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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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