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
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
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
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
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 Wired, The Guardian, NPR, Hyperallergic, New York Times, The 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
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
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
(Updated) Reston will welcome a new public art piece when the Reston Community Center debuts its newly renovated Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center in the fall.
RCC chose mosaic artist Valerie Theberge to create mosaic artwork for two large wall panels adjacent to the pool overlook area.
RCC’s Executive Director Leila Gordon told Reston Now that having Theberge on board from the start of the renovation, which will update the 40-year-old aquatics center with two pools, allows for the engineers, designers and the artist to plan how the wall with the art will look and get used, with conversations ranging from color palettes to electrical engineering decisions.
Theberge has been working with the project team, which includes RCC’s Deputy Director John Blevins and Martha Sansaver, Karen Davis and Geoff Kimmel from the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services and the contracting firm Branch Builds — previously named Branch & Associates.
Currently, Theberge is in the preliminary design stages for the art, which will occupy two main panels that are about 50 square feet each.
“I keep getting snapshots of what’s going to come and it keeps percolating, because we have been talking about this for a year,” she told Reston Now. “It will be strong and vocal.”
Unlike her previous mosaic art at the Glade Drive Underpass and the Dogwood Pool, Theberge says this piece is influenced by its different location, one that she describes as indoors, focused on people instead of nature and “white, clean, quiet.”
“The other ones are very earth-centered and this is very water-centered,” Theberge said, adding that she plans to add “sparklers” so that viewers will feel movement in the art.
In a group interview with Reston Now, Theberge and Gordon shared different elements that stand out to them about the aquatics center, including the contrast between the water’s buoyancy and the hard surfaces on the ground, the windowless cave-esque location, the polarity between the exterior and interior worlds and the action of people stripping off layers of clothing before they get into the water. While some of those evocative ideas might sound harsh or vulnerable, Gordon emphasized that “it is hard to be hostile in the presence of art.”
Once Theberge has a design, she said she will build the two pieces in her studio before they get bolted onto the wall.
Once installed, community engagement activities and art workshops will allow Restonians to respond to the art. “It’s not one monolithic swimming community. There are families. There are older adults. There are swim teams, and every one of those groups of people have different desires,” Gordon said.
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
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
The Reston Historic Trust & Museum has raised $965 in three weeks with its fundraising campaign to reinstall the iconic, quirky pharmacy icons from the Lakeside Pharmacy.
The GoFundMe campaign launched on Nov. 8, Alexandra Campbell, the executive director of the Reston Historic Trust & Museum, told Reston Now.
The fundraising target of $15,000 will pay for repairs, cleaning and reinstallation of the icons in a new permanent exhibit in the plaza. The new exhibit will be unveiled during the organization’s annual Founder’s day event on April 6.
“We’ve still got a long way to go,” Campbell said. “We have some time to get to the $15,000.”
Most of the 22 donations have been small, individual donations — seven people have given $25, while others have donated amounts between $10 to $100.
The icons served as advertisements for the Lakeside Pharmacy, a legacy Lake Anne Plaza store. Designed by Chermayeff and Geismar, a New York-based graphic design firm, the icons were inspired by 1960s pop art and Reston’s founder Bob Simon’s wish for whimsical art at Lake Anne Plaza.
The Lake Anne of Reston Condominium Association donated the icons to the Reston Historic Trust & Museum after they were removed in July to make way for new businesses in the pharmacy’s former location.
“We’re really glad to help preserve and keep them here,” Campbell said about the icons.