Reston, VA

Dozens of local artists and arts-oriented organizations got welcome news last week when ArtsFairfax announced the recipients of $567,138 in emergency relief and recovery grants on Jan. 15.

A nonprofit that serves as Fairfax County’s designated local arts agency, ArtsFairfax created an Emergency Relief and Recovery Grants program in order to provide quick funding to an industry that has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program comes in lieu of the agency’s usual grant programs, which were suspended for fiscal year 2021.

“The impact of COVID-19 continues to have a devastating effect on the arts community, yet we have seen the arts continue to provide arts education, senior engagement, family entertainment and so much more,” ArtsFairfax president and CEO Linda S. Sullivan said.

Out of the $108,500 in funding requests that it received, ArtsFairfax has awarded $101,950 in emergency relief grants to 40 different Fairfax County arts organizations. It also raised private funds to support $28,300 in grants to 29 individual artists.

In addition, 39 arts organizations will receive operating support grants for FY 2021. These funds are awarded annually to nonprofit arts organizations in Fairfax County and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church to support basic operations.

ArtsFairfax is awarding $436,888 in operating support grants for this fiscal year after receiving $913,933 in requests from 39 different organizations.

“The arts will be a vital part of our health and economic recovery,” Sullivan said. “We need to support the arts today, so they are here for us tomorrow.”

With in-person performances and exhibitions largely suspended for the past year, the pandemic has taken a significant toll on the American arts and culture industry.

The nonprofit Americans for the Arts estimates that, as of Jan. 11, arts and cultural organizations have lost $14.8 billion nationally as a result of COVID-19. 63% of workers in the arts sector have become unemployed, and 95% have reported a loss of income.

According to a dashboard from Americans for the Arts, nonprofit arts organizations in Fairfax County have reported a median financial loss of $30,000 for a total impact of $4.3 million, though that is based on a small sample size of 55 respondents.

Local recipients include Arts Herndon, the Reston Chorale, and Reston Community Orchestra. A full list of ArtsFairfax grant recipients can be found on the nonprofit’s website.

Photo via Reston Community Orchestra

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Reston Community Center is moving forward with the 36th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration with a mix of online and in-person events with the theme “Are We Keeping the Promise?”

However, several pre-announced events are being canceled or rescheduled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

This includes the keynote address from Ibram X. Kendi, author of the book How to Be an Antiracist (which was very popular this summer at local bookstores). The event is being rescheduled for early 2022.

“We have planned meaningful events that will ask important questions and look toward the future as we as a community and nation reckon with this year’s revelations of the inequitable impact of the pandemic and the continuing systemic racism that is our national reality,” said RCC Board Chair Beverly Cosham in a press release. “At the same time, we are dealing with a rise in COVID-19 cases, so it is important to keep public health and safety in mind as we structure the opportunities for our community to tackle these critical issues.”

The celebration weekend is presented by the RCC along with a number of religious and civic organizations including the Martin Luther King Jr. Christian Church on North Shore Drive, Reston Community Orchestra and Reston Association.

The celebration commences this week with a toiletry drive to support local families with items being provided to the non-profit Cornerstones for distribution.

On Saturday, Jan. 16 and Monday, Jan. 18, there will be a small, socially distant community projects where volunteers can sort items from Herndon’s non-profit thrift shop The Closet, and make bag lunches for those at the Embry Rucker Community Shelter.

On Sunday, D.C.-native jazz vocalist Akua Allrich is paying tribute to musicians Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba with a performance at the CenterStage at Reston Community Center. Folks can attend, though capacity will be capped at 30% and masks are required.

For those who do not wish to attend events in person, the Reston Community Orchestra is debuting their performance of Lift Every Voice and Sing on RCC’s Youtube page  at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 16.

Also on the RCC’s YouTube page, there will be Akua Allrich presenting a performance specifically for Reston schools as well as a number of community leaders offering their reflections on Dr. King and his legacy.

Here’s the calendar of events, after the jump:

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Although the pandemic changed plans for Reston Community Center’s Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebration, a community-based virtual choir is in the works.

RCC is partnering with Reston Community Orchestra, South Lakes High School’s choral director Rita Gigliotti and SLHS alum Harrison de Wolfe for a special virtual event on Jan. 16. The participants will produce a virtual recording of Lift Every Voice and Sing, which is also known as the Black National Anthem.

This year, due to the pandemic, the concert has been canceled so we intend to join together in song with a virtual celebration of the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement,” wrote Kevin Danehar, RCC’s community events director, in a statement.

Members of the public can take part in the performance by following a step-by-step instructional video guide that will include major parts of the vocal track and how to record with a smart phone, tablet or laptop.

The deadline to register for the community virtual choir is tomorrow (Wednesday). All video recordings are due by Dec. 8. The complete video will be released on RCC’s website.

The center is seeking 50 performers. The registration form is available online.

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The Reston Community Orchestra is putting on a family-friendly holiday sing-along this Saturday (Dec. 14).

Nuttin’ Like A Nutcracker” will take place at 4 p.m. in Aldrin Elementary School (11375 Center Harbor Road) and feature the elementary school’s ukelele ensemble. Everyone is welcome, regardless of vocal ability.

Attendees are invited to bring kazoos and other musical instruments. While the event is free, people are asked to donate $20 for adults or $10 per child or senior citizen.

This event is part of the orchestra’s 2019 Holiday Concert series.

Photo via Reston Community Orchestra/Facebook

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Reston Community Orchestra kicks off its 32nd season this Saturday (Nov. 2) at 4 p.m. at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods.

The ensemble, which is composed of volunteers, aims to enhance the culture of the community by presenting diverse symphonic music.

Maestro Dingwall Fleary has served as the music director and conductor of the ensemble since 1995.

The orchestra offers free concerts in an effort to fulfill its pledge, “Great music for a great community.”

The show, which is free and open for all, kicks off at 4 p.m. Donations are appreciated.

Photo via Reston Community Orchestra

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Reston Community Orchestra is closing out its 2018-2019 season with a Boston Pops-style concert.

The finale, titled “Delicious & Delectable,” is set for Sunday (May 19) at 4 p.m. at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods.

The highlight of the show is the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 with soloist Thomas Pandolfi. Light snacks and beverages will be offered during the show.

The first 36 patrons to make an advance donation of $15 to the RCO can reserve a table with refreshments close to the orchestra. A $90 donation holds a table for six.

Reservations are due by May 13 and can be submitted online.

RCO is funded in part by the Arts Council of Fairfax County, the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Photo via RCC

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