Tysons, VA

The City of Falls Church is pitching in to help Creative Cauldron launch its “Bold New Voices Musical Theater Festival” later this year.

The festival is set to run from April 27-May 6. “The goal of the festival is aimed at supporting musical theater works by women and women-identifying writers and composers,” according to the website.

Creative Cauldron received $2,500 in city funding with a $2,500 match from the Virginia Commission for the Arts (VCA) for the festival, along with $13,437 in city funding for an operational grant, according to a press release from the city.

Creative Cauldron was one of six local groups that received grants for arts-related activities and support.

“The Falls Church City Council recently approved a recommendation from the Arts and Humanities Grant committee to allocate $45,000 in funding for arts and cultural grants for fiscal year 2019-2020,” the press release said. “An additional $4,500 was funded through a grant from the [VCA].”

Of the 12 total grants, five are operational ones, while seven are for projects, including:

Recipients include Creative Cauldron, Falls Church Arts, The Little City CATCH Foundation, Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation, Washington Sinfonietta, and Welcoming Falls Church. Details on their projects and operational needs are listed below:

  • Falls Church Arts: $2,016 in city funds with a $500 VCA match to improve event capacity outside the studio
  • Falls Church Arts: $2,000 in city funds with a $1,500 VCA match to support increased capacity for studio classes
  • The Little City CATCH Foundation: $4,784 in city funds for Watch Night
  • Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation: $5,000 in city funds for promoting the 2019 Tinner Hill Blues Festival
  • Washington Sinfonietta: $416 in city funds to support a free holiday concert at the Falls Church Episcopal Church
  • Welcoming Falls Church: $2,284 in city funds for the Welcoming Week initiative about the contemporary immigrant experience

Currently, Creative Cauldron has a call for submissions through Friday (Jan. 10) for the festival and plans to select three to five new works, along with several finalists.

“One final musical will be chosen by our resident artistic team at the end of the festival to have a fully funded production staged as part of Creative Cauldron’s 2020-2021 season,” according to Creative Cauldron.

Image via Creative Cauldron/Facebook

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A few of the painted wooden benches auctioned off are set to return to spots around Vienna for community use.

Earlier this year, the Vienna Arts Society showcased the benches painted by artists around the town to celebrate the group’s 50th anniversary.

The auction on Nov. 2 sold the benches for roughly $50,000. Of the 41 sold, eight of them will find permanent homes around prominent public areas including the Patrick Henry Library and the Vienna Community Center, according to Vienna’s newsletter.

At the auction, Mayor Laurie DiRocco and her husband purchased “Church Street, Vienna VA USA” and plan to place it at the Freeman Store and Museum, the newsletter said. DiRocco was one of seven buyers who donated benches.

Sylvia Spengler, a community member, also donated two benches, the newsletter added.

“We’re so grateful to the Vienna Arts Society for sharing its cumulative talent with the community and we’re thrilled that several of the benches will remain in the public domain,” Leslie Herman, the director of parks and recreation, said.

Other benches which can soon be found around town include:

  • “Sit” and “Play Time” at the Vienna Dog Park
  • “Creative Kids” at Cunningham Elementary School
  • “Pleasures of Vienna” at the Town Green, near the fountain
  • “The Kaleidoscope Cats” at the Vienna Community Center
  • “Unlock the Cosmos” at the Patrick Henry Library

Image via Town of Vienna

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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!

Tysons Reporter also complied a list of the upcoming holiday events, for those seeking festivities.

Tuesday (Dec. 3)

  • Give a Little, Get a Snuggle — 4:30 until 7 p.m. at BrandBox in Tysons Corner Center — This event will allow people to play with adoptable puppies, that are all up for adoption. A $5 donation will go to the Wolf Trap Animal Rescue League and animals in need.
  • Holiday Happy Hour — 6 to 8 p.m. at Urbanspace Tysons (2001 International Drive) — This free event offers snacks and drinks to attendees while they can take part in a meet and greet with Justin Schuble of @dcfoodporn. Tickets are expected to run out so people should reserve them beforehand.

Thursday (Dec. 5)

  • Native Seed Swap — 7:30 p.m. at the Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry Street SE) — This event allows community members to exchange seeds from native plants and listen to a talk from botanist Jay Lechtman. Even people without seeds are welcome to come and participate in this free event.

Friday (Dec. 6)

  • Make Your Own Wreath and Bath Bomb — 9 until 11 a.m. at  LUSH (1961 Chain Bridge Road, Unit #G7U) — Guests can create their own bath bomb and holiday wreath at this community event. Tickets are $75 and participants should register beforehand.

Saturday (Dec. 7)

  • Local for the Holidays — 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Whole Foods Market (1635 Boro Place) — Whole Foods is hosting a pop-up that allows visitors to check out local products. This free event will feature music by Brendan Schnabel Music and free gift wrapping.
  • Wakefield Park Holiday Art and Craft Show — 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry Street SE) — This event will feature crafts. Admission is $2 for adults and free for kids under age 12.

Sunday (Dec. 8)

  • Wonderland of Wishes — noon to 2 p.m. at The Ritz-Carlton (1700 Tysons Blvd) — This fundraiser will benefit the Make-A-Wish® Foundation — Mid-Atlantic. Guests can enjoy food and drink while watching models introduce the latest Lilly Pulitzer styles. There will also be raffles and giveawaysTickets start at $150 for adults.

Photo via Photo by Duffy Brook/Unsplash

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After kicking its new season off by exploring generational divides, 1st Stage Theatre in Tysons has a comedy opening this week about an air guitar competition.

“Airness” will delve into a woman’s journey when she enters an air guitar competition and befriends a group of nerds, according to the theater’s description of the show.

The show, which is a regional premiere co-production with D.C.-based Keegan Theatre, starts on Thursday (Dec. 5) and runs until Dec. 29.

Performances for “Airness” are:

  • Thursdays — 7:30 p.m.
  • Fridays — 8 p.m.
  • Saturdays — 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Sundays — 2 p.m.

General admission tickets are $42 or $39 for seniors. Students and military tickets are $15.

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In an effort to make the arts more accessible to young audiences, Tysons’ 1st Stage Theatre is rolling out a free subscription for local high school students.

The theater announced on Tuesday (Nov. 19) its new Youth Engagement Subscription (YES) Pass for high school students in Fairfax County. The YES Pass gives students one ticket per show for a year — a free subscription for all mainstage shows.

“Our YES Pass ensures that no student is denied access to live theater due to economic barriers and guarantees that all young people will have an opportunity to be part of the discussion and the artistic life of Fairfax County,” according to a press release from 1st Stage.

The free subscriptions are being sponsored by the Ruth and Hal Launders Foundation.

Students interested in the YES Pass can contact Deidra Starnes at [email protected] or apply online.

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When the big top returns to Tysons next summer, people can expect a circus show about a power struggle.

Cirque du Soleil plans to bring “Alegría” to Tysons from July 28 to Aug. 30, according to a press release.

Attendees can expect gymnasts flying from one high bar to the next, a fire knife dancer, somersaults on trampolines and other acrobatics.

Here’s Cirque du Soleil’s description of the show:

Alegría (“joy” in Spanish) takes audiences at the heart of a once glorious kingdom now in decay led by the king’s fool and a dusty aristocracy. Carried by an intangible wind of change, an emerging movement from the streets strives to shake this established order, instilling hope and renewal to bring light and harmony to their world. With its joyful spirit, Alegría is a vital, energizing force driven by a thirst for a brighter tomorrow.

The show started in 1994. “To mark the show’s 25th anniversary, Cirque du Soleil is now revisiting its iconic ‘Alegría’ through today’s lens — including refreshed costumes and set design, a renewed acrobatic vocabulary, and modernized musical arrangements — to touch new generations of spectators,” the press release said.

Tickets are on sale now, and people can receive 40% off certain tickets Nov. 19-Dec. 2.

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Tysons’ 1st Stage Theatre is one of seven arts organizations receiving a grant from ARTSFAIRFAX.

ARTSFAIRFAX awarded grants totaling $105,296 to local arts groups in Fairfax County for fiscal year 2020, according to a press release. The grants range in amounts from $1,000 to $30,000.

The grant for 1st Stage will allow the theater to work with the Maryland-based Olney Theatre on a co-production of “The Royale” —  a story about the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion in the U.S. The show played at Olney from Sept. 25 to Oct. 27 and comes to Tysons in January.

“What we are witnessing is how these grants are helping propel the artistic growth of these grantees as their work reaches new audiences within and beyond the county,” Linda Sullivan, the president and CEO of ARTSFAIRFAX, said in a press release.

“Project awardees presented innovative and creative means to engage the community and bring people together to experience arts in fresh and unusual ways,” according to the press release.

Other recipients include the Greater Reston Arts Center, the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra and the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts.

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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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What will the future hold for Tysons 30 years from now? Developers and business representatives tackled that question at the “Tysons 2050” event last night (Thursday).

Panelists imaged how people might live, work and play in Tysons several decades from now — and what needs to get done to foster a stronger sense of community.

Julie Clemente, the president of Clemente Development, said that one of the most important aspects to community development is cohesion in the planning process.

Clemente told the audience that Tysons lacks parks and community recreation centers. Without these things, she is worried that community members will become lonely and find it hard to break out of “silos.”

“For Tysons to be successful, it needs to be connected,” she said.

She mentioned the Spring Hill Recreation Center (1239 Spring Hill Road) as one of the closest opportunities for people in the Tysons area but said it wasn’t enough to meet the growing demand.

“The Spring Hill Recreation Center is overused and everyone goes there,” she said.

Clemente hopes that The View — a recently approved mixed-use project by the Spring Hill Metro station — will add the city center that she says Tysons lacks.

In addition to adding the tallest building in the region, the development plans to build a black box theater, an art walk, a seasonal ice loop and an open-air theater on the green, along with a Tysons Community Center at a nearby site.

“Tysons doesn’t have it now — a center of growth, a heartbeat — and that’s what we want it to be,” Clemente said about The View.

Deirdre Johnson, the vice president of asset management for Federal Realty Investment Trust and new Tysons resident, echoed Clemente’s concerns about connectivity and a sense of community.

“It’s been hard to find points of natural, authentic and emotional connection,”  Johnson said about her time in Tysons. Places like shared green space and cafe seating — as well as art, medical services and religious worship — can help fill that void, she said. 

While roughly 100,000 people work in Tysons during the day, only about 20,000 live in the area, Johnson said.

“After 5 [p.m.] is very important because it helps you become who you are,” she said.

She wants to fix this by creating places where people of all ages — but especially seniors and young people — can feel fulfilled in every aspect of their lives, noting that retail options that appeal to a wide age range and incomes is one solution. 

Another idea from speaker Linda Sullivan, the president of ARTSFAIRFAX, is to institute an artist in residency or creative spaces pop-up program around Tysons.

Artists would have the opportunity to take advantage of affordable housing opportunities while focusing on their work, she said. She also threw out the idea of flex spaces hosting comedy clubs.

Ultimately, whatever the future holds for Tysons will likely focus on innovation around living, working and playing in the same community.

Paul Siemborski, an architect focused on designing performing arts facilities, said Tysons has the opportunity to “break the mold” and try new things.

“Art and play is not a luxury. It’s a necessity,” Siemborski said.

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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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