Tysons Corner, VA

Look around Tysons and you’ll find art near every Metro station.

Tysons Reporter has rounded up the outside artworks in the area that are Instragram-worthy and easy to walk to.

“Early Bird”

Maybe you’ve spotted the dozens of bronze birds scattered around The Plaza outside Tysons Corner Center (1961 Chain Bridge Road). If you haven’t — just take a look around at the seating and railings.

The birds depict five species — the morning dove, the red-tailed hawk, the robin, the crow and the cardinal — and were created by a trio of George Mason University artists, according to the university. In total, there are 63 birds.

Fun fact: “Early Bird is the name of Intelsat’s first communications satellite. It was launched into orbit on April 6, 1965,” according to the university.

“The Thought”

It’s hard to not notice the nearly 16-foot-tall bronze sculpture outside the Walmart (1500 B Cornerside Blvd) in Tysons West where an enormous face rests its chin on a hand.

Robert Cole created the structure with copper pipe before covering it with welded bronze plates. His assistant, Josh Yavelberg, helped with the creation of the piece, according to the D.C.-based Robert Cole Studios.

Cole, who had art at other Metro stations and around the D.C.-area, died in 2013.

“Solar Sails”

Known for his use of glass, artist Ray King created “Solar Sails” outside the Tysons Corner Metro station (1943 Chain Bridge Road) in 2015. The laminated glass panes and tension pulled steel measure 50 feet long outside, according to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

“By creating dynamic interactions with the sun and refracting light into colors — rainbow-like emanations that shift and change as the viewer moves or as the light source changes — King creates an environment that appeals to viewers’ sense of wonderment and delight,” WMATA’s website says.

“Hoop-La” 

Alice Aycock created the aluminum and powder-coated steel sculpture in front of the Capital One headquarters (1680 Capital One Drive) by the McLean Metro station.

According to a description from Capital One:

For the Capital One project, Alice tried to visualize energy, thoughts and ideas as a series of spiral vortexes gathering momentum — each emerging from the vortex below as whirlpools of thought. She designed the work to appear to spin off into the air, forming a dynamic, three-dimensional mixture of forms.

The sculpture is a metaphor for the way ideas connect in energetic and unpredictable ways in the pursuit of knowledge.

Much of Alice’s work in both public and private spheres has been a meditation on the philosophical ramifications of technology, from the simplest to the most advanced tools. Many of these works have incorporated images of the wheel and turbines and references to energy.

“Voyagers”

Located on the ground level at the McLean Metro station mezzanine (1824 Dolley Madison Blvd) are 26 laminated glass panels. Martin Donlin hand painted and airbrushed the panels, which include etchings of poetry from Virginia Poet Laureates, in 2015.

“‘Voyagers’ represents both the physical and cognitive idea of travel and transportation,” the WMATA website says.

“Eccentricity”

Standing 40 feet tall, the stainless steel and concrete work by Barbara Grygutis greets people outside the west entrance pavilion plaza outside the Spring Hill Metro station (1576 Spring Hill Road), according to WMATA.

More from WMATA about the sculpture:

This large iconic columnar sculpture and plaza demarcate the Spring Hill Road Station along WMATA’s Metro Silver Line. The sculptural form displays shifting moiré patterns as the viewer moves about the piece — from pedestrians at ground level and above on the train platform, to vehicles and bicyclists passing at varying speeds. The plaza includes an offset concentric ring design in two shades of concrete with poetry by previous Poet Laureate of Virginia Lee Pelham Cotton in aluminum within the concrete. In the evening, the pillar is illuminated to create a peacemaking feature around the clock.

WMATA commissioned Grygutis to create the piece, which was finished in 2016, according to the artist’s website. People can see it driving or walking along Leesburg Pike by the Metro stop.

“Tysons Luxury Lilies”

People getting off the Greensboro Metro station and folks heading to the Tysons Biergarten have surely seen the massive mural featuring water lilies at 8346 Leesburg Pike.

Created by Lawrence Atoigue, professionally known as Naturel, the 100 by 200 foot mural was launched in 2016 as part of a placemaking effort by Tysons Partnership.

The mural, located on a wall owned by Beacon Capital Partners, was inspired by Claude Monet’s “Water Lily” series, according to Tysons Partnership.

“Technology Triangle Colonnade”

Columns standing 21 feet tall are located on opposite sides of Leesburg Pike at the Greensboro Metro station (8304 Leesburg Pike). David Dahlquist created the metal, fiberglass and concrete columns with LED lights in 2016.

“The symbolic triangle, representative of the connection of government, industry, and consumer, becomes a dramatic iconic marker,” according to the WMATA website. “The sculptural columns create a dynamic connection to the station.”

People who look closely can spot the poetry by Virginia Poet Laureates in the bands around the base of each column.

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(Updated at 1:45 p.m.) Another painted bench commissioned by the Vienna Arts Society has gone missing in the Town of Vienna.

The Vienna Police Department said that a member of the Vienna Arts Society reported that one of their benches was stolen from in front of Ghaffari Orthodontics (100 Church Street NE) between Aug. 9-12 — nearly one month after another painted bench was reported stolen.

The benches are two of the 42 benches painted by local artist and placed around the Town of Vienna. The benches are slated to be sold at a charity auction in November.

The bench taken this month was called “Big Wave.” Artist Viktoriya Maslova painted an outdoor scene with a bridge leading to the water.

Kenneth Britz, the artist of another bench, told Tysons Reporter that the Vienna Arts Society is currently working on a way to deter any attempted thefts in the future.

“We are still trusting of the town,” he said, adding that “anything can be stolen from anywhere.”

Britz said that the arts group hasn’t determined yet if Maslova will paint another bench for the town.

He added that the arts group is cooperating with the Vienna Police Department.

The bench that disappeared from outside Grass Roots Fitness (512 W. Maple Avenue) in July was painted by Mary Ellyn Perkowski and featured pink and purple flowers against a black background.

Deborah Kennedy, a spokesperson for the Vienna Arts Society, previously told Tysons Reporter Perkowski plans to paint another bench similar in design to the stolen one — it is unclear when the replacement will be finished or where it will be placed.

Earlier in August, Britz published an open letter in the Sun-Gazette on behalf of the organization condemning the July theft as “an affront to the town and a show of blatant disrespect to its residents and visitors.”

Juan Vazquez, a spokesperson for the Vienna Police Department, said that the department cannot comment on the cases since they are still being investigated.

Photo via Vienna Arts Society/Facebook

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MPAartfest is returning to McLean in October with a long list of artists set to perform.

Hosted by the McLean Project for the Arts, the free festival is a one-day juried fine art show and sale that features the work of visual artists, along with mini art galleries, live music, food from local restaurants and activities. MPAartfest returns Sunday, Oct. 6.

Here’s the hour-by-hour breakdown on who’s playing:

  • 10 a.m. — Djangolaya will kick off MPAartfest with gypsy jazz
  • 11 a.m. — Takoma Park-based fiddler, banjoist, singer and scholar Jake Blount will perform with composer Clara Delfina
  • noon — Great Guitars featuring three guitarists will take the stage
  • 1 p.m. — Bumper Jacksons will bring jazz rhythms and country swing harmonies
  • 2 p.m. — DC-based outfit Black Masala will perform Balkan, gypsy, klezmer sounds
  • 3 p.m. — Artist Caz Gardiner will bring a 60’s-infused soul-pop sound
  • 4 p.m. — Blues Alley Youth Jazz Orchestra, a 15-piece youth swing big band, will close out the festival

The lineup was curated by radio host Ken Avis, according to a press release from the art organization.

While the festival is free, donations and funds raised during the event support MPA exhibitions and programs.

MPAartfest will take place from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. in McLean Central Park (1468 Dolley Madison Blvd).

Photo courtesy McLean Project for the Arts

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A thief is on the loose in Vienna after one of the town’s painted benches went missing.

Earlier this year, the Vienna Arts Society commissioned local artists to paint benches, gifted by donors, that would eventually be sold at a charity auction. But around July 7, one of the benches was mysteriously snatched and is still missing over a month later.

According to a police report, the painted bench was first reported missing by a Vienna Arts Society member when they noticed it disappeared from outside Grass Roots Fitness (512 W. Maple Avenue).

Deborah Kennedy, an artist and spokesperson for the Vienna Arts Society, told Tysons Reporter that the arts group knew there was a small risk that the benches would be stolen, but no one really thought it would happen.

“It’s a small town and we thought people would be looking out for them,” she said.

The police have not informed the group about any potential leads, she said, adding that there was not any video of the thief that she knows of nor were the benches bolted down to the ground.

Juan Vazquez, a spokesperson for the Vienna Police Department, said that the department cannot comment on the case since it is an ongoing investigation.

Mary Ellyn Perkowski painted the floral bench with pink and purple flowers against a black background. Named “Spring,” the bench “was inspired by a bed of tulips she had photographed at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna,” according to a Vienna Arts Society newsletter.

It is one of 42 other benches placed around the Town of Vienna.

Kennedy said that Perkowski plans to paint another bench similar in design to the stolen one. It is unclear when the replacement will be finished or where they will place it.

Kenneth Britz, the artist of another bench, published an open letter in the Sun-Gazette on behalf of the organization condemning the theft.

“It is also an affront to the town and a show of blatant disrespect to its residents and visitors,” Britz wrote.

Photo via Susan Scanlon

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Updated 11 a.m. — The lavish McLean home where much of Alexi Balmasov’s art is currently on display is a pretty far cry from the Siberian village it came from. But there’s a fairytale-like quality to both the cottage home a stone’s throw from downtown McLean and the pastoral scenes of Russia inside.

Local art seller Ruzanna Danielian is inviting the public to her home at 1178 Randolph Road for a gallery exhibition on Sunday, June 23 from 1-7 p.m. Drinks will be provided and Danielian said the public is invited to meet interesting people and enjoy good artwork.

“This is a passion for me,” said Danielian. “I choose [to display] what I fall in love with.”

Danielian said she got into the gallery scene by choosing art to display between books at a store she managed in Moscow. While Danielian said at first it was just art to fill in the gaps, she said customers began to take more and more notice of the artwork and soon curating artwork became her career.

In McLean, Danielian said she got started hosting galleries when she put some on display for a friend, but now Danielian says she makes it her mission to find lesser known artists from places and cultures people in the area may not be familiar.

Inside her McLean home, the walls are covered in a carefully curated selection of art from Balmasov, from still-lifes around the kitchen to scenes from rural Siberia along the hallway. It’s a selection Danielian said took her a year of traveling and careful selection to put together.

Danielian said what drew her to Balmasov’s artwork was the unique approach to layers. Oils, acrylics and other paints are all mixed one on top of the other in a single eight or 10-hour session, giving the pieces a unique sense of depth. The styles range from more surreal and impressionistic to realism.

The prices range from $300 pieces sold without frames to larger ones just under $2,000.

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Candytopia is looking to bring its sugary art installations to Tysons.

Curated by Jackie Sorkin from TLC’s “Candy Queen,” the interactive art pop-up made with candy describes itself as an “outrageously interactive candy wonderland” with flying unicorn pigs and a marshmallow tsunami. The pop-ups usually last about four months.

Candytopia’s chief executive officer told the Washington Business Journal that the pop-up concept, which occupies between 14,000 and 25,000 square feet, is looking to open in the Tysons area in the next year.

Candytopia recently opened in Atlanta and Dallas and is “coming soon” to Houston. Tickets vary by location — regular admission for the Atlanta one costs $28, while the Dallas one is $30.

Previously, Candytopia has rolled into San Francisco, Minneapolis-St. Paul and New York City.

Photo via Facebook

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A pop-up art store in Tysons is set to showcase art from international artists at a show on Saturday (April 27).

The Dara Global Arts Gallery is planning a reception from 2-6 p.m. in their pop-up store at 7501 Leesburg Pike, which opened in February. The artwork on display ranges from oils and acrylics to ceramic artwork, and the event on Saturday will feature an opera performance.

The gallery is typically open by appointment only, but the event will throw open the doors to the public.

Dara Global Arts Gallery is part of a budding art scene in Tysons. The gallery’s stated objective is “bringing harmony and peace through art,” reflected in the gallery’s emphasis on diversity both in artists and in the type of art displayed.

The artwork will be on display from April 27 through May 13.

The gallery is also planning an event for Mother’s Day on May 5 with special artwork and a jewelry gallery.

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The colorful, painted benches that recently popped up outside local businesses in the Town of Vienna are marking the 50th anniversary of the Vienna Arts Society.

Purcellville’s painted wine barrel community arts project in 2016 inspired the idea for the “Take a Seat Vienna” public art display, Lu Cousins, the director of the Vienna Arts Society, told Tysons Reporter.

Local businesses sponsored the cost of the Amish-built benches, which each had a roughly $240 price tag, in exchange for having them sit in front of their businesses through October, Cousins said.

Volunteers delivered the benches to 42 artists, 20 of whom are from the greater Vienna area. “Painting a wooden, slatted bench is completely different from painting an image on a canvas,” Cousins said, adding that the shape and angles of a bench can be tricky to paint.

In addition to the artists, Cousins gave a shoutout to the team of nonartists who helped facilitate transportation of the benches and get permits from the town.

Before their unveiling last weekend, the benches were varnished to help them withstand the weather, she said. The Vienna Arts Society has a map for people who want to take a seat in — or a photo of — all 42 benches.

“They are spectacular works of art,” Cousins said, adding that her personal favorites include Susan Scanlon’s “Simply Dreaming” bench, which features actress Audrey Hepburn in her iconic “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” role, and the ones with ocean imagery.

A live auction of the benches on Nov. 2 will raise money for the arts nonprofit’s programs.

“They are all beautiful, and they are all unique,” Cousins said. “We want people to enjoy their community.”

Photos courtesy Vienna Arts Society

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The New York School of Arts — formerly Open Art Studio — has a new home in Vienna at 320 Maple Ave E.

The school, founded ten years ago, is focused on individual-based education in art and design with faculty from programs like Brown and Columbia universities.

The studio had previously been located at 225 Mill St NE.

The school programs range from art programs for children to portfolio reviews for students applying to arts programs.

Registration is currently open for the art foundation summer camp, aimed at students in grades 6 through 8. Classes range from $245 for children under two years old to $760 for older students.

Photo via Facebook

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Nightlife may be one of Tysons’ weak spots, but local music in the area has a long history — and a wide-open future.

The Fairfax scene is very diverse, drawing on artists who are local to the county as well as those from elsewhere in the greater D.C. area.

Emblematic of that diversity is an upcoming performance on Saturday, March 23 at the VFW post in west Falls Church. Six different acts will be playing music — two punk groups, three rappers representing a variety of styles and an indie rock four-piece.

D.C. is famous for its historical punk scene, with names like Fugazi that defined a sound across the entire country — but much of that scene happened on the southern side of the Potomac. Although not all of its current residents are aware, Northern Virginia has a strong tradition of independent music. In the 1980s and ’90s, most of that tradition was being made in Arlington.

The little county was home to the nationally-successful punk group Minor Threat, whose frontman Ian MacKaye later starred in Fugazi, as well as many other bands. It also boasted the Dischord and Teenbeat record labels and the Positive Force activist group, which was closely associated with the “Riot Grrrl” feminist movement.

These groups were often based out of houses, dotted across Arlington. The county was successful musically because it was cheap and offered easy access to the city — but, unfortunately for the punks, the rest of society caught on.

Today, the median home on the Arlington market is listed at over $700,000, and there aren’t many places left in the county for young musicians living on a shoestring budget. In the words of Positive Force co-founder Mark Andersen, “there was another Arlington that existed, and that was a much more humble Arlington.”

In some ways, Fairfax carries on that tradition. By offering (relatively) affordable performance spaces, a large population of potential audiences and a wide network of musical collaborators, the county has a lot to offer a young musician.

There are some major differences, though: today’s scene isn’t only about punk music. Also, it’s less tied to D.C. than it used to be, and has more potential to define itself as “NOVA” music.  It does face some obstacles, though, including the drain of talent and attention to nearby cities like Richmond and Baltimore, and, as in Arlington, the difficulty of coexisting with some of the most desirable residential neighborhoods on the East Coast.

To understand what it’s like to record and perform in Fairfax today, Tysons Reporter spoke with Jason Saul, a melodic rapper native to the area.

Tysons Reporter: First, how did you get to be making music in VA?  Are you originally from the area?  When did you start rapping, and what’s driven you to the style you use?

Jason Saul: I was born & raised in NOVA. I started writing music when I was 13 but it was never anything super serious… Once I turned 20 I realized there wasn’t anything else that brought me the amount of joy that making music does. So now I’m seeking to make music my career. My style comes from influences of music that I listened to when I was young. I’ve always enjoyed storytelling or making music the correlates with the listener. To me, music is all about feeling. Eventually I started to make more melodic music since that’s what I always gravitated towards.

Tysons Reporter: Second, what should I know about the NOVA scene in general? How does it compare to other scenes around the D.C. area — does it have a particular identity compared to, say, D.C. or Maryland? Is it known for particular styles, or for particular venues? Do you want to stay around here, or, if not, where would you go?

Jason Saul: The NOVA scene is very interesting when it comes to music because I see it as a big question mark on the creative map. No one can really say NOVA has a particular sound, and I think that stems from no one really making it out on to the mainstream platform yet. I know there’s Kali Uchis but that’s just one artist. I respect D.C. a lot because it’s so rich with culture but I would definitely separate NOVA from D.C. just because it really feels like two different worlds. MD in my opinion is known for their raw rapping which is great. It’s up to NOVA to see what we come up with now. I’d love to stay here and I probably will but I also enjoy the weather in the west coast.

Tysons Reporter: Third, it’s pretty cool to see this wide a mix of sounds at a single show. Is that standard, would you say, or is this unusual? If it’s unusual, what helped bring it together this time?

Jason Saul: It’s very exciting to see a show like this going down because it’s bringing different groups of people together. I wouldn’t say it’s the ordinary but it’s definitely going to be a good show and should happen more often. What helped bring it together was the relationships some of us have outside of music, just knowing each other really. This gives the audience and artists a great opportunity to discover some music they never thought they’d listen to.

To listen to some of Fairfax’s local musicians, check out these artists, who will be performing at 6:30pm – 11pm on Saturday, March 23, at the VFW Post #9274 (7118 Shreve Road), just 10 minutes from Tysons on Leesburg Pike. There will be a $5 cover charge, and Respawn Thrift will be selling vintage clothing.

Desperry (NoVA, Hip-hop)

Holographic (NoVA, Hardcore punk bootgaze)

Jason Saul (NoVA, Melodic hip-hop)

Needle (D.C., Grind punk)

Wisteria (MD, Indie rock)

Lil Dynamite (NoVA, first show)

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