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MPAartfest (courtesy McLean Project for the Arts)

Updated at 2:45 p.m. on 9/28/2022MPAartfest has been canceled due to potential inclement weather from Hurricane Ian, which made landfall in Florida today (Wednesday). Organizers are looking at options for an alternative fall event, the McLean Project for the Arts said.

Earlier: The McLean Project for the Arts (MPA) is kicking off fall with a celebration of the culinary, visual, and musical arts.

The McLean Project for the Arts will bring its annual MPAartfest back early next month. The 16th annual MPAartfest is scheduled for 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 2, in McLean Central Park (1468 Dolley Madison Blvd).

“This year’s event will feature a diverse group of more than 35 juried artists from across the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as a world of music curated by MPA Music Director Ken Avis, the beloved Children’s Art Walk, food vendors, children’s art activities, and more,” the MPA said in a release.

New highlights include a juried gallery displaying art from local elementary school students.

In terms of food, a wine and beer stand called Café Beret will return, along with a variety of local food trucks. The event will also feature live music throughout the day.

“A one-day juried fine art show and sale, MPAartfest transforms McLean Central Park into a lively landscape of mini art galleries showcasing and offering for sale the work of acclaimed artists from the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond,” the release said.

Admission to the MPAartfest is free and parking will be available at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Avenue).

“Each fall MPAartfest celebrates our community and the arts in the beautiful setting of McLean Central Park,” MPA Executive Director Lori Carbonneau said. “We are so appreciative of our lead community sponsor, the McLean Community Center, and of all the generous community sponsors who help to make this event possible. We invite all the community to join us for a relaxing and inspiring day of art in the park!”

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Artist Dominic Chambers’s exhibit opens on Sept. 10 (via Tephra)

(Updated at 11:40 a.m. on 8/30/2022) Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art in Reston will feature the first-ever solo exhibition of figurative painter Dominic Chambers next month.

The exhibit, “What Makes the Earth Shake,” takes its inspiration from literature — especially the genre of magical realism and the symbolism of the veil. The exhibit, which runs from Sept. 10 through Nov. 20, highlights the “surreal conditions pervading black life.”

“The veil, a product of racial injustice serving as a metaphorical lens through which black bodies are observed and experienced, appear throughout the artist’s work such akin the large swatch of color that obscure the figures,” event organizers said.

Chambers was born in 1993 in St. Louis and works in New Haven, Connecticut. His work features vibrant paintings that explore art historical models, color field theory, contemporary concerns about race, identity and the importance of leisure.

Here’s more from Tephra on Chambers’ background:

Chambers’ work can be found in a number of private and public collections, including the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami, Miami, NY; Green Family Foundation, Dallas, TX; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, CA; and Pérez Art Museum, Miami, FL. He is represented by Lehmann Maupin Gallery in New York, NY and Luce Gallery in Torino, Italy.

An opening reception and artist talk is planned on Sept. 10 from 6-8 p.m. The institute’s executive director and curator, Jaynelle Hazard, will also attend the artist talk and opening reception. RSVPs are also encouraged via email at rsvp@tephraica.org.

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Arlington artist Joseph Cortina will make an augmented reality exhibit for the McLean Project for the Arts’ 60th anniversary gala (courtesy MPA)

McLean Project for the Arts is going to Tysons for its diamond jubilee.

The nonprofit will celebrate six decades of supporting and showcasing the work of artists in the mid-Atlantic region with a 60th anniversary gala at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road) on Sept. 18.

Announced yesterday (Tuesday), the celebration will be highlighted by an augmented reality exhibit crafted especially for the occasion by Arlington painter and digital artist Joseph Cortina, whose work was previously displayed by MPA at its Emerson Gallery in December 2020.

“We are delighted to include this new work by McLean area artist Joseph Cortina as we celebrate sixty years of exhibitions at MPA,” Executive Director Lori Carbonneau said in a press release. “After exhibiting Joe’s work in our MPA galleries and seeing his company’s (Cortina Productions’) installations in museums in Chicago, Boston, and New Orleans, we are thrilled for it to be a highlight of our 60th anniversary year and a centerpiece of our…celebration.”

Titled “Illusion of Depth,” the installation will serve “as a reflection on the meanings of depth, from seeing into and beyond the obvious limits,” building on “fascination with the concept and dimensions of depth and its effects on visual experience,” according to the press release.

In addition to the art exhibit, the gala will feature a cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres and “light fare,” dancing, and live music by the band Round Midnight.

MPA is currently fundraising for the gala, reporting $239,000 raised toward its goal of $350,000, as of Aug. 18, according to the event page.

MPA has two galleries in the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Avenue), where it regularly puts on contemporary art exhibitions from both emerging and established creators from around the region. It also offers classes, summer camps and the annual MPAartfest at McLean Central Park.

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The Furia Flamenca Dance Company will serve as the artist-in-residence for The Alden’s 2022-2023 season (courtesy McLean Community Center)

A D.C.-based flamenco dance company will entertain McLean audiences for a full year as The Alden’s new artist-in-residence.

The McLean Community Center announced last week that its in-house theater will host public events and serve as an “incubator” for the Furia Flamenca Dance Company, which has performed in the center at 1234 Ingleside Avenue in the past.

“Alden audiences absolutely adore flamenco and pack the house at Furia Flamenca’s performances here,” MCC Performing Arts Director Sarah Schallern Treff said, noting that Furia founder and artistic director Estela Vélez de Paredez’s lectures on flamenco history and styles “have been especially popular.”

“I can’t wait to share even more of the company’s great work with the community,” she added in the news release.

Since it was founded in 2004, Furia Flamenca has performed throughout the D.C. area, including at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Theatre, National Theatre, and Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, according to its website.

The group will put on the first public show of its 2022-2023 residency at The Alden on Oct. 8 with “A Trip to Spain,” an interactive, family-friendly introduction to flamenco music and dance. Tickets for the show, which is being tied to Hispanic Heritage Month, will cost $10 for MCC tax district residents or $15 for non-residents.

Throughout its residency, Furia Flamenca will host open rehearsals, workshops and lectures for the public, concluding on June 3 with the show “Recordando La Alhambra” that it debuted in 2014.

“The production combines choreography with musical arrangements to highlight the common roots of flamenco, Middle Eastern and North African music and dance,” MCC says. “Furia Flamenca will be accompanied by live music.”

Expressing excitement about the upcoming residency, Vélez de Paredez noted in the news release that The Alden was home to the company’s first-ever theatrical production in 2009.

“We are therefore excited to come back to the venue where we made our first big visions a reality, this time as a resident company,” Vélez de Paredez said. “We look forward to continuing to educate our audiences on all aspects of flamenco and to returning to the Alden stage! We want to thank Sarah Schallern Treff for this amazing opportunity and for embracing us once again.”

Furia Flamenca will join an eclectic 2022-2023 season for The Alden that will kick off with rhythm and blues musician Lil’ Maceo on Sept. 11. MCC also shared today (Friday) that Sons of Mystro, a duo of reggae/pop violinists, will give a free concert at 5 p.m. on Sept. 17 in McLean Central Park.

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The Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art’s bi-annual exhibit will feature the work of Britt Sankofa and four other artists (via Tephra ICA)

Five regional contemporary artists will highlight Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art‘s bi-annual Mary B. Howard Invitational.

The group exhibition — slated to take place at the institute’s Reston Town Center gallery from Dec. 10 through Feb. 26 — features the work of regional artists selected through a months-long application process.

“In acknowledge of the many traumas that have been endured individually and collectively over the past two years, this exhibition will explore the concepts of rest and reprise as a starting point for the artistic process,” event organizers said.

Guest curator Dierdre Darden will work with the selected artists to develop their work.

Holly Bass — a visual artist, writer and director — will explore unspoken social codes surrounding gender, class and race. Adjoa Burrowes, a county resident, works with sculptures, prints and paintings to explore themes of personal and cultural identity.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, Deborah Grayson uses photographs from the early 20th century as source material. Katie O’Keefe, who lives in Baltimore and has been combating chronic lyme chronic disease, uses threads to explore her own dexterity.

Finally, the exhibit will feature the work of Britt Sankofa, a filmmaker and installation artist from the District who uses film and video to explore her African American heritage, according to Tephra.

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Morning Notes

People walk by Caffi Field, a football field in Vienna (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Driver in Fatal Franconia Crash Charged With Manslaughter — Sara Flores, 20, of Lorton was charged with involuntary vehicular manslaughter yesterday morning (Thursday) for a May 12 crash in Franconia where she allegedly drove into a telephone pole, killing a passenger. Police had already obtained a warrant charging Flores with driving under the influence. [FCPD]

Developer Pleads Guilty in Teen’s Death — “The owner of a Virginia construction company that specializes in luxury homes pleaded guilty Wednesday to involuntary manslaughter in the death of a 16-year-old boy who was killed while working for his company in 2019. Thomas Digges, of Digges Development Corporation, operated the Fairfax County job site where a trench gave way and buried Spencer Lunde, of McLean, on July 23, 2019.” [NBC4]

Two Displaced by Fair Oaks Townhouse Fire — A fire at a three-story townhouse in the 12000 block of Dorforth Drive on Wednesday (Aug. 10) was caused by improperly discarded smoking materials, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department says. The fire displaced two residents and resulted in approximately $175,000 in damages. [FCFRD]

One Rescued From Annandale House Fire — “8/11/22 at 1:08 a.m., in 3800 block of Gallows Road. One occupant trapped on 2nd floor was rescued by #FCFRD crews via ladder. Fire contained to basement. No injuries. NO smoke alarms found in home! Cause: improperly discarded smoking material. Damages $16K.” [FCFRD/Twitter]

County Names New Planning and Development Director — Fairfax County has appointed Tracy Strunk as director of its Department of Planning and Development, where she succeeds Barbara Byron, who retired earlier this year. Strunk’s career for the county goes back to 1998 and includes work as a planner and a member of the team that helped develop the Tysons Comprehensive Plan. [Fairfax County Government]

Fairfax County Public Schools Creates Program to Help Hire Teachers — “[Catherine] Coulter is entering her first year teaching in Virginia’s largest school system as a teaching resident, a newly-created position aimed at placing qualified teachers in classrooms while they take the final steps toward receiving a specific certification.” [WTOP]

Expansions and Renovations in Progress at FCPS — “Most students and teachers have taken the summer off, but Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) has been busy with its usual tall order of school renovations and additions. Improvements now are in progress at these schools in the Sun Gazette’s readership area” [Sun Gazette]

Falls Church Development Nears Movie Theater Lease — “Developers of the new Founder’s Row mixed use development…announced through a new filing with the City that it is ‘in the final stages of securing a lease with Paragon Theaters,’ noting that ‘Paragon will operate a seven-screen movie theater, including an IMAX-similar screen with a total capacity of approximately 600 seats.'” [Falls Church News-Press]

Fairfax Shopping Center Gets New Mural — “If you’ve been by the Giant at Scout on the Circle recently you might have noticed some color appearing on the walls! The Abstract Expressionist painting on the corner of the building is by Steven Johnson. Johnson is a Indiana biased artist, who recently made his art available in the public domain.” [City of Fairfax/Facebook]

It’s Friday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 81 and low of 68. Sunrise at 6:21 am and sunset at 8:09 pm. [Weather.gov]

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The organizations that make up the new collaborative, Northern Virginia Local Arts Agencies (courtesy ArtsFairfax)

Arts agencies from Fairfax County, Arlington and Alexandria are forming a supergroup.

Unveiled Monday (Aug. 8), the newly created Northern Virginia Local Arts Agencies (NVLAA) consists of ArtsFairfax, the Alexandria Office of the Arts, and the Arlington Cultural Affairs Office. Its initial ambitions are modest, centered mostly on professional development, but the pooled resources could be a boon for the local arts community.

“The more opportunities that are available and cross-promotion that we can provide, getting the word out and reaching artists and organizations that can use this type of support, it benefits everyone,” ArtsFairfax Senior Director of Grants & Services Lisa Mariam said, noting that many artists do work across the three jurisdictions.

The collective can trace its origins back to the pre-pandemic days of early 2020, when the Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts approached all three agencies to see if they were interested in collaborating on workshops for artists, Mariam told FFXnow.

Formed in 1983, WALA is a nonprofit of volunteering lawyers who provide education, advocacy, and legal services to artists and cultural organizations in the D.C. area, according to its website.

The groups started planning a series of workshops that Mariam says was always intended to be virtual, since it would serve participants from across the region. That decision proved fortuitous, though, after COVID-19 shut down in-person gatherings and events in the spring of 2020.

The desire to collaborate reemerged last year when ArtsFairfax invited its Arlington and Alexandria counterparts to an “Art of Mass Gatherings” symposium aimed at helping festivals prepare for emergencies. Though based in McLean, the event drew participants from all three localities over two days in October.

After that experience, staff at the different agencies started discussing other ways to collaborate, especially for professional development, as local arts groups were trying to find their footing during the pandemic.

“It’s been really great for us, because we each have limited resources for this type of programming,” Mariam said. “Sharing the costs as well as the logistical support involved in pulling off these programs and promoting them works really well with a collaborative like this.”

ArtsFairfax received nearly $1.4 million from Fairfax County for the current fiscal year, which started on July 1. That included a $250,000 increase over the previous year to bolster the agency’s grants program. The organization also gets funding from state, federal, nonprofit and private sources.

NVLAA will officially launch this fall with four online workshops: Read More

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A future Richmond Highway BRT station in need of “community charm” (via Fairfax County)

Fairfax County is seeking the public’s help with adding “charm” to the upcoming Richmond Highway Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) stations.

Announced Tuesday (Aug. 2), a public survey is now open, surveying residents on what locally inspired design elements and artwork — “community charm” — should be added to each of the nine new BRT stations set to come to Richmond Highway by 2030.

“The ‘Community Charm’ initiative is focused on integrating artwork into each BRT station to reflect the history, identity, and character of the neighborhoods surrounding each station area,” the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) said in its news release. “Students from local schools [are] to design artwork for the windscreen area based on themes developed with the community.”

The county notes that over the last several years, it has asked the community for input into the station’s “potential themes.” This survey, which closes on Aug. 14, provides a final chance for thoughts prior to those themes being chosen.

Questions in the survey focus on ranking the importance of including historical, cultural, and physical landmarks in each station’s artwork.

For example, for the Penn Daw station, the survey asks residents to rank how they would prioritize the corridor’s history of roadside and historic motels, diversity and multiculturism, and physical landmarks of Hunting Creek and the Potomac River.

At the Woodlawn station, it asks to rank in order of importance the Pope-Leighey House, Woodlawn Plantation, the history of enslaved people in the community, Dogue Creek, and the Quaker community.

After the survey closes, the county’s Department of Planning and Development and History Commission will develop “narratives” for each station using the publicly-chosen themes. Starting around late fall or early winter, students will work on the designs before presenting them to the community for more feedback next spring, according to FCDOT.

After all that, a Richmond Highway BRT Executive Commission is expected to vote on the final designs in late spring 2023.

With pop-up events scheduled for next Tuesday and Wednesday (Aug. 9-10) at Gum Springs Community Center and Old Mount Vernon High School, respectively, county staff will be available to talk in person about the community charm initiative as well as the overall BRT project over the next several weeks.

Named “The One” earlier this year, the Richmond Highway BRT will consist of nine stations built along an 8-mile stretch. The stations will be constructed in two sections. It’s not expected to be completed until 2030.

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Morning Notes

A flock of birds flies over Route 123 in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Real Estate Taxes Due Today — For Fairfax County property owners, it’s the final day to send in the first installment of your annual real estate taxes, which saw significant increases this year even with a 3-cent reduction in the county’s rate. Payments can be made to the Department of Tax Administration by phone, mail, drop box, mobile app and online. [DTA]

Springfield Man Convicted in 2020 Murder — A jury convicted Carlington Fitz Auther Campbell yesterday (Wednesday) for shooting and killing Anthony Sullivan outside a West Springfield apartment in November 2020, Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano announced. Campbell was found guilty of second-degree murder and a weapons charge, which carry possible prison sentences of five to 40 years and three years, respectively. [WUSA9]

Decision on Mosaic District Skating Rink Postponed — “Because of some public pushback, unresolved questions and a legal-advertising snafu, the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) on July 13 deferred until September its decision on whether to allow temporary ice- and roller-skating rinks in Merrifield’s Mosaic District.” [Sun Gazette]

Fairfax City Veterinarian Helps Ukraine Animal Shelters — “Dr. Courtney Katsur chokes up when she describes what she saw while volunteering for two weeks in Ukraine. The veterinarian with Town & Country Animal Hospital in Fairfax tried for months to find a way to get to the war zone to help animals she was seeing in the news.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Clinics Available for Required Student Vaccinations — “Before students return to school in late August, families can check to ensure their students are up to date on immunizations required at Fairfax County Public Schools. The Fairfax County Health Department is offering appointments at upcoming immunization clinics.” [Patch]

Inova to Rebrand Urgent Care Centers With Partnership — Inova Health System will soon let patients make appointments, check wait times and more through the on-demand health care platform GoHealth Urgent Care. Announced yesterday (Wednesday), the joint venture will convert seven existing Inova Urgent Care locations in Northern Virginia into Inova-GoHealth Urgent Care centers later this year, with additional locations planned. [Inova]

Penn Daw Firefighters Help Mow Lawn — “Recently, Station 11, Penn Daw, B-Shift responded to a routine EMS incident for an elderly gentleman experiencing distress while mowing his lawn on one of the hottest days of the year. The #FCFRD crew assisted the gentlemen, and then completed mowing his lawn prior to leaving.” [FCFRD/Twitter]

Park Authority Fall Registration Begins Next Week — “Fairfax County Park Authority registration for fall classes and programs opens Aug. 2, 2022. Fall classes will be in full swing with programs at Rec Centers, nature centers, historic sites, lakefront parks, golf courses and schools. Virtual classes are available for those who prefer or cannot attend in person.” [FCPA]

McLean Lidl Hosts Kids’ Drawing Contest — “Lidl is holding a drawing competition for children at its new McLean store as part of a benefit for the SHARE of McLean food bank. Starting Wednesday, children can participate in the drawing competition, with a chance to win a $100 Lidl gift card…Once the competition closes on Wednesday, Aug. 3, Lidl will narrow down the entries and ask McLean community members to vote for their favorite piece of art.” [Patch]

It’s Thursday — Humid and mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 86 and low of 75. Sunrise at 6:08 am and sunset at 8:25 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Tysons Corner Center is now home to one of three “LOVE” signs in Fairfax County (courtesy Tysons Corner Center)

Local artists could get their work seen by tens of millions of people under a new partnership between Tysons Corner Center and Fairfax County’s official arts agency.

Property owner and developer Macerich announced yesterday (Tuesday) that it has teamed up with ArtsFairfax on an initiative to enlist individual artists and groups “to activate several spaces” in the mall with temporary installations.

The selected artwork will be on display for at least eight weeks, according to the press release:

The goals for this initiative are to create unique and interactive art environments, echo Tysons Corner Center as a contemporary and creative destination, and most importantly, to showcase the talents of local artists and arts organizations.

This unique collaboration will enable the more than 22 million yearly visitors who explore Tysons Corner Center’s retail and entertainment offerings to discover the diversity, creativity, and quality of visual artists from the Fairfax region.

The submission period opened on July 7, and contracts will be awarded on a rolling basis through Dec. 31, according to ArtsFairfax.

Applications can be filed through ArtsFairfax’s website, but they’re being evaluated solely by Macerich.

Tysons Corner Center also announced yesterday that it has recently acquired a permanent installation: a 6-foot-tall, 7,000-pound “LOVE” sign.

The sign comes from the Virginia Tourism Corporation as part of its ongoing “LOVE works” campaign, which has placed more than 300 similar signs across the state. The Tysons Corner Center sign will be just the third in Fairfax County, joining displays at Reston Station and the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton.

“The steel display features a uniquely designed ‘V’ that represents the shopping center,” Tysons Corner Center said in the press release. “This installation also has a QR code in which, upon scanning, visitors will learn about tourism in Fairfax County and things to do in the surrounding area.”

The mall says the installation was funded with a grant from the VTC’s DRIVE Tourism 2.0 plan, which is the state’s blueprint for promoting travel and tourism, and “was made possible through a partnership with Visit Fairfax and Virginia Tourism.”

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