Reston, VA

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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A new 50-foot steel sculpture will be delivered and placed in Reston Town Square Park today (Friday).

The long-anticipated artwork, “Buoyant Force” by Sue Wrbican, is composed of steel.

Here’s more about Wrbican and her work from the Greater Reston Arts Center:

Buoyant Force will be a 50-foot steel sculpture by Sue Wrbican inspired by the paintings of American Surrealist Kay Sage (b. 1898, Albany, New York; d. 1963, Woodbury, Connecticut). Sage, who lived in the shadow of her husband, the surrealist Yves Tanguy, is now recognized for her paintings of scaffolded structures and furled fabric in desolate landscapes. GRACE organized the first comprehensive exhibition of Wrbican’s work, entitled Well Past the Echo, in Fall 2017. The exhibition featured photography, maquettes of Sage-inspired structures, and a site-specific installation. It was featured in The Washington Post and East City Art. Based on the success of the exhibition, GRACE has commissioned Wrbican to realize one of her structures at full-size in Reston Town Square Park. 

GRACE’s executive director and curator Lily Siegel said the artwork will be secured to the base today.

Installation, which includes weather proofing, signagae and weather proofing, is expected to take two weeks to complete. The sculpture’s foundation will remain enclosed with a fence for safety reasons.

A formal community celebration is planned in the spring.  The square was previously home to a nest-like sculpture made from tree saplings in 2017.

GRACE turned to a crowdfunding to help finance the construction of the project. 

Photo via GRACE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRACE is accepting applications for Siegel’s position online.

Photo via GRACE

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

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

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

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

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

More information about the event is available online.

Photo via GRACE

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Thursday Morning Notes

Local Schools Recognized for Excellence in Web Content — “Fairfax County Public Schools has recognized ten school websites for excellence in web design and use of web-based tools in the 2019 Best of the Web Awards.  Winners were recognized at this year’s Web Curators conference.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

County Executive, FCPS Superintendent Discuss Budget, Collaboration — The county’s latest edition of “Connect with County Leaders,” a podcast, features County Executive Bryan Hill and Superintendent Scott Brabrand of Fairfax County Public Schools. [Fairfax County Government]

Reston Artist Unveils Newest Mural in Falls Church  Reston artist Dana Scheurer is known for her many commissions and installations, among them “The Midtown Community Mural” on New Dominion Parkway in Reston Town Center, Public Art Installation — Bicycle Racks at Walker Nature Center, and Lobby Installations — The Jordan in Arlington, AHC Inc. Baltimore office, The Serrano, Jackson’s Crossing and The Woodbury Apartments, according to the artist’s website.” [The Connection]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo via Greater Reston Arts Center

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The county is seeking proposals for a permanent, 3D public artwork at the Innovation Center Metro Station‘s garage.

The artwork must integrate with the larger public space in the project at 2435 Innovation Center Drive.

The Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services has budgeted $100,000 for the project, which should “evoke the spirit of 21st century urban living, creative inspiration and a sense of community.”

The artwork would be located in the pocket park on the southeast corner to the Metro garage.

Here’s more from the county about the project:

The Innovation Center development will be a new transit-oriented development just south of the Dulles Toll Road, adjacent to the Innovation Center Station, one of six Metrorail stations being built in the Silver Line’s second phase. The overall 14.6-acre site consists of the 5.5-acre footprint for a County-constructed Metro commuter garage, kiss-and-ride spaces, pocket park, and Metro plaza with the remaining 9.1-acres to be developed by a private developer. Fairfax County has partnered with the private developer to clear and grade the nearly 15-acre undeveloped site before installing stormwater infrastructure, building a road network, erecting streetlights, constructing public space, and landscaping. The infrastructure will serve the overall development including the Metro Station Garage.

The design of the Innovation Center Metro Garage and adjacent development envisions a site-specific artwork to evoke the spirit of 21st century urban living, creative inspiration, and a sense of community. The artwork may address local themes or landmarks of the surrounding area. The work should be visible from the street and the Metro Plaza, just north of the pocket park and kiss-and-ride. The artwork shall be accessible to the general public of all ages and ability levels, and shall not impact planned infrastructure, easements, trees, and critical root zones. The artwork may engage visitors by being tactile or interactive; may be an identifiable landmark or gathering spot on the site; may offer opportunities for environmental education; or may engage site features such as trees or topography to provoke a spatial experience.

Applications are due by Friday, Nov. 8. Three semi-finalists will be selected by a committee with representatives from the county.

More information about submission guidelines is available online.

File photo

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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 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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Monday Morning Notes

Vehicle Tax Payments Due Today — The deadline to pay annual bills for vehicles in Fairfax County is today (Monday). Residents can pay their bill online, by phone, by mail and with your smartphone. [Fairfax County Government]

Fairfax Connector Sees Uptick in Ridership — ‘Fairfax Connector bus ridership was up during the second quarter of 2019 compared to a year before, according to new data, spurring hope it has turned a corner from declining ridership totals. The bus system, operated by a private firm under contract to the Fairfax County government, recorded a ridership of about 2.2 million in the three-month period ending June 30, according to figures reported to the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.”  [Inside NOVA]

Unveiling of Colts Neck Underpass Project Set for Next Week — Philadelphia-based artist Ben Volta will unveil the Colts Neck Road underpass art project on Wednesday, Oct. 16. The artwork features drawings from hundreds of local residents. [Hunters Woods at Trails Edge]

Photo by Jay Westcott

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Colts Neck Underpass Art Installation Underway — Artist Ben Volta is working on installing public artwork on the Colts Neck underpass. More than 700 unique designs were contributed by the community to make the project possible. [Reston Today]

Accredited Status for All County Schools  All 194 schools in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) have received an accredited status level for 2019-20 based on performance in the 2018-19 school year. Two schools have been accredited with conditions for non-academic measures for dropout rate. One school has been accredited with conditions for performance in English.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

County Offers Help to Prevent Overdoses — Between January and March, there were 324 fatal overdoses in the state. Twenty two of the incidents took place in the county. The county offers several resources for residents, including the Fairfax Detoxification Center and appointments at the Merrifield Center. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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After more than a year of restoration and fundraising, the Reston Historic Trust & Museum has installed new historic icons to honor Lakeside Pharmacy, one of the first businesses to open at Lake Anne Plaza.

The pharmacy, which operated in the plaza for nearly 50 years, closed after owner and pharmacist Larry Cohn retired in 2014. The icons, which were previously used to advertise for the pharmacy, were removed last year to make way for new businesses.

The new icons were installed a few steps away from their original location, despite a cease and desist request from the owner of Kiln and Co., a pottery business that also serves up frozen yogurt and is located next to the exhibit.

Sarah Selvaraj, the owner, said the installation of the icons on the wall — which is showing signs of disrepair — could cause further damage to area businesses. The museum did not formally respond to a Sept. 12 letter from Selvaraj’s attorney and a declined to offer public comment on the issue.

Hirad Najafbagy offered a significant donation in honor of his parents, Hooshang and Farah Najafbagy, who operated Calvert Gourmet Shop at the plaza for many years after immigrating to the United States. The exhibit was installed earlier this week with the help of Krohn Design and Capitol Museum Services.

A ribbon-cutting to celebrate the museum’s 22nd anniversary and the dedication for the new exhibit was held yesterday (Wednesday). More than 80 donors helped make the new exhibit possible.

Photos by Charlotte Geary Photography

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The mystery of the headless horse has wound its way to Lake Anne Plaza where the head of a piece of public art mysteriously disappeared late last week.

The head of “The Wooden Horse,” which was constructed by Reston artist Marco Rando, no longer rests atop the commissioned art. The horse is inspired by the Lake Anne original of the same name, which was created by artist Gonzalo Fonseca in 1965.

While some have posited the situation amounts to a beheading, folks from businesses at the lakefront believe insects gradually hacked away at the horse’s neck, resulting in the unfortunate fall of its head. Thus far, no official cause has been confirmed.

After a brief stop at a local museum, the head has returned to the hands of its maker. Rando is working on finding ways to restore the horse to its former glory.

Photo via Restonian

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Since the first United States Census in 1790, the U.S. Census Bureau has recorded the mean center of the population as it moves west and south.

Baltimore-based artist Nate Larson’s explores these centroid towns in the next chapter of his project. The upcoming exhibit, “Centroid Towns: Like a Passing Shadow,” features the town of Waterford, Va., the centroid town of 1810. The exhibit will run from September 28 through January 4.

GRACE wrote the following about Larson:

Nate Larson works with photographic media, artist books, and digital video. His projects have been widely shown across the US and internationally as well as featured in numerous publications and media outlets, including WiredThe Guardian, NPR, HyperallergicNew York TimesThe Washington Post, and Art Papers. His artwork is included in the permanent collections of the High Museum Atlanta, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Orlando Museum of Art, Portland Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago. Larson is currently serving as Chair of the Photography Department at MICA / Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.

Larson’s previous work featured communities like Ellicott City, Md., Bloomington, In., and Mascoutah, Ill.

The exhibit is supported by Virginia McGehee Friend.

The opening reception is set for September 28 from 5-7 p.m. at Reston Community Center. Larson and GRACE’s executive director and curator Lily Siegel will discuss the exhibit. Creative responses are set for October 3 and 24 at 7 p.m.

Photo via Nate Larson/GRACE

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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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