Cerebral, a public art piece created by South Lakes High School’s STEAM club on the Lake Thoreau spillway, is officially no more.
There are no plans to install the sculpture after high winds loosed its joints and its pieces fell into the lake and beyond last weekend, according to SLHS art teacher Marco Rando.
The sculpture is the first to fail because of the elements and the seventh installation overall placed by the club on the spillway.
Rando said that, although the sculpture is designed and engineered for extreme elements using hurricane ties, the winds damaged some of the joints.
“The tie down cables worked to keep the elements secured to the concrete base even when half sculpture fell into the lake,” Rando said. “Fortunately the wood members of the sculpture allowed the work to float, this helped in towing the work to shore where it was disassembled in smaller pieces for transport back to the school.”
Because of the significant damage to the sculpture, the team decided not to focus on reassembling.
But it won’t be long before another sculpture will take its place. Students are currently working on a new concept — “Rise” — that will face “more engineering scrutiny” to buttress the sculpture to weather more natural elements.
“The team is very confident this year’s concept will be aesthetically beautiful with added structural details to withstand the erratic weather conditions that seem to be common of the current climate change. The students of STEAM Team take great pride in serving the community,” Rando said.
He says setbacks like the structural failure of an artwork are a learning experience for all.
“Such setbacks will only strengthen the students experience, this real world problem, which occurs on professional levels as well, affords the Team opportunity to examine and resolve issues before they are unsettled,” Rando said.
Rise, the ninth art installation by South Lakes High School’s STEAM team, will bring a set of high-rises to Lake Thoreau’s spillway.
At a meeting before Reston Association’s Design Review Board on Tuesday (Jan. 17), students said the new concept is inspired by the growth of Reston’s population and emergence of high-rise construction — an ode to the community’s goals of “reaching new heights in progress, innovation and diversity.”
The project, which is currently in the planning phase, includes rectangular shapes with different colors, levels and sizes, representing the different layers of Reston’s community. Here’s from the STEAM team on the inspiration of the sculpture:
Our community is host to a colorful combination of nationalities, sexualities, and cultures, all of which complement one another and ensure prosperity. The variety of colors and rising levels showcased by our sculpture are meant to depict these groups which build upon one another, helping our community reach its aspirations and Rise above any barriers we may face. This sculpture, symbolic of our love for this city, illustrates Robert E. Simon’s actualization of a town “closer to hearts desire” of its residents
The model — which is the team’s tallest project to date — is made of tinted plastic, while the white sections will be covered with designs inspired by public art around Reston.
The team plans to make the frame out of smaller cubic units to separate the building. The blocks will be connected by bolts and brackets to cluster the buildings, and extra braces will support the structure.
Materials for the project include lumber, disband paneling, strata class, solar panels and cables.
The team raised roughly $6,000 to complete the project, largely through crafting at a local event, an exhibition at a local restaurant, and calendar sales.
Students plan to begin fabricating the model in February, with installation expected sometime in May or June, according to presentation materials.
Unlike previous years, the team hopes to complete installation before the end of the school year, SLHS student Sophia Pakhom said.
In response to a concern about possible light pollution, DRB chair Michael Wood noted that light spillage is going to be “pretty minimal.”
However, he encouraged the team to paint the wooden base white to avoid detracting from the rest of the design.
A public art piece inspired by the connectivity and energy of atoms has been erected in Reston Town Center’s Hyatt Park.
Called “Vidustria,” the installation is drawn from the word “vigor” and the Latin term “industria,” or energy. It’s the brainchild of students from South Lakes High School’s STEAM Public Art Program.
Local officials and sponsors gathered last Friday (Nov. 25) to celebrate the work’s installation.
“We started this project over three years ago…and then something called the pandemic intervened,”
Tysons Warren, Hyatt Regency’s general manager, also approved using the site to renew the project for future art projects. Hyatt allowed the project team to use the space and power — to light up the artwork — at night.
Robert Goudie, Reston Town Center Association’s executive director, said the project would not be possible with community partners. For example, power Service ran electric and secured conduit and writing for free and Commercial Concrete poured six concrete piers to secure the installation, along with bolting the beams to piers. Yellowstone Landscaping helped transport and install the sculpture at no cost.
“It has been an amazing community effort, supporting the dedication and commitment of dozens of students under Marco’s inspirational leadership over almost three years, interrupted by the pandemic, to make this happen,” Goudie said.
The structure is made from aluminum composite panels, acrylic panels, LED lights, screws, spray paint, vinyl print and wood. The sculpture features figures in motion on one side and a collection of human irises floating like celestial bodies on the other.
Here’s more from Reston Town Center Association describing the art work:
Atoms are minuscule particles, fundamental building blocks which combine to create all tangible objects in this universe. Alone, they are nothing. Together, they are everything. People, especially the students who made Vidustria, can be compared to these atoms due to their interconnectivity, a recurring theme within this sculpture. However, atoms have one deficiency: they do not compose energy, only maer. This is where the students of South Lakes High School have the upper hand. The unique, individual energy that each person has put into Vidustria is what elevates this artwork above the molecular foundations of the cosmos.
On one side of the sculpture is a series of figures in motion, while on the other side, a set of human irises, floating as if they’re celestial bodies. Both of these representations are meant to be universally recognizable. Interconnectivity is intertwined with one’s humanity, by simply inhabiting a body and perceiving this world (whether visually or not), people naturally gravitate toward one another based on these shared experiences. It should be easy to see yourself in Vidustria, to acknowledge the relationships you forge with other people and the energy that these relationships establish.
The school’s STEAM Club has created many art installations in Reston, including several projects on Lake Thoreau. It’s run by SLHS art teacher and local artist Marco Rando.
The sculpture will likely remain on the site until the spring of 2024.
The South Lakes High School PTSA’s annual “Do It Your Way 0.5K” fundraiser for its food pantry is back for a fifth year — and yes, there will be doughnuts this time.
Advertised as “the most rewarding 650 steps you’ll take this year,” the yearly walk has become one of Reston’s most popular fall events, drawing over 300 participants in 2021, according to the PTSA.
SLHS PTSA Food Pantry co-founder Roberta Gosling says the group hopes to get over 500 attendees this year.
After going virtual in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fundraiser returned in-person last year. The 2022 iteration allows walkers to participate either in person at Lake Anne Plaza from 2-4 p.m. on Oct. 16 or “online” by completing the 650 steps at any point during the weekend of Oct. 15-16.
Registration is now open, costing $10 for students, $25 for adults, $60 for families, and $25 per person for teams. A limited number of VIP entries are available for $100, which covers the cost of registration and offers “front row seats to all the action and additional goodies,” according to the webpage.
Race packets will be available at Lake Anne Brew House (11424 Washington Plaza West) from 10 a.m. to noon on Oct. 15 and on the day of the race, starting at noon. For the first 500 people who register, the packet will include a bib, finisher medal and other swag from the fundraiser’s sponsors.
The first 500 registrants will get a race packet filled with cool SWAG including a race bib, finisher medal, and other special goodies provided by event sponsors.
Other highlights include the race’s “famous” mid-point doughnut station, which will be back for the first time in three years. There will also be a live raffle for an $800 custom necklace with the food pantry’s logo donated by sponsor Aspen Jewelry Designs, the PTSA said in a press release.
All proceeds will go toward buying food, toiletries and other critical items for the South Lakes High School food pantry, which distributes those goods to more than 275 families in the South Lakes pyramid each week, according to the PTSA.
Launched in 2017 to address food insecurity among students, the food pantry initially focused on the high school before expanding to the full pyramid after a year. The PTSA says approximately 4,200 students in the pyramid qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, including about 830 high schoolers.
The pantry opens to South Lakes students every Thursday at the end of the school day. More than 140 students came to “shop” during the week of Sept. 23, Gosling said.
The PTSA also conducts curbside distributions to around 125 families in the pyramid, providing food, feminine hygiene products, and a “bonus item,” such as paper towels or laundry detergent. The pantry also mails grocery gift cards to families and delivers grocery bags to Langston Hughes Middle School.
Across Fairfax County and Virginia, thousands of students walked out today (Tuesday) in protest of proposed state policies that would limit schools’ ability to support transgender and other gender-nonconforming students.
Students from more than 90 schools, including nearly 30 in Fairfax County, took a stand against policies introduced earlier this month by Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin regulating everything from which bathroom a student can use to the definition of “the phrase ‘transgender student.'”
The walkout protests were organized by the Pride Liberation Project, a student-led organization that advocates for the LQBTQ+ community in schools. The group aims to persuade the governor to revoke the draft policies, which are now open for public comment through Oct. 26.
Tens of thousands of students walked out of Virginia's schools today to say Queer students belong in our school systems.
Our demand is simple: revoke the draft guidelines.
It's time we let everyone, including students, have a voice in our education – not just a vocal minority. pic.twitter.com/ZRNPmsdqvb
— Pride Liberation Project (@PrideLiberation) September 27, 2022
Since the policies were announced more than a week ago, local school districts, board members, and elected officials have questioned and overwhelmingly come out against policies that would severely curtail the rights of and support that school districts can give transgender students.
Fairfax County Public Schools said last week that it was “reviewing” the proposed policies and reiterated a commitment to supporting LGBTQ students.
Today, though, it was students’ turn to make their voices heard.
At West Potomac High School in Belle Haven, an estimated 1,000 students walked out at 10 a.m. in protest. They filed into bleachers on the football field, while speakers shared their experiences and why they personally would be affected by the new policies.
“As a trans [person], I have been discriminated against for my gender identity and was told it was wrong. That I was wrong,” said a West Potomac High School senior. “These policies are just a new case of this happening.”
“I can’t be a student if I don’t know what name my teacher is going to call me,” said another student.
Mara Surovell, one of the lead organizers for the West Potomac High School walkout, hopes it will encourage Youngkin to not implement the policies or, at the very least, allow school districts the authority to continue to implement their own guidance.
“Most of my friends are transgender and my sister is also transgender. So it affects all people I love. And I don’t want any of my friends to feel like school is an unsafe place,” Surovell told FFXnow. “I don’t want to see…their mental health plummet because of these policies, and I really just want them to feel safe and loved, and I don’t think that’ll happen if these policies get approved.”
Students involved in walkouts at South Lakes High School in Reston and Marshall High School in Idylwood shared similar thoughts.
Rishi Chandra, a South Lakes junior, said that he has personally seen how well trans and nonbinary students can do in school when they feel safe, but if the new policies get approved, they will “harm queer students.” Read More
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County Responds to Supreme Court Security Request — “Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley originally penned the letter, asking that state and local law enforce their respective picketing laws near the homes of Supreme Court justices…Fairfax County officials say they already received the letter and that their stance remained unchanged.” [WTOP]
FCPS Officially Has New Superintendent — “Michelle Reid, Ed.D. was sworn in as the superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools on Thursday, June 30, at Luther Jackson Middle School. Her term begins Friday, July 1. ‘It’s important for me to remember that learning happens best in community, and this is an amazing community,’ said Dr. Reid.” [FCPS]
Hiker Injured Falling Off Great Falls Ledge — “On Saturday, at 2:31 p.m., units were dispatched to 9200 Old Dominion Drive for an injured hiker. Hiker fell 40 feet down a steep rocky ledge. Crews fully immobilized and carried person out via stokes basket to Fairfax County Police Department helicopter. Transported with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.” [FCFRD/Facebook]
Fairfax History Commission Seeks More Resources — “Commission Chairman Cheryl Repetti, who delivered the group’s annual report to the Board of Supervisors June 28, asked supervisors to finance a full-time staff member and allot extra county staff hours to help fulfill the board’s requests of the commission.” [Sun Gazette]
South Lakes HS Stadium Closed — “Hey Seahawks…Our stadium is CLOSED while we make some improvements to it. The turf is being replaced & the bleachers are getting a minor upgrade. Should take a month. Thanks for your patience.” [South Lakes Athletics & Activities/Twitter]
Longtime McLean Postal Workers Retire — “[Scott] Arnold and his best friend in the Postal Service, Rob Receveur, both had served McLean for years, and this past week, both were celebrated as they hung up their mailbags…It’s hard to quantify Arnold’s legacy, but you can sense his effect by how the neighborhood’s residents have shifted their lives to remain close to him.” [The Washington Post]
Firefighter Adopts Rescued Kitten — “May 28, Tower 424 and Tech Austin Adams rescued kitten out of a tree. Kitten was very young. @FairfaxCountyPD Animal Protection took him to @fairfaxanimals. Tech Adams kept in touch. Thursday, he and his wife adopted kitten — now named Ash!” [FCFRD/Twitter]
Virginia Shares Data on Firearm Injuries — “The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) launched a new data dashboard on firearm injuries in Virginia showing the number and rate of emergency department (ED) visits from 2016 to 2022. The dashboard shows firearm injury data by year, health district, age group, sex, and race/ethnicity across Virginia.” [VDH]
It’s Tuesday — Rain in the evening. High of 84 and low of 71. Sunrise at 5:51 am and sunset at 8:39 pm. [Weather.gov]
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).
Invasive Spiders Could Reach D.C. Area — “An invasive species of spider the size of a child’s hand is expected to “colonize” the entire East Coast this spring by parachuting down from the sky, researchers at the University of Georgia announced last week.” [Axios]
Ramp Closure Coming to I-66 Near Vienna — “Travel lanes on Nutley Street will shift and the ramp from Nutley Street South to I-66 West will be closed as part of work planned for this weekend, March 11-14, for the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project. Drivers heading from Nutley Street South to I-66 West will proceed..past the current ramp to turn right at a traffic signal onto a temporary ramp to access the interstate. This detour will remain in place for approximately three weeks.” [VDOT]
TJ-Inspired Bill Passes General Assembly — Legislators passed a bill on governor’s school admissions that was inspired by opposition to the overhaul at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. The bill originally blocked measures aimed at addressing disparities like the ones used by the Fairfax County School Board but was amended to broadly prohibit racial discrimination. [Associated Press/WTOP]
McLean Murder Case Goes Before Jury — “The bloodshed inside the family home in McLean, where two women were fatally shot in 2017, was either motivated by money for a new house or love for an unpopular boyfriend, depending on whom jurors decide to believe.” [The Washington Post]
Uniqlo Plans Fairfax Store — “Japanese fashion retailer Uniqlo is planning a second Northern Virginia location to its growing portfolio of stores in Greater Washington. The retail chain is taking over space formerly occupied by home furnishings company Kirkland’s at 13041 Fair Lakes Shopping Center, according to Fairfax County permit data.” [Washington Business Journal]
Trail Repairs in Mantua Begin Monday — “Tibbs Paving will be making repairs and paving the stretch of the Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail from Route 50 to Thaiss Memorial Park (City of Fairfax) beginning March 14, 2022. The anticipated project duration will be about two weeks running from March 14 through 25, 2022.” [Fairfax County Park Authority]
Taco Rock Opens in Falls Church — “The new location, the largest of [chef Mike Codero’s] three Taco Rock locations at 2,800-square-feet, is in the new, Giant Food-anchored Birch & Broad shopping center…It has a 25-foot-long tequila bar, and a big heated outdoor patio with seating for 100.” [WTOP]
County Rec Centers Seek Swim Teachers — The Fairfax County Park Authority is hiring aquatics instructors to teach children and adults of various skill levels. Positions are available at all nine rec centers, and pay starts at $21.64 per hour, increasing based on experience and certifications. Applicants must be at least 16 and able to work some weekends. [FCPA]
South Lakes Students Start Company to Support Artists — “Sixteen teens from South Lakes High School have built a company called “JACP Company F: Iris,” or IRIS for short. The company is entirely student-run, operating at the school’s address…IRIS sells merchandise such as t-shirts and first-edition stickers printed with juried artwork submitted by local high school and college students.” [Reston Connection]
It’s Thursday — Today will be mostly cloudy, with a high near 53 and a low around 35. The sun rose at 6:26 and will set at 6:11 p.m. [Weather.gov]