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Frequenters of Reston Town Center may notice new artwork in the area.

Local artist Bryan King began work yesterday (Monday) on two new murals at The Harrison at Reston Town Center. Titled “Salute to Reston,” the murals depict Reston’s skyline and the Mercury Fountain in RTC.

Shaneik Isaac, the apartment’s social director of events, says the artwork is intended to brighten up the more “drab” areas of the building.

“We wanted to remind The Harrison community that Reston is an amazing and beautiful place to live,” Isaac said.

The 360-unit building already has one mural on its loading dock door featuring a picture of leaves and the apartment’s logo.

King is the owner of Artifice Inc., a decorative painting company. Here’s more from King’s website on his background: 

King has been working as a decorative artisan in the Washington Metropolitan region since 1986. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie-Mellon University and received his M.F.A. in painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.  He is a past recipient of the Washington Building Congress Award for Craftsmanship and an instructor of mural painting for the Smithsonian Resident Associate Program. Bryan has executed many large scale building murals that dot the landscape of the region. He has also executed for the past 30 years numerous murals for private residences, corporate interiors, schools, and restaurants, and sophisticated finishes for many prestigious interiors including the House and Senate Theaters at the Main Exhibition Hall at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. 

The project was completed yesterday.

Located at 1800 Jonathan Way, The Harrison opened in 2015 and includes roughly 28,000 square feet of amenity space. It was developed by Renaissance Centro, the developer behind Stratford House and Carlton House, two other multifamily communities across Reston Parkway.

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The “Thoreau’s Ensemble” art installation at the Colts Neck Road underpass in Reston (via Public Art Reston)

A familiar site intended to liven up Reston’s Colts Neck Road underpass is slated for temporary removal.

The public art installation — called “Thoreau’s Ensemble” by Philadelphia-based artist Ben Volta — will be removed in the coming weeks so the Virginia Department of Transportation can conduct a structural inspection of the concrete underpass.

The inspection, which happens every four years, will require Reston Association staff to remove and store the panels in coordination with the timing of the inspection.

“Once the inspection is done, the panels will be replaced on the underpass,” RA wrote in a statement.

If maintenance work is required, the installation of the panels will be delayed until the work can be completed, according to RA.

The public art installation was unveiled in October 2019 and features the work of hundreds of drawings by community members. Volta 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.”

Community members and residents created drawings of paths based on the quote through a series of meet-ups. It was made possible through a partnership with Public Art Reston, Atlantic Realty Companies and RA.

The panels will be removed tomorrow (Tuesday), according to RA spokesperson Mike Leone.

VDOT told FFXnow it’s not clear when the panels will be installed again.

“This type of inspection is routine and typically takes a couple days to evaluate. Based on those findings, panels will likely be reset,” a spokesperson told FFXnow.

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A glimpse of artist Rodrigo Pradel’s new mural for the PARC at Tysons on Route 7 (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Get ready to paint the town — literally.

Celebrate Fairfax, the nonprofit best known for organizing the annual Celebrate Fairfax! Festival, will unveil a new public mural tomorrow (Saturday) for the PARC at Tysons.

Painted by Northern Virginia resident and artist Rodrigo Pradel, the colorful artwork can already be seen covering the squat building at 8508 Leesburg Pike that previously housed a Container Store.

“It is a stunning piece of work and its outward visibility from the Metro and surrounding area will be a fun draw to the venue,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said in a news release. “The PARC brings events focused on Tysons’ art and culture offerings as well as numerous events focused on local retail and small businesses.”

A collaboration between Celebrate Fairfax, Tysons Partnership, and the alternative art gallery ArtWhino, the mural will make its official debut with a free party from noon to 5 p.m.

In addition to live painting demonstrations by Pradel, the celebration will offer kids’ activities, music from DJ Cabezon, and a market with local artisans and craftspeople. The food truck Pakos Fresh Mex and Caboose Brewing Company will also be on hand to provide sustenance.

Noting that PARC stands for “People, Arts, Recreation and Community,” Celebrate Fairfax spokesperson Katie Rorer says the organization saw the mural as “a great way” to highlight the importance of the arts to the venue.

“The goal was to deliver something colorful and bold to activate the new space with something that captures the vibrancy of the surrounding community,” Rorer said. “Rodrigo’s abstract approach combined with his experience and apprenticeships on several major mural installations in Tysons made him an ideal fit for this project.”

Acquired by Fairfax County in 2019, the former Container Store served as a storage facility for personal protective equipment and a hypothermia shelter during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic before the PARC launched in September.

The events venue has become a key part of the county’s effort to give Tysons a stronger sense of place beyond the malls and office buildings that defined the area for decades.

“The mural at the PARC is just one more example of how Tysons is building our community to engage all residents, business, and visitors,” Tysons Partnership Deputy Executive Director Drew Sunderland said. “We are focused on driving sustained economic interest which will continue to fuel our future growth. We love the PARC design and look forward to celebrating with everyone involved.”

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Virtual learning may have kept kids physically apart earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, but at Dogwood Elementary School (12300 Glade Drive), it also provided an opportunity for students to come together through art.

Inspired by its motto of PEACE (Peace, Equity, Access, Connection, Excellence) for all, the Reston school of 600-plus students collaborated with Richmond-based artist Hamilton Glass on a colorful wall mural that was designed and pieced together over the course of a year.

The result now graces the building’s hallways and will soon expand to an exterior wall, making its social justice-oriented message visible to the outside world.

“The Dogwood ES mural project is a great addition to public art in our community,” Public Art Reston Board Chair Maggie Parker said in an emailed statement. “…It not only brings a positive message to the school, but is there for all to enjoy and find inspiration.”

The community mural project began in 2020, when Dogwood resource teacher Rachel Albert learned about the “All in Together” initiative that Glass and fellow artist Matt Lively launched to give people an artistic outlet amid the isolation of the pandemic.

All in Together provides coloring sheets that participants fill in before bringing them together to form a full artwork. While Glass’s original mural design was specific to Richmond, the project can be replicated anywhere, letting people “be creative together, making something while being far apart,” he explained to Public Art Reston in a recent interview.

When contacted by Albert, All in Together agreed to partner with Dogwood Elementary School on a custom mural that Glass worked with students to design.

“Students each received a small section of the design by snail mail at home and after it was colored in, it was pieced together into a cohesive image,” said Andy Sigle, a Fairfax County Public Schools family and community liaison for Dogwood Elementary.

The mural was completed last fall as in-person classes resumed and students could unite their individual squares.

Sigle says students “so connected with the project” that Dogwood commissioned Glass to do an outdoor version of the mural “so the entire Reston community could enjoy the artwork.” The design will be adapted to fit a wall on the western side of the school, right next to the kiss-and-ride lane.

Glass will visit Dogwood Elementary to paint the mural during the week of May 23, including at the school’s first-ever International Night on May 25.

For the outdoor mural, Dogwood reached out to Public Art Reston and Reston Community Center for their assistance. RCC provided funding for Glass’s commission fee and related expenses, while Public Art Reston helped organize talks with Glass at the school and the Cathy Hudgins Community Center at Southgate on Tuesday (May 3).

“We were delighted to work with Dogwood Elementary School, Public Art Reston and the Cathy Hudgins Community Center at Southgate to assure that the artwork that began with students and Mr. Glass would expand to a location visible for all to enjoy,” RCC Executive Director Leila Gordon said in a statement. “These are our favorite ingredients for successful community building: young people, artists, imagination and partners who embrace the opportunity to bring them all together.”

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Morning Notes

Cranes loom behind Wiehle-Reston East Metro station plaza (photo by Marjorie Copson)

Autopsies in Fairfax County Murders Still Pending — “Autopsies have been unable to determine how three victims of suspected ‘shopping cart killer’ Anthony Eugene Robinson died…Robinson is suspected of killing at least four people whose remains were found in Alexandria and Harrisonburg, Virginia, as well as the District.” [WTOP]

Spring Farm Day Canceled at Frying Pan — This year’s Spring Farm Day at Frying Pan Farm Park on Saturday (May 7) has been canceled due to rainy weather in the forecast. Anyone who registered in advance should receive an email with more information. [Fairfax County Park Authority/Twitter]

The Boro Restaurants Aim for July Openings — Despite a broker site plan that lists June 1 opening dates, the restaurants El Bebe, Circa, and Caliburger aren’t expected to be ready until mid-July, a spokesperson for the Tysons development recently told FFXnow. The Boro will, however, bring back its simultaneous chess tournament on May 21. [The Boro, Tysons Today]

Congress Members Urge Action on Ghaisar Case — “Seven members of Congress, including six from the D.C. area, are asking the Justice Department to revisit the case of Bijan Ghaisar, the Virginia motorist who was shot and killed by the U.S. Park Police in 2017.” [WTOP]

Herndon Police Find ATM Skimming Device — “Subjects will install a panel containing a pin-hole camera that records you entering your PIN number while another device reads your card number. Please be diligent when using ATM machines. Always use a hand to cover the pad when entering your PIN number; and if you notice a camera…please contact #HerndonPD immediately” [Herndon Police Department/Facebook]

Maximus Leaves Reston Station for Tysons — “The $4.5 billion federal contractor that specializes in the administration of government programs like Medicaid, Medicare, federal student loans and veterans services said Tuesday it formally made the move to Lerner Enterprises’ 1600 Tysons Blvd. The company said the new space is 90,000 square feet across five floors.” [Washington Business Journal]

Back Away From the Fawn, Police Say — “It is common for people to encounter white-tailed deer fawns motionless and without their mother, then mistakenly assume it is orphaned or abandoned. In almost all cases, fawns are only temporarily left by their mothers for protection and just need to be left alone.” [FCPD]

Great Falls ArtFest Returns This Weekend — “Great Falls Studios will hold its annual Spring ArtFest May 7 and 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at four locations in Great Falls. Venues will include The Grange and Old Schoolhouse at 9818 Georgetown Pike, plus three art studios in the Village Center.” [Sun Gazette]

Tennis Court Repairs Restart Next Month — Contractor ATC will resume resurfacing tennis and pickleball courts at Linway Terrace in McLean and Wakefield Park in Annandale in early June. Work at both sites began in the fall but was suspended due to unfavorable weather conditions. [FCPA]

It’s Thursday — Possible light rain overnight. High of 66 and low of 55. Sunrise at 6:07 am and sunset at 8:06 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Peraton owns a class of robots that have appeared in several movies (via Peraton)

Robots that have graced the screens of Hollywood will appear at the Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art’s annual arts festival in Reston this year from May 20-22.

The technology, which is owned by event sponsor Peraton, is called Remotec robot systems and has appeared in “The Hurt Locker,” “CSI” and “Seinfield.” The robot also provided the sound for the title robot in Pixar’s “WALL-E.”

“With more than 6,000 of our employees in the DC metro area, it’s important for Peraton to support initiatives like the Festival across the communities in which we live and work,” said Matt McQueen, Peraton’s Chief Communications and Engagement Officer. “Tephra ICA promotes innovation, creativity, and the impact art can have on the way we think, act, and grow. In a world where boundaries are blurring between traditional and non-traditional security concerns, it is important to support those who encourage us to think creatively, and the arts is a wonderful vehicle for spurring the imagination.”

Peraton Remotec is a mobile robot system used especially for hazardous duty operations. It was acquired by the company through the purchase of Northrop Grumman’s integrated mission support and IT solutions business.

The company plans to display its robot system and provide opportunities for festival-goers to interact with the technology.

Jaynelle Hazard, Tephra’s executive director and curator, said Peraton’s support as title sponsor has been “invaluable.”

“Peraton’s commitment to and championship of veteran and servicemember artists aligns with our mission and the important ways we are expanding our reach within the field and into the community,” she wrote in a statement.

This year, more than 200 artists will travel from 30 states and two international locations to exhibit their work at the festival. It was formerly known as the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival.

Performances are planned throughout the weekend. This year, the Trisha Brown Dance Company, a contemporary dance company dedicated to the work of founding artistic director and choreographer Trisha Brown, is also scheduled to perform. The performance is presented by Reston Community Center.

“Our excitement is growing in anticipation of this event where we will fill the streets with artwork and people, celebrating the resilience of artistic practice and creating opportunities for visitors to bring artwork home,” said Tephra’s new Associate Curator and Festival Director, Hannah Barco.

Photo via Peraton

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This year’s Lake Thoreau art project includes two floating heads, based on early mock-ups (via Reston Association)

Two heads with a complex web of activity spilling about them will float on the Lake Thoreau spillway in Reston sometime this year.

Students from South Lakes High School’s STEAM team have prepared designs for their yearly project under the supervision of SLHS art teacher and sponsor Marco Rando.

This year, two heads — representing the right and left sides of the brain — will be strung together using several reflective cords. The sculpture would be tied down with aircraft cable, as has typically been done with previous installations.

The 9-foot-tall sculpture aims to reflect the brain’s role as a “superintelligent force” that powers the body and displays the brain’s synergetic functions, challenging the idea of individuals simply being left-brained or right-brained.

“Our sculpture will be recognizing the beauty and the complexity of the human brain,” said Sophia Pick, a SLHS student.

Evening lights will be hidden inside platform boxes. The two contrasting faces of the sides of the brain will be connected with wooden beams and a web of neurons made out of paracord — a design that aims to reflect the interconnectivity of the brain.

The sculpture takes inspiration from the Moire effect, a method using dots or lines that creates illusions. The effect would be incorporated into the wire mesh of the sculpture.

Students from the club presented the project to Reston Association’s Design Review Board on April 19.

The board unanimously approved the application after seeking clarification on how the project would be anchored for stability.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing this out there,” said member James Lozoskie.

Rando noted that the club got off to a “slow start” due to the transition from virtual to in-person learning, but have made good progress so far. Students have been working on the project since the beginning of the school year.

He did not immediately indicate the cost of the project and the expected date of installation.

This year, several community sponsors — including Red’s Table, Public Art Reston, and Mary and David Prochnow — helped raised funds for the project.

Students hope to display detailed artwork on panels essentially made of an aluminum composite — a feature they said was possible because significant funds were raised for the project.

The team has been designing temporary public art sculptures for the spillway for several years, including “Pyramid of Light” (2014), “Nothing Twice” (2015) and “Simon” (2016).

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A student plays the cello before Fairfax County supervisors during a budget hearing (via Fairfax County)

In a push to convince Fairfax County to fund the arts, one high school student put on a show.

The performance on April 13 provided a musical interlude after hours of in-person, phone, and video remarks across three days of budget hearings before the Board of Supervisors.

Student Christopher Tate, who attends Washington-Liberty High School in Arlington, only shared his name and spoke about himself when asked by the board after his performance, which drew applause.

“I play in the jazz band there. It’s really fun. I also play bass, and sometimes they’ll let me play cello,” he told the board.

He performed the prelude of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1.

Tate will perform with five other young musicians with the Amadeus Orchestra this Sunday (April 24) at 4 p.m. at St. Luke Catholic Church in McLean (7001 Georgetown Pike).

The orchestra plays mainly in McLean and Great Falls. A. Scott Wood, the orchestra’s conductor, said in an email that funding from the county and the nonprofit ArtsFairfax have helped local arts and cultural organizations, especially during the challenging last two years.

Wood noted that Amadeus Concerts has frequently received funding from ArtsFairfax, notably the Operating Support Grant that involves a competitive process for receiving it. During the pandemic, Amadeus also received ArtsFairfax Emergency Relief and Recovery Grant and Fairfax County PIVOT funding.

“From my perspective, if the county were able to increase funding to ArtsFairfax grant programs so that every qualified organization could cover 15% of its expenses (and note that this still requires them to raise 85% percent from other sources!), it would represent a significant endorsement of the arts in general, which are so important for quality-of-life in the county,” he wrote in an email to FFXnow.

ArtsFairfax is funded by a combination of county and state money, federal grants, and private donations. For fiscal year 2021, which ran from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, about 70% of its revenue came from the county — 33% to cover operational costs and 37% to give grants to local arts nonprofits.

ArtsFairfax President and CEO Linda Sullivan asked the county to increase funding for arts grants, stating that despite facing significant challenges during the pandemic, the arts sector got just a fraction of the relief money awarded to the food, hospitality, and retail industries.

The advertised fiscal year 2023 budget currently being considered by the board allocates $1.1 million to ArtsFairfax, the same level of funding as the previous two years. Grant funding has remained at $550,000 since fiscal year 2020, according to Sullivan.

“The arts sector is being called upon to provide community engagement activities that not only benefit other sectors, such as retail and restaurants, but also offer the intangible social and emotional health benefits,” Sullivan said. “…We respectfully ask the county for a significant, one-time boost in nonprofit arts grants to support arts recovery and community activities, as other emergency relief sources will no longer be available.”

In addition to Tate’s performance, ArtsFairfax enlisted outgoing Fairfax County Poet Laureate Nicole Tong, the first person to hold that position, for a poem reading as part of its plea to the board.

Angela Woolsey contributed to this report.

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Morning Notes

Traffic and construction on I-66 outside the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro station (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Two Hospitalized in West Springfield Crash — “Yesterday at 4:09 PM, units responded to three-car crash on Old Keene Mill Rd at Hillside Rd. #FCFRD used “jaws of life” to free 2 persons from one car. Both transported to hospital w/serious, non-life threatening, injuries. 1 person from another car transported w/minor injuries.” [FCFRD/Twitter]

Virginia Hits 14-Year High in Crash Fatalities — “In 2021, 968 people died in crashes on Virginia roads. That’s up 14.3% from 2020, when there were 847 crash fatalities. And it’s the highest number of annual deaths since 2007, which saw 1,026 fatalities.” [WTOP]

Merrifield Cancer Screening Center to Open Next Month — “The Inova Saville Cancer Screening and Prevention Center will be the first of its kind in Northern Virginia. It’s designed to be a one-stop shop to not only detect the disease but prevent it. Anyone can make an appointment, and referrals are not needed.” [NBC4]

Reston Association Unveils Pool Schedule — “Summer is coming soon & so are the pools! We’re excited to announce the schedules for Seasons 1, 2, and 3, of our pool facilities! You can also find scheduled RSTA swim meets, and our Memorial Day hours at reston.org/aquatics!” [RA/Twitter]

Vienna Artist Reacts to War in Homeland — “The war in Ukraine hits hard for Vienna Arts Society member Viktoriya Maslova, who was born and grew up in that Eastern European nation…Speaking at the Vienna Art Center on April 13, Maslova described how Russian forces had invaded her homeland from three sides in what she said was an effort to displace Ukraine’s government.” [Sun Gazette]

Fire Department Encourages Fitness with Chantilly Center — “The Wellfit center offers strength training and physical therapy for Fairfax County’s finest and is part of an all-encompassing strategy FCFRD has undertaken that is unique in the country. Alongside these services, the department provides dietary guidance and behavioral counseling…to ensure firefighters are in the best shape possible to perform their arduous tasks.” [Fairfax Times]

Big Trucks to Motor into Herndon — “Families with children who love big trucks take notice. The Town of Herndon’s Department of Public Works will be putting the town’s large vehicles and heavy equipment on display during ‘Big Truck Days’ in May.” [Patch]

It’s Wednesday — Clear throughout the day. High of 60 and low of 37. Sunrise at 6:26 am and sunset at 7:52 pm. [Weather.gov]

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This year’s Founders Day celebration will give a nod to an artist whose sculptures still stand in Reston (courtesy David Emke)

Reston’s annual Founders Day will return on Saturday (April 9) to Lake Anne Plaza.

While the event celebrates Reston’s diversity and rich history, this year’s festivities give a special nod to Uruguayan artist Gonzalo Fonseca, who designed many of the sculptures at Lake Anne.

Fonseca was an internationally recognized artist, world traveler and polylingual, according to Reston Museum, which will house an exhibit paying tribute to the artist.

Fonseca, who died in 1997 and would have been 100 years old this year, viewed sculpture as a “microcosmic way to engage civilization and weave together past and future,” according to his website. With stone as his medium of choice, he designed a playground, underpass and monument in Reston.

Other activities include a sun boat design contest and art projects at Reston Art Gallery & Studios, Public Art Reston, the Japanese Culture Club, and Robert Bernhards at the studios.

The day kicks off at noon with a performance by award-winning duo 123 Andres.

The complete schedule is below:

Musical Performances & Remarks

  • 12 p.m. — 123 Andrés
  • 12:30 p.m. — Opening Remarks & Brick Dedication by Reston Museum Board Representative Chuck Veatch
  • 12:33 p.m. — Remarks by community representatives
  • 1:10 p.m. — Foley Irish Academy of Dance
  • 1:50 p.m. — Reston Chorale
  • 2:10 p.m. — Reston Community Orchestra Brass Ensemble
  • 2:50 p.m. — Lopez Studios
  • 3:30 p.m. — Reston Community Players

Schedule of events at Reston Community Center

  • 1-1:50 p.m. — Multilingual Birthday Party: enjoy cake and learn birthday phrases in other languages.
  • 2-3 p.m. — Community is what it is all about: an ode to Lake Anne book launch with the book creators Cheryl Terio-Simon and Eric MacDicken
  • 3-4 p.m. — Film Series about Reston and Reston’s Public Art:
  • “Fun, Beauty, Fantasy: Reston’s Public Art” by Rebekah Wingert-Jabi
  • Fonseca Film Project by Ryan Burke
  • “Moon Viewing Platform” by by Raphael Chambers (2nd Place winner of the “My Community” video contest celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of Reston)
  • “If You Lived Here: Reston” by PBS

The annual Founder’s Day celebration is presented by the Reston Historic Trust with support from Reston Community Center. It is co-sponsored by Reston Association and Public Art Reston.

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