Tysons, VA

Painted wooden benches raised thousands of dollars for the Vienna Arts Society during a recent auction.

The benches were auctioned off on Saturday (Nov. 2).

“Vienna Arts Society Auction brought in a capacity crowd,” Lu Cousins, the director of the art group, posted on Facebook. “My sincerest thanks goes out to the community for your support and of course to the artists, their families and the team that worked so hard to make this happen.”

Cousins told Tysons Reporter that the auction raised “well over $50,000.”

The funds will go toward the Vienna Arts Society’s Art Center and outreach activities.

Before the auction, the colorful benches adorned local businesses to mark the Vienna Arts Society’s 50th anniversary. Local businesses sponsored the cost of the Amish-built benches.

During the summer, two of the 42 benches were stolen, leading to extra security measures from the arts group and Vienna Police Department. One of the artists was able to paint another bench, letting Vienna Arts Society auction off 41 benches.

Cousins highlighted one bench in particular — Doré Skidmore’s bench, which features books, will honor Abby — “a beloved pup who enjoyed listening to children reading to her,” Cousins said.

“The public interest story goes out to Lamar Collier who — together with The Friends of Patrick Henry Library — had the winning bid for the bench to be placed at the library in honor of her precious dog Abby and the Read to a Dog, Woof and Paws program,” Cousins told Tysons Reporter.

At the Vienna Town Council meeting on Monday, Mayor Laurie DiRocco lauded the Vienna Arts Society, artists and local businesses that helped with the bench art.

“It was fantastic to see the benches all around town for the six months they were there,” DiRocco said, adding that several benches will stay on display in the town.

The mayor added that she also got a bench with her husband. “We’re going to put it by the Freeman Store,” she said.

Photo courtesy Lu Cousins

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Actress Jane Seymour is coming to Tysons to showcase her art.

Seymour will make appearances at Wentworth Gallery’s two locations — Tysons Galleria and the Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda — this weekend.

Known for her roles in “Austenland” and the James Bond film “Live and Let Die,” Seymour has been creating oil and watercolor paintings and sculptures for more than two decades.

Her paintings vary from pastel beach scenes to vibrant flowers, along with many self-portraits and art depicting hearts and angels.

More from the art gallery about the actress and painter:

British born, Jane Seymour most famous for her long-lasting and successful acting career, has evolved into a present-day Renaissance woman. In additon to writing, producing, fashion designing and charity work, Seymour has become an accomplished artist…

Seymour finds sanctuary and peace in her art studio. A lover of culture and nature, she has created exceptional oil paintings, watercolors and limited editions.

Her talent as a watercolorist, in fact, led to the production of a series of greeting cards sold to support her charities. One of her images was featured on a special Discover card, raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, following the work’s charity auction at the Guggenheim Museum.

“The Art of Jane Seymour” art show will include a meet and greet from 6-9 p.m. at Tysons Galleria on Saturday (Oct. 12). She will be in Bethesda on Sunday (Oct. 13).

Photo via Jane Seymour Art Show/Facebook

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve scoured the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Monday (Sept. 30)

  • Mr. Brown’s Park Dedication — 6-7 p.m. at former Downtown Park (100 block of W. Broad Street) —  This event celebrates the transition from Downtown Park to Mr. Brown’s Park, which will now be named after the oldest business in the City of Falls Church. Local officials will be on-site commemorating the renaming.

Thursday (Oct. 3)

  • Tysons Reporter Happy Hour — 5-7 p.m. at the Tysons Biergarten (8346 Leesburg Pike) — Celebrate Tysons Reporter’s first anniversary. Community members will have the chance to grab a drink or a slice of cake with the journalists behind the site. The first 50 attendees will receive a free drink. Rumor has it that there will also be free swag.

Friday (Oct. 4)

  • Vienna Oktoberfest — 11 a.m.-7 p.m. at Historic Church Street (131 Church Street NE—  This 12th annual event offers visitors a variety of vendors, live music acts, food, kids activities and alcoholic beverages. It is free.
  • WellieWishers™ Friendship Tea Party — 2-4 p.m. at American Girl Store (8090 Tysons Corner) — Kids 5 and up are welcome to gather for an afternoon of dining, crafts and a cupcake-decorating. Tickets are $13.50 per person.
  • Block Party — 3-7 p.m. at Capital One Center (1640 Capital One Drive) Capital One is hosting a block party with City Works Eatery and Pour House to celebrate the new mixed-use development space. There will be live music, games, food and drinks available. Admission is free and includes a free drink. There will be over 90 beers on tap.

Saturday (Oct. 5)

  • Ribbon Cutting for Synthetic Turf Field — 10 a.m. at Larry Graves Park (300 Hillwood Avenue— This event celebrates the grand opening of a field in Larry Graves Park that includes striping for several different sports. All are welcome to attend this free event.
  • Moon Festival – Tet Trung Thu — noon-5 p.m. at Eden Center (6761 Wilson Blvd) This Vietnamese festival invites the community to gather for an afternoon of colorful lantern displays, music, cultural performances and food. It is free and all ages are welcome to attend.

Sunday (Oct. 6)

  • MPAartfest –10 a.m.-5 p.m. at McLean Central Park (1468 Dolley Madison Blvd) — This free event invites community members to check out pop-up art galleries, hands-on exhibits, food vendors and live music.
  • Tysons Singles Seated Speed Dating — 7-9 p.m. at Tysons Biergarten (8346 Leesburg Pike)  Singles in the area are invited for an evening of mingling at the Tysons Biergarten. Event organizers request that attendees arrive before 7 p.m. for check-in. Tickets start at $15.

Image via Facebook/Eden Center

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Passers-by may notice some new street art around Vienna.

Four local teens from Madison High School teamed up to paint three storm drains around the town last weekend. The works feature nature scenes and can be found outside the Freeman Store (131 Church Street NE).

Midge Biles, the chair for the Vienna Public Art Commission, said that the group often tries to partner with schools to sponsor art installations. For this project, the commission asked their student representative from Madison High School to recruit volunteers.

“The drains turned out beautifully and are all very different,” Biles said. “We are hoping to bring the message of environment and how it is all connected — what goes in the drain ends up in our oceans and has far-reaching effects on our water quality, sea life and beyond.”

The art should last for about six months, according to a tweet from the town.

The project required 10 gallons of paint which were donated by Vienna Paint (123 Lawers Road), Biles said.

In the future, she said that the group hopes to commission more paintings around town.

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Locals can learn about Turkish coffee at the Tysons Corner Center tomorrow (Sept. 26).

The Turkish Coffee Lady will host a pop-up truck event from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Plaza (1961 Chain Bridge Road) to share Turkish culture, educate the public on travel opportunities to Turkey and allow visitors to sample Turkish delicacies like specialized coffee, a press release said.

At the event, guests can not only taste-test samples but also watch a micro-art demonstration from Hasan Kale and also participate in a workshop led by a gastronomy author.

The truck is stopping by Tysons on part of a month-long non-profit tour around New York, New Jersey, Maryland and D.C.

Gizem Salcigil White is the owner of Turkish Coffee Lady and the director of the cultural initiative.

“Turkish coffee is the world’s first coffee brewing method invented by Turks in the 16th century, and it is recognized by UNESCO’s World Heritage List as a cultural inheritance that was passed on from generation to generation,” White said in the press release.

The project is sponsored by several companies and partners including the American Turkish Association of DC and the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

“The coffee truck will also participate in the 17th Annual Washington DC Turkish Festival organized by American Turkish Association of DC this Sunday and conclude the tour at ‘Study Abroad & Global Citizenship Influencer Summit’ in early October hosted by Hostelling International USA,” the press release said.

Photos via Turkish Coffee Lady

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A community space for textile and fabric arts is now open in the City of Falls Church.

TINT opened last weekend at 417 W. Broad Street, Suite 100, according to a Facebook post.

“TINT is a space for modern makers quilt, sew, knit, spin, crochet, and more,” the website says.  People can also find fabric, yarn and other materials for sale.

TINT plans to offer workshops and classes, and starting next week, people can take part in a lunchtime series of workshops about self-care. Art therapist Jennifer Baldwin is scheduled to stitch a fabric mandala on Wednesday, Sept. 25, from noon-1 p.m.

The space is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturdays, noon-4 p.m. on Sundays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. on Wednesdays and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Fridays, along with appointment-only times, according to the website. TINT is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Photo via TINT/Facebook

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Locals may spot a new sculpture outside Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library in the near future.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is slated to approve a public art donation from Promila and Krishan Chhabra at the meeting next Tuesday (Sept. 25).

The Chhabras want to mount a bronze, life-size sculpture by artist Dennis Smith of a girl reading a book outside the library’s front window.

The piece is meant to help beautify the library, according to county staff.

More from county staff:

After she retired from the Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) system in 2017, Ms. Promila Chhabra and her husband, Krishan, looked for a way to express her gratitude to the county for her fulfilling career as a library aide at the library. The couple became inspired by the idea of donating a monument for installation on the library grounds…

The donors envision mounting the bronze on a 3-foot cinderblock pedestal with brick siding and a polished black stone pedestal top, with a small plaque on one side of the pedestal that states the dedication is made “in honor of Promila Chhabra’s years of service” to the library.

If the county board OKs the donation, the Chhabras would then select the contractor and pay for the construction costs.

Photos via Fairfax County

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Two new art exhibits are set to debut in McLean this week.

Original artwork by Meghan Walsh and Miriam Mörsel Nathan will be on display from Thursday, Sept. 19, until Saturday, Nov. 16, at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Avenue).

The exhibits are presented by the McLean Project for the Arts.

Walsh’s “An Fharraige Fheargach: The Fiery Sea” will be located in the Emerson Gallery while Nathan’s “Some Pieces of the Nature of Things” will be displayed in the Atrium Gallery.

Nathan began her career as a poet and writer — hints of which can be found in her latest artwork which features calligraphy and fluid linear drawings.

Nathan said she did not know Walsh beforehand, but was excited to discover her work. “We have some similar sensibilities,” Nathan said.

Walsh is known for her mixed-media sculptures that incorporate rock and metal. “They speak of our quickly changing world, tapping into a deep historical perspective as they point out the dignity and beauty found in the communion of unexpected objects,” the event page said.

Though the exhibit doesn’t feature any pieces made specifically for the event, Nathan said all of her work was made within the last three years.

“I love the notion that people see art when they enter a building,” she said, adding that she is excited to have her work on display for the McLean community and was familiar with the center’s activities even before this opportunity.

There will be a free evening reception on Friday, Sept. 27, at MCC from 7-9 p.m. where the artists will speak about their work.

Image courtesy Miriam Mörsel Nathan

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With summer nearing an end and days getting shorter, a new art exhibit in Vienna is focusing on shadows.

Titled “Shadows,” the exhibit opened earlier this week at the Vienna Arts Center (243 Church Street NW, Suite 100 LL).

Lu Cousins, the director of the Vienna Arts Society, told Tysons Reporter that the exhibit will run through October.

Artist Bob Magneson is set to come to a meeting next Thursday (Sept. 12) to demonstrate his application techniques for Impressionistic and post-Impressionistic paintings.

Events at the center are free and open to the public.

The art center is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.

Image courtesy Vienna Arts Society

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A local sci-fi author recently teamed up with big names to expand his fictional world.

David McGoings is the creator of “Catharsis: 2066” and a Falls Church resident. He began the project as a book trilogy but decided to expand it into a multi-media project featuring Star Trek’s Robert Picardo and famous narrator Greg Tremblay.

“Catharsis: 2066” follows the lives of six characters interacting with aliens come to earth and change the world’s history forever. The storyline explores the characters’ feelings and struggles as they deal with a changing environment and the ripple effect of their actions.

“It’s about the breakdown of society and the interactions of the people,” McGoings said.

McGoings told Tysons Reporter that the first book is currently finished and is in the process of publication. Next, he wants to implement a video series and work on the last two books in the trilogy.

He isn’t sure when the first book will be released to the public. As a teaser, Tremblay and Picardo from “Star Trek: Voyager” agreed to narrate the first four chapters. There is also a trailer with artwork from Rob Joseph.

“It started out as just a pitch, but most people in the industry when putting their name on something or helping out with something, they have to like the product first,” said McGoings.

Within the first week of the narration’s release, he said he received more than 2,000 new social media followers and attention on several online forums encouraging art from people of color, including Planet Ebjon, a Facebook page dedicated to Marvel DC characters and the Entertainment Universe.

“It has motivated me as well as pushed the envelope a little on how far you can go when writing a book if you have the tenacity or drive to keep with it,” McGoings said.

Until this point, McGoings said all the proceeds for his book have come out of his pocket or from donations from friends and family. In hopes of reaching his $8,000 goal for the trilogy and a YouTube video series, McGoings started a GoFundMe where people can donate to support the project.

In the next few weeks, McGoings and Joseph will sponsor a social media contest for fans where people will have the change to enter for a piece of signed custom artwork. Fans can check out the book’s Facebook page for upcoming details.

Eventually, McGoings said he wants to write full-time and hire a literary agent, to help him market his books to publishers.

“It’s probably one of the hardest parts of the process, besides writing the book itself, is to find an agent,” McGoings said. “It’s hard to grab the attention of somebody.”

Images courtesy David McGoings

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