Restonians Band Together to ‘Light Up Reston’

Restonians have banded together to launch “Light Up Reston,” a community-wide initiative that aims to encourage residents to support charities and decorate homes for the holidays.

The initiative aims to show residents’ community spirit and raise funds for Public Art Reston, Friends of Reston, and Cornerstones. It draws inspiration from Lake Thoreau Entertainment Associations’ “Festival of Lights,” which raises money for local charities and brings lights to the lake.

This year, residents — some friends and others strangers — decided to spread the initiative throughout the.

With expanding this effort across Reston, we are hoping to raise holiday spirit as well as  awareness of these wonderful Reston based charities by raising $25,000,” said Mary Prochnow, one of the organizers.

So far, $400 has been raised as the initiative kicks off. Last year’s “Festival of Lights” raised more than $8,500 for local charities.

Residents can donate funds to charities by contributing the dollar amount used to put up holiday decorations, the number of homes decorated in your neighborhood, or the number of times residents’ have thought about falling off a ladder while putting up lights.

Melissa Romano, who is also helping organize the initiative, said Restonians involved in lighting up Reston were drawn by their common desire to promote “great events in Reston.”

Photo via Charlotte Geary Photography

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Public Art at New Lake Anne Fellowship House Approved

Once the Lake Anne Fellowship House is redeveloped, bronze canvas-like art will wrap around the garage that rests below the 240-unit building.

Reston Association’s Design Review Board approved the final design at on Tuesday (Nov. 12).

At the meeting, Suzane. Welch, vice president of the Community Preservation and Development Corp. said the company was considering relocation trees planned in front of the screen.

The concept was approved by Public Art Reston‘s public art committee, which suggested relocating the trees to showcase the artwork more effectively.

Overall, DRB members said they were pleased with the design.

Richard Newlon, chairman of the panel, said the company should consider retaining the trees in order to create a buffer between the sidewalk and the building. He added that he liked the aesthetic of the screen, which consists of a perforated metal panel.

“It’s supposed to be background. It’s not supposed to be canvas art,” Newlon said.

Other members noted that the art would require maintenance due to its design.

The county approved the redevelopment of the fellowship house, which offers affordable housing for seniors, in October 2018.

Once the building is redeveloped, the development team will build 36 market-rate townhouses to the west side of property. 

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Wednesday Morning Notes

A Guide on How to Handle Peer Pressure — “Everyone has peers. Peers can be your friends who are about your age and have similar interests and experiences. Peers can also be other kids who are about your age and are involved in the same activities with you or are part of a community or group you belong to. You may not consider all of your peers to be friends, but they can all influence you.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

A Legacy to Live on in Reston — “Commissioned by Public Art Reston, Volta took calculated measures during the production phase of the community-inspired project finalized in 2019 to protect the mural panels against sun and element damage as well as vandalism. A few days before the Oct. 17 unveiling of the Public Artwork at Colts Neck Road Underpass, Volta shared, in a one-on-one interview, key processes and materials essential in the successful creation of the paneled mural, and safeguards he took to protect the investment.” [The Connection]

Volunteers Sought for Halloween House and Trick-or-Treat Trail — Reston Association is looking for volunteers over 15 years of age for its annual event. An orientation Is set for today (Wednesday) from 6-7 p.m. at the Walker Nature Center. [Reston Association]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Public Art Reston to Unveil Colts Neck Road Underpass Project

Public Art Reston is hosting an unveiling of public art on the Colts Neck Road Underpass project — a project that is the amalgamation of hundreds of drawings by community members.

The public unveiling is set for Wednesday (October 16) from 6-7 p.m. The free event will also includes ice cream.

The underpass is accessible from Hunters Woods Village Center and from Hunters Woods at Trails Edge. Parking is available at Hunters Woods Village Center.

The piece is titled “Thoreau’s Ensemble.” Ben Volta, the Philadelphia-based artist behind the work, was inspired by poet Henry David Thoreau’s quote, “Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reference.”

Volta asked community members and residents to draw a path and add components that make Reston stimulating and worthwhile. 

The final design was by approved by Reston Association’s Design Review Board earlier this year. The project is made possible through a partnership with Public Art Reston, Atlantic Realty Companies, and RA.

Photo via Public Art Reston

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Northam Appoints GRACE’s Board Chair to Virginia Commission for the Arts

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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Thursday Morning Notes

Lunch in the Park Today in Reston Town Center — “Join co-presenters Reston Town Center Association and the Reston Community Center to welcome the GMU College of Visual and Performing Arts for Thursday Lunch in the Park! This week’s performance is NOVATEQ.” [Reston Town Center]

Brush Chipping by Reston Association — RA members can bring their brush for chipping at no cost to Lake Audubon Pool this weekend. Members are reminded not to dump grass clippings, dirt, vines, thorns or other debris. [Reston Association]

Chalking It Up for ChalkFest — “The iconic Public Art Reston sculpture, Mercury Fountain by Saint Clair Cemin, served as the backdrop for the sixth annual Chalk Fest at Reston Town Center on Saturday, Sept. 14. Presented by Public Art Reston in partnership with Reston Town Center, according to Anne Delaney, Executive Director of Public Art Reston, the Festival proved once again to be among the community’s most photogenic events.” [The Connection]

Staff Photo by Jay Westcott

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Steel Sculpture On Track for Fall Installation in Reston Town Center

A new 50-foot steel sculpture by artist Sue Wrbican is on track for installation in the fall.

For more than a year, the Greater Reston Arts Center has been working on the project, which is inspired by American surrealist Kay Sage. Construction began a little over a year ago. The sculpture is intended to encourage viewers to think about the themes of urbanism and landscape, environmentalism and natural resources, feminism, and community, said Lily Siegel, GRACE’s executive director and curator.

Through her project, Wrbican is not just bringing attention to Sage’s life and work, she is making it relevant to our contemporary lives by introducing forms inspired by Sage into our present urban landscape,” Siegel said, adding that Sage’s work was overlooked during her time and that she lived in the shadow of her celebrated artist-husband and associates.

Siegel hopes the sculpture will be a gathering point and topic of conversation.

GRACE turned to crowdfunding to help finance the construction of the project, as well as ongoing programming scheduled for the sculpture. While the organization did not release the cost of the project, Seigel said the project has received “incredible support.”

A talk about the project, which will be installed in Town Square Park, is set for August 22 from 12:30-1:30 p.m. at GRACE. The event is free and open to the public.

Community partners include Reston Town Center Association, Reston Community Center, ARTSFAIRFAX, Public Art Reston, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, MacMullan & Associates, Architecture Incorporated, Commercial Concrete, ECS Mid-Atlantic, PaintTech, and a number of individuals.

Photo by Sue Wrbican

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Registration for ChalkFest at Reston Town Center is Now Open

Artists of all ages and skill levels can now save the date for ChalkFest at Reston Town Center.

The annual event, which challenges artists to create chalk drawings on Market Street, is set for Saturday, September 14 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Registration is open in the following categories:

  • Professional artist: $25
  • Amateur artist: $25
  • Families and kids: $15

Prizes will be given to winning artists in each category. Participants will also get the chance to vote in the “audience choice awards.”

ChalkFest is presented by Public Art Reston and Reston Town Center. All proceeds from the event will benefit Public Art Reston’s projects and programs.

Last year’s event was cancelled due to the forecasted rain, but in 2017, the event drew more than 4,000 people.

Photo by Public Art Reston

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Save the Date: Chalkfest is in Mid-September — Professional and amateur artists will bring the sidewalks of Reston Town Center to life through chalk drawings. The event takes place on Saturday, Sept. 14 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. [Reston Community Center]

County School System Wins Grant for Farm-to-School Program — “The Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Office of Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) has been named recipient of a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to create a pilot Farm-to-School strategic plan. The $50,000 grant will support the development of the plan with a goal of expanding it throughout the division to provide more students with fresh and locally-sourced food.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Farmers & Makers Market Returns to Reston Town Center — The market is back from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today. Artisans and farmers will sell a mix of items. [Reston Town Center]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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New Prismatic Art Installed on Lake Thoreau Spillway

New art by South Lakes High School’s STEAM team was installed on the Lake Thoreau spillway this month.

The piece, called “Spectrum,” is composed of five wooden interlocking rectangular prism made of different sizes and colors. Wood, paint and metal brackets were used to create the piece.

Public Art Reston issued the following description about the project:

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. To do so, STEAM started out with one of the most basic geometric forms, the cube, with the intention for the emergence of an infinitely more complex, powerful, and unique form. The end result is Spectrum, a celebration of line, form, and color, unleashing the potential and power in the austerity of the formal elements employed in the sculpture.  More specifically, basic line accentuated by its rainbow palette; a conglomeration of neon hues, and soft gradients similar to strawberry sherbets and dusky sunsets. The process of constructing the sculpture became a form of beacon for students who had not been involved in the sculpture thus far. In other words, a congregation of students turned out to collaborate in fabricating the sculpture, students that were not the weekly attendees through-out the year. 

The project seeks to represent a “proverbial village.” Students involved in the project — which was created under the direction of SLHS art teacher Marco Rando — come from various racial and social backgrounds.  

Rando said the vision of the project is embodied by the mission of the SLHS STEAM public art club:

The way the program has developed over its 7 years, I see as a formal meditation. Most people hearing the word meditation would think of a practice to make one feel better. While that might be a wonderful by product, experienced meditators know it’s the process of discipline, which is demanding and requires commitment. While at the same time, one most journey lightly as not to be self-defeating.   

Since this is an art project, creative ego’s are essential, however, students learn quickly and become intuitive to the necessity of team work as key to the projects success. This meditative process is challenging students to exert themselves, using their inquisitive minds as an element of practice. In order to be an effective student, one learns to be highly inquisitive.

Students experience firsthand that information is not a foreign element but just a state of furthering their inquisitiveness. This meditative participation involves revealing 2 factors, it relates to the individual and it relates to their world. Their training becomes synchronistic, discovering, seeing, and living their efforts to have a direct impact in their community.  Ultimately students are creatively serving their society by developing and exercising multiple disciplines to achieve a work of art. Like most art work, the student project is meant to foster dialogue. For me, the dialogue is about how to create more public art that affords students the opportunity to perform at a professional level; the meditative process of living and experiencing life.

SLHS, Reston Association and Public Art Reston partnered to bring “Spectrum” to the spillway.

Project sponsors include the Lake Thoreau Entertainment Association, Mary and David Prochnow, MOD Pizza, Hope and Hayes McCarty, Priscilla Miller and E.T. Conrad.

Photo 1 and 2 by Russ Evans; Photo 3 via Public Art Reston

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Next Week: Last Chance to Help Create Art for Colts Neck Underpass Project

Plans are in the works to install a project inspired by pathways and connection at the Colts Neck Underpass.

The project, which was approved by Reston Association’s Design Review Board this week, is composed of hundreds of sharpie-based drawings created by workshop participants and local students.

On Saturday, June 29, artist Ben Volta will hold his last workshop for the project at Hunters Woods at Trail Edge.

Participants will have a chance to help create the artwork. So far, seniors and students from Dogwood Elementary School, Hunters Woods Elementary School, Southgate Community Center and Hunters Woods Fellowship House have participated in the effort.

Volta will use drawings created by participants to form the overall artwork, which could have more than 30 colors. The concept is inspired by the connections created through pathways.

The workshop runs from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Ice cream will be served and the event is free and open to all.

Public Art Reston hopes to install the project by September.

Photo via Public Art Reston

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Public Art Proposal for Colts Neck Road Underpass Receives Design Approval

Reston Association’s Design Review Board approved Philadelphia-based artist Ben Volta’s vision to transform the Colts Neck Road underpass into public art.

At a Tuesday meeting, the DRB approved a conceptual design of the project. The final version will use between 600 and 1,000 designs created by seniors from Hunters Woods Fellowship House and more than 800 students from Southgate Community Center and Hunters Woods and Dogwood elementary schools.

Inspired by Reston’s 55 miles of pathways, Volta asked participants to use sharpies to draw a path that invokes joy, love and reference. In a proposal to the DRB, he describes the project as a “colorful connector that reverberates collective energy and rhythm.”

The DRB reviewed a conceptual rendering of the project with just 10 drawings replicated over and over again to give the panel a feel for the direction of the design.

During the meeting, Richard Newlon, the DRB’s chairman, said the project was “stunning.”

“You take something as mundane as a tunnel and its almost too bad that tunnels weren’t designed with more fun in mind,” Newlon said.

Panel members briefly considered asking Volta to return to the DRB for final approval once the design was near finalization. Instead, Volta will submit a final rendering of the project as a courtesy to the DRB.

However, W. Neal Roseberry, a DRB member, questioned the need to transform underpasses into public art.

“I’ve never fully enjoyed that we use our infrastructure for our artwork,” Roseberry said.

Public Art Reston hopes to install the project by September. Anne Delaney, Public Art Reston’s executive director noted that the master plan for public art in Reston envisions transforming the community’s underpasses into art.

Volta says will use colors selected by workshop participants, but anticipates tweaks to the color to ensure the piece is balanced. A strip of LED lighting will line both ends of the tunnel.

“I’m kind of along for the ride as well,” Volta said, adding that he’s open to collaborating more with the community for piece of art created through collaboration.

The artwork begins six inches above the ground in order to prevent splattering from dirt and mud. Because of its location, the underpass has drainage issues.

The project is made possible with a proffer commitment by Atlantic Realty Companies to improve the exterior of the underpass as part of its development at Hunters Woods at Trails Edge. The developer is pitching in $60,000 for the art.

Other community partners include ARTSFairfax, Reston Community Center, JBG SMITH, Virginia Commission for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, Pat & Steve Macintyre, and Lake Thoreau Entertainment Association.

Renderings via handout/Reston Association

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Reston Association’s Design Review Board to Consider Colts Neck Underpass Project

The Reston Association’s Design Review Board will consider tomorrow (June 18) artist Ben Volta’s vision for public art at the Colts Neck Underpass.

Volta hopes to combine hundreds of drawings inspired by the concept of pathways to transform the underpass into a work of art.

His work draws from the following statement by Henry David Thoreau: “Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.”

Seniors form the Hunters Woods Fellowship House and more than 800 students from Hunters Woods and Dogwood elementary schools, as well as Southgate Community Center, are working together to create the artwork.

Volta expects to use between 600 and 1,000 designs to construct the final project.

The complete proposal, which contains draft conceptual renderings of the project, is available online.

If the DRB approves the project, installation could be complete as early as September, Anne Delaney, executive director of Public Art Reston, told Reston Now.

Photo via Public Art Reston

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Artist to Discuss Project to Transform Colts Neck Road Underpass into Public Art

Ben Volta, the artist and educator selected by Public Art Reston to transform the Colts Neck Road Underpass into public art, will discuss the project on Monday (June 3) at CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road).

Filmmaker Rebekah Wingert and Hunters Woods Elementary School art teacher Norma Morris will join Volta in the discussion, which begins at 7:30 p.m.

The underpass is identified in the Public Art Master Plan for Reston as a location for new artwork. Volta’s work will address the spirit of the Hunters Woods neighborhood, respond to the cultural diversity, and ensures the underpass is a civic facility in the fabric of the surrounding community.

Public Art Reston wrote the following about Volta:

A 2015 recipient of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, Volta is known for his public artwork, (including intricate murals and sculptures), working within the fields of education, restorative justice and urban planning. He has a participatory approach to making art and has worked with numerous organizations and schools.

Volta is working directly with Reston community members on this project, which will beautify the underpass and promote its use. He has already done workshops with students at Dogwood Elementary School. In addition, he will give workshops at

Hunters Woods Fellowship House, Southgate Community Center and Hunters Woods Elementary School. He also will hold a community workshop, open to the public, in late June.

According to Volta, his practice “stands on the belief that art can be a catalyst for change, within individuals as well as the institutional structures that surround them.”

Volta–who as a young artist was a member of the groundbreaking art collective “Tim Rollins and K.O.S.” (Kids of Survival), in the south Bronx section of New York City–earned his certificate in sculpture from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2002 and his BFA from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005.

After finishing his academic studies, Volta began working with teachers and students in Philadelphia public schools to create participatory art “rooted in an exploratory and educational process.” Over the past decade, and through hundreds of projects, he has developed his collaborative process in partnership with public schools, art organizations and communities. The

National Academy of Sciences also has recognized his work, which integrates art with math, science and reading.

Ann Delaney, Public Art Reston’s executive director, said Volta unanimously selected by the artist selection committee and Public Art Reston’s Public Art Committee.

“The project is an opportunity for infrastructure beautification, engagement, education, and inspiration,” Delaney wrote in a statement. “It will promote the active use of an underpass that helps link residential areas, Hunters Woods Village Center, two schools, two senior facilities and two community centers.”

The event is free and open o all.

The project is supported by Atlantic Realty Companies, ARTSFAIRFAX, Reston Community Center, JBG Smith, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, Pat and Steve Macintyre, Lake Thoreau Entertainment Association and other individuals.

Photo by Ryan Collerd, Courtesy of the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage

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Have You Seen These Eight Public Art Pieces Around Reston?

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.

Berlin Wall Fragment

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.

Emerge 

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.

The Underpass

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.

Pylon

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.

September 11th Memorial

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.

Slit Figure

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.

Swing

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.

Untitled

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 

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