Public Art Reston has a new executive director.

The nonprofit announced last week that Trinity Villanueva officially took over the role on April 26. She succeeds Anne Delaney, who served as executive director for 11 years before stepping down on July 31.

Villanueva says that she plans to focus on making art more accessible and inclusive. Citing Reston founder Robert E. Simon’s belief in art as a necessity, she says she is “thrilled” to know it is such an ingrained principle in Reston’s culture.

“Art is a connector. It fosters a strong climate and elevates voices on the spectrum of agency,” Villanueva said. “We will continue to cultivate accessibility and equitable art, already embedded in Simon’s guiding principles.”

Villanueva comes from the Carlos Rosario International Charter School in D.C., where she founded and led the arts integration and culture department for more than a decade.

She’s also the co-founder of Mixt Collective, which supports marginalized artists, and she’s a graduate of multiple institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania and Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.

Public Art Reston Board of Directors Chair Maggie Parker noted how Villanueva’s energy has already impacted Reston, complimenting her “zest for living and her unlimited view of what public art can do for a community.”

“She has already injected joy and enthusiasm into Reston and will be a wonderful collaborator and thought leader in the community,” Parker said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has kept the art world on the sidelines in recent months, shuttering venues and limiting many events to online spaces, but Villanueva feels it has also spotlighted the need for art to take on a more primary role.

“The constraints of these times have further shown that you do not need to go into a building to engage in art,” Villanueva said. “Your direct involvement is what makes art transformative, and this next chapter for Public Art Reston will set that tone.”

As Public Art Reston’s executive director, Villanueva will oversee the continued implementation of the Public Art Master Plan for Reston that the organization adopted in 2008.

“I look forward to gathering the Reston community to collectively define public art,” said Villanueva. “It is a wonderful time to recharge and regenerate what public art means, across disciplines, and positively impact Reston’s current and future growth.”

Photo via Public Art Reston

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A new sculpture installed on Lake Thoreau late last month was designed and built by South Lake High School students, a tradition that dates back to 2014.

Part and Parcel” was developed by about 20 students on the South Lakes High School STEAM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Team.

Made primarily from repurposed PVC piping from a previous Reston Station project, the sculpture’s design and name were envisioned as a metaphor for how each part of society is needed in order to create one that’s functioning and whole.

“I hope people are left with a sense of joy and hopefulness after seeing Part and Parcel,” Ann Ehrlich, a member of the STEAM team, wrote in an email to Reston Now. “We were able to present a lovely piece of art to the community during such a rough time and I hope they can see that even during difficult times, some beauty can arise.”

The sculpture sits on the Lake Thoreau spillway, turning a potential eyesore into a work of art.

Part and Parcel transforms and activates an otherwise drab concrete platform into something unexpected and visually delightful, both during the day and when lit up at night,” Public Art Reston Program Coordinator Phoebe Avery told Reston Now. “This is what public art is all about.”

Public Art Reston is a longtime sponsor of the project.

This is the seventh sculpture designed and built by the students in the program, which was co-founded by South Lakes art teacher and local artist Marco Rando. The previous one, installed in summer 2019, was called “Spectrum” and was composed of five wooden interlocking prisms.

Rando says that, beyond putting beautiful art in the world, the program also teaches students how to collaborate, take feedback, defend their ideas, and navigate processes that can sometimes be difficult.

“The students see firsthand…the steps of [having] to defend their idea, who they have to defend it to, preparing for a presentation, explain how they’re going to go about building this, and logistics of everything,” Rando said. “They’re getting that professional experience at this wonderful age of learning. It’s shaped a lot of students.”

Team member David Raw agrees that this project provided a glimpse into the professional lives of artists and engineers.

“By working on Part and Parcel, I was given the opportunity to work hand and hand with real art and engineering professionals.,” he wrote to Reston Now. “From contacting material suppliers to assisting helpers put up the final piece on the spillway, I was exposed to the real working environment of professional art.”

Of course, the students had their fair share of challenges this year. The design was first conceived in the fall of 2019, prior to the pandemic, but it had to be tweaked due to public health restrictions. In-person group meetings were sporadic and had to be socially distant. The budget was also significantly lower than in previous years, Rando says.

All of this posed potential problems that the students had to overcome.

“We came into a huge issue with the integrity of the design,” Gwyneth Wagner, one of the students, said. “We had to completely rethink the design of the sculpture and it set us back until our later install date…[but] I think it was for the best because we are all really happy and proud of the sculpture now.”

Wagner’s teammates agree that the extra attention and collaboration paid off.

“Personally, the most rewarding aspect of designing and building this sculpture was being able to collaborate with others,” Sofia Pakhomkina said. “It is always so amazing to watch as a group turns a simple idea into a physical, tangible thing.”

Rando is proud of his students.

“It was perseverance, like I’ve never seen it before,” he says.

“Part and Parcel” is expected to be on display at Lake Thoreau at least through the end of the year.

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Students at South Lakes High School will debut their seventh temporary public artwork for the Lake Thoreau spillway in early 2021.

The project, titled Part and Parcel, is made largely from repurposed materials in order to draw attention to ”companies and corporations that could have better systems of disposing unused products and materials,” according to a project description.

Students who are the SLHS STEAM team began creating public artwork for the spillway after a Lake Thoreau resident pitched the idea in 2012. Since then, Reston Association worked with Public Art Reston to launch a partnership.

Students who are part of the team and led by local artist and SLHS art teacher Marco Rando, design, develop and construct pieces of public art. Members then present the concepts to RA’s Design Review Board and Public Art Reston’s public art committee.

”By repurposing materials, we are challenging ourselves to create art out of things that would otherwise be deemed trash,” the students wrote.

Photo via Public Art Reston

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Thursday Morning Notes

Big Contract for Reston Company — “The General Services Administration (GSA) has awarded Reston-based government technology company Octo Consulting Group an $11.8 million contract to provide framework and architecture services for the GSA’s System for Award Management (SAM).” [Virginia Business Monthly]

Public Art Reston to Host Virtual Talk Today — DeWitt Godfrey will discuss his latest work at Valley & Park, a new townhouse development in Reston. His sculpture is titled ‘Simon,’ and is expected to be installed this month. [Public Art Reston]

Collects for Kids Campaign –The Foundation for Fairfax County Public Schools is collecting donations for school supplies. Donations can be made online. [FCPS Foundation]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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After 11 years as the executive director for Public Art Reston, Anne Delaney is ending her time at the organization. 

Her last day is today, July 31, Delaney wrote in an email to Reston Now. Delaney first joined Public Art Reston in 2010, according to her LinkedIn.

Delaney will be starting a new job with WMATA’s Art in Transit program. The program’s goal is to incorporate visual and performing arts to enhance the Metrorail experience for passengers, according to the program’s website.

“I have enjoyed my years helping build the organization and collaborating with community organizations and developers to realize new public art projects and related programs,” she wrote.

Photo via Public Art Reston/Facebook

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Summer Entertainment Series Returns — “Beginning July 30, the Fairfax County Park Authority will livestream 25 free summer concert events featuring a mix of nationally known performers and singer-songwriters. These virtual events provide a new way to enjoy great performances from the safety of your home.” [Fairfax County Government]

Private Wagon Rides at Frying Pan Farm Park — The park is offering 30-minute  private tours Monday through Friday mornings throughout August. The cost is $40 per family and advance reservations are required. [Fairfax County Government]

Public Art Reston to Host Virtual Artist Talk — “Join Public Art Reston for a live virtual artist talk with DeWitt Godfrey. The artist’s latest work ‘Simon’ is scheduled to be installed at Valley & Park here in Reston in August. During the artist talk, Godfrey will be interviewed by Public Art Reston Board Director and local artist Marco Rando. They will discuss the new sculpture, the artist’s creative process, and inspiration.” [Viva Reston]

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Public Art Reston released an updated self-guided art tour through Lake Anne Village Center. 

The “Public Art Tour Series – Lake Anne” goes hand in hand with the “Public Art Tour Series – Reston Town Center” as a way for people to view Reston’s art and history. 

With the new Lake Anne Village Center self-guided tour, people are invited to explore Reston’s history and unique artworks. According to a statement released by the organization, Lake Anne Village Center is the “historic heart of Reston,” and public art has been fully integrated into its design. 

The guided tour takes participants through Lake Anne’s open plazas and along several paths that show off 11 different works art within communal spaces. The tour will also discuss four different temporary projects and programs that took place there, according to the statement. The tour also includes how the public art ties into the architecture of the area.

Public Art Reston encourages visitors to embark on the “Public Art Tour Series- Reston Town Center” tour once they finish Lake Anne. The tour takes participants through the 14 different public art works throughout Reston Town Center. It emphasizes the “urban environment within a suburban setting”, according to the statement. 

Public Art Reston is a non-profit organization with a mission to inspire commitment to public art and the new generation of artwork. They are committed to raising awareness to the role of public art in a community, according to the statement. 

Both guides are sold at the Reston Historic Trust & Museum and at Reston Association, and can be viewed on the Public Art Reston website.

Photo courtesy of Public Art Reston

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Volunteer Fairfax Announces 2020 AwardsVolunteer Fairfax is proud to share the Virtual 2020 Annual Volunteer Service Awards, where the 13 competitive award winners, and the Community Champions, are recognized and celebrated. Each honoree will have a uniquely crafted celebration board, called a Kudoboard. Volunteer Fairfax encourages everyone to visit these celebration boards and join them in recognizing these amazing volunteers by posting a congratulatory message, image, or video.” [Volunteer Fairfax]

Public Art Reston Launches New Online Platform — “Designed for the whole family to enjoy together, Public Art Reston’s Public Art Explorer pages are packed full of absorbing activities to do at home or while “exploring” the public artworks realized by Valerie Theberge, Mary Ann Mears, and Gonzalo Fonseca and found at various locations throughout Reston. Each activity packet introduces a key theme inspired by the artists and their artworks. Kids of all ages and their adults will learn fun facts, explore public art from different angles, and create through writing, drawing, and making the suggested art projects.” [Public Art Reston]

Boston Media Company Buys Reston Firm — “Reston-based marketing automation company Triblio has been acquired by Boston-based tech marketing and media company IDG Communications, the companies announced Tuesday. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.[Virginia Business]

Nearby: Search Underway for Missing 12-year-old — Local police are searching for Adi Pillau, a missing juvenile who was last seen in the 5300 block of Danas Crossing Drive. He is 5’4”, 120 pounds, and has brown eyes and black hair. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Reston Regional Library to Host Virtual Trivia Happy Hour — The library is organizing an online happy hour tomorrow (Thursday) from 5:30-6:30 p.m. The event takes place online and registration is required. [Reston Regional Library]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Artwork at the Colts Neck Road underpass is under consideration for an international award.

A jury selected Thoreau’s Ensemble by Philadelphia-based artist Ben Volta for the 2020 CODA Awards, an international juried arts competition. Volta’s work is inspired by Reston’s 55 miles of pathways.

The artwork was one of 445 projects from 30 countries submitted for consideration for the Top 100 list.

The awards recognize projects that integrate commissioned art into an interior, architectural or public space.

Members of the public can vote to select the people’s choice award. Only one vote is allowed per project and the deadline is Tuesday, June 30.

Winners from ten categories selected by jurors and two people’s choice winners will be announced on August 31. Voting is open online.

Photo via Public Art Reston

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Herndon Residents to Organize Peaceful Driving Protest — Local residents are organizing a driving protest on a designated route through parts of Herndon tomorrow (Thursday). Herndon Police Department offers will be on hand during the event. [Facebook]

Phase Two in Northern Virginia Delayed — “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced on Tuesday that most of the commonwealth will move into the second phase of the state’s reopening plan due to the impact of COVID-19 on Friday. Similar to the first phase, however, Richmond and northern Virginia, including Loudoun County, are being delayed.” [Loudoun-Times Mirror]

Local Artist Creates Chalk Art in Reston Town Center — Artist Ben Morse created chalk art of the state’s bird and flower in Reston Town Center at the request of the Reston Town Center Association. [The Connection]

More COVID-19 Testing Options Available — More than 20 sites across the Fairfax Health District are offering testing for uninsured and insured residents. Local health officials urge anyone with symptoms or with close contact with someone who is sick to be tested. [Fairfax County Government]

Reston Association Publishes Activity Guide — This month’s guide features a mask-wearing man running with his dog. The cover story discusses ways to stay safe while enjoying Reston’s trails. [Reston Association]

Photo by robinreston

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Passers-by might notice a new mosaic art installation outside the Lincoln at Wiehle Station.

After facing delays due to COVID-19, artist Valerie Theberge expects the piece of vibrantly colored glass tiles to be completed by the end of today (May 13).

The project was commissioned in coordination with the Lincoln’s developers and ultimately approved by Public Art Reston. It consists of two pieces — a bench and a 75-foot long wall, according to Theberge.

When designing the geometric art, Theberge said she wanted it to “harmonize” with the surrounding area.

“There are highlights of red on the building so we added red highlights to play with the building,” she said, adding that the geometric shapes also “talk with the architecture.”

For the community, Theberge hopes that people will enjoy the art as they pass by the building on an afternoon stroll or on their commute into work. “I wanted something you could look at over and over,” Theberge said.

Especially since people can’t visit museums during the pandemic, Theberge said that public works of art are more important than ever for people’s mental health and overall enjoyment.

Photo courtesy Valerie Theberge

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Stay-at-Home Chalk Art Challenge Underway — Public Art Reston is encouraging residents to make chalk drawings on safe, paved spaces. This week’s theme is fantasy. [Public Art Reston]

Local Company Tops ‘Fantastic 50’ List — The Herndon-based B3 Group was named the fastest-growing company in the Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s 2020 “Fantastic 50” list. The company saw revenue growth of 3,231 percent from 2015 through 2018. [Virginia Chamber]

Leidos Acquires L3Harris Businesses — Reston-based defense contractor Leidos Holdings Inc. announced Tuesday it has officially completed the acquisition of Massachusetts- and England-based L3Harris’ Security Detection and Automation businesses for approximately $1 billion in cash. [Virginia Business Monthly]

Urgent Need for Election Volunteers — The Virginia Department of Elections is currently looking for election volunteers for the June 23 primaries. The election form is available online. [Fairfax County Government]

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In a collaboration between the Reston Town Center Association and South Lakes High School, students will envision and create a sculpture for display in Reston Town Center.

SLHS art teacher Marco Rando — who has also led a number of art projects in the area — will work with art students on the project. The project will be delivered this spring during the town center’s 30th anniversary year, according to a press release.

“This is a unique opportunity for us to bring project-based learning into the classroom in a very powerful way, and we hope its success this first year will lay the groundwork for a long-term continuation of this wonderful partnership between SLHS and Reston Town Center,” said SLHS Principal Kimberly Retzer.

RTCA and project sponsors reviewed students’ proposals for the project and selected a “lenticular” sculpture that could present four different murals, according to RTCA. The association, Boston Properties, and professionals in design and art, will review two maquettes created by students.

Rando said the approval project will allow students to get a glimpse of the approval process for artwork.

This is part of the challenge and learning experience for our students, to interact with and respond to the multiple professional interests that would typically be required to get a project like this approved at a dynamic place like Reston Town Center,” Rando stated

In addition to the support of RTC, Boston Properties is providing the school’s funding for the project while the Hyatt Regency at Reston Town Center is offering the location at Hyatt Park and power at no cost. Power Services, Inc. will complete all electrical and lighting work at no charge while KCS Landscape Management will transport the sculpture to the site for free.

RTCA’s executive director, Robert Goudie, said the project is the product of partnerships created by Public Ar Reston, Reston Association, and the school.

Thanks to our incredible partners – Boston Properties, Hyatt, Power Services, and KCS, who are covering the school budget and more – we can bring that model into the classroom and deliver a community project that furthers an important part of RTCA’s mission:  enriching our downtown through the arts.”

Photo by vantagehill/Flickr

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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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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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