and Blues Festival at the plaza this Saturday (September 1). The festival is free and open to all ages.
The community project was started by artist Candy Chang in New Orleans. Chang created the project to examine the way “the wall of our cities can help us grapple with death and meaning as a community today.” After undergoing grief and depression following the loss of a loved one, Chang covered a crumbling house in her neighborhood in New Orleans with chalkboard paint and stenciled the prompt, “Before I die I want to.” Since then Before I Die walls have popped up in more than 70 countries, including China, Brazil, Kazakhstan and South Africa.
So far, the display in Reston includes wishes and goals like building a business, climbing a mountain and adventuring all over. It will be on display until September 10.
“Connie’s Quilt,” an art project by students at South Lakes High School, now blankets a portion of Lake Thoreau.
The structure was created by the school’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) club. It is made of galvanized metal, airplane cables, tubing, connectors and cable ties.
The project aims to represent community connections and the notion that the self-made man does not exist, according to Public Art Reston. Reston Association, Public Art Reston and SLHS partnered to make the project possible.
A series of videos about the project are available online:
- The Making of Connie’s Quilt by the South Lakes High School STEAM Team (Part 1 – extended)
- The Making of Connie’s Quilt by the South Lakes High School STEAM Team (Part 2)
- The Making of Connie’s Quilt by the South Lakes High School STEAM Team (Part 3)
Photos via Public Art Reston
The Greater Reston Arts Center is seeking funds to help finance a new 50-foot steel sculpture in Reston Town Center.
The sculpture by artist Sue Wrbican is inspired by the work of Kay Sage, an American surrealist who was known for her paintings of scaffolded structure and furled fabric in barren landscapes.
Wrbican’s work was previously featured by GRACE last fall. Installation and an opening ceremony are expected in August. Donations can be made online.
Less than half of the required funds needed to make the project possible have been raised from Reston Town Center Association, Reston Community Center, ArtsFairfax and Public Art Reston.
Photos via Greater Reston Arts Center
During the two-day street art festivals, participants created drawings on the plaza. Proceeds from the event benefit Public Art Reston, a non-profit organization that aims to promote the arts in Reston.
More than 180 people participated in the event, which drew roughly 1,725 attendees.
“The event went extremely well despite the weather forecast. Artists in all categories created amazing chalk drawings. Most artists came prepared with a sketch or image they planned to realize in chalk,” said Anne Delaney, executive director of Public Art Reston.
The winners for three categories — professional artists, amateur artists and families and kids — are below and pictured above:
- 1st Place: Penny Hauffe
- 2nd Place: Erica Fallin
- 3rd Place: Brianna Camp
- 1st Place: Maxine Prudhomme & Samantha Burgess
- 2nd Place: Jennifer Griffith
- 3rd Place: Tongman Yang
Families & Kids
- 1st Place: Faisal Chaudry
- 2nd Place: John Byron
- 3rd Place: Elia Jarrett
All of the artwork from the weekend’s festival will remain visible on the plaza until it wears off naturally, which could happen today given the forecast of rain.
Photos by Public Art Reston
An art piece by students at South Lakes High School will be suspended over Lake Thoreau this month. The project, called Connie’s Quilt, is made of rings of white tubing strung together to convey one central theme: community is defined by the connections we have with those around us.
Students from the school’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) club created the sculpture, with help from the school’s photo, art and design teacher Marco Rando.
Public Art Reston offered the following description of the work:
Connie’s Quilt, is made from rings of white tubing strung together to create an organic and kinetic sculpture suspended over the lake. The artwork, comprised of many parts, is representative of our societal fabric and the importance of connectivity between people. Connie’s Quilt sets out to dispel the myth of the “self-made man” and identify the reality that nobody gets where they are without support from family and friends. Interdependence is crucial to the survival and prosperity of any community, which is represented by the supportive and holistic nature of the rings.
In testimony submitted to Reston Association’s Design Review Board, some residents said that while they appreciated the student’s efforts, the art sculpture was not a welcome addition to the lake.
“The proposed sculpture at first glance looks sinister and immediately brought memories of jails and detention centers to my mind – quite the opposite of a peaceful lakeside collection of communities,” wrote Teri-E Belf, a Reston resident.
Echoing similar concerns, Reston resident Najwa Margaret Saad wrote the sculpture evoked unpleasant images that were not appropriate “at a time when our current American public narrative is about refugees, deportations and such.”
“The design size and aspect are not in harmony with the expansive, peaceful, natural, flowing environment of our Lake Thoreau,” Saad added.
On Thursday (June 14) at 6 p.m., the artwork will be on display before it is installed at the Lake Thoreau Spillway. Students will also offer their thoughts on the project. The reception will be held at SLHS in Room 367. RSVPs are requested at [email protected].
Photos via Public Art Reston
Chalk on the water — Unleash your creativity this weekend as Lake Anne Plaza’s ground becomes a canvas for amateur and professional artists alike. [Public Art Reston]
Stateside: June 12 — The primary elections in Virginia and Fairfax County are on Tuesday, June 12. All 243 precincts will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. [Fairfax County Government]
Happening nearby: motorized partitions — “Schools in Fairfax County, Virginia, will be allowed to use motorized panel doors again after a little boy died in a “tragic accident” at his elementary school. Wesley Lipicky was killed on May 18 after he was crushed between a motorized panel and a wall.” [NBC4]
Flickr pool photo by vantagehill