Tysons, VA

As Deirdre Johnson and Maurice “Mo” B. Springer join the Board of Directors at ArtsFairfax, they join an organization in the middle of transforming to adapt to the art scene changing to survive the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ArtsFairfax, founded in 1964 as a nonprofit supporting local arts and artists, is embroiled in an overhaul of its programming to support a community reeling from the health and financial impact of COVID-19. All funding has been reallocated to emergency relief and raising funds for grants to local artists. With the pandemic leaving many businesses closed, the organization has also started to look at more opportunities to use empty storefronts as temporary art centers.

Johnson, the vice president and asset manager of Federal Realty Investment Trust, has worked in real estate since 1992. Johnson pointed to the McLean Project for the Arts moving into 1446 Chain Bridge Road, a strip mall, as an example of how ArtsFairfax can adapt to utilize existing, vacant spaces.

“A more recent example is Traveling Players space in Tysons Corner Center which opened before COVID,” Johnson said. “From the mall’s perspective, TPE is attracting customers – teens and their families – and they are activating an unused space. Both of these are interim uses, and the term impacts the type of use. We have also seen pop-up/weekend uses for art exhibits and theatre performances.”

Johnson also highlighted the symbiotic nature of art and local businesses.

“For Federal Realty, art has never been more important than it is today for shopping centers,” Johnson said. “Integrating art, design and performance touches people’s lives, increases educational opportunities and provides economic impact. Vacant spaces are a fabulous opportunity to showcase art right in the heart of a community which is its neighborhood shopping center.”

Springer is the President and CEO at Cardinal Insurance and Financial Inc., where he provides expertise in insurance and retirement options for his customers. Springer said the recovery from the pandemic has shown that ArtsFairfax can adapt and change as the situation requires.

“I don’t view ArtsFairfax as a static and myopic organization and as such I see the recovery from the pandemic given the initiatives in place particularly the strategies focused on engaging the community and the artist at large as a demonstration of the agility of the organization to satisfy the insatiable need of the arts community,” Springer said. “Its online programs, fund raising efforts to support the arts and the institution of viable programs to accommodate and support the new normal artist are facing are benefactors coming out of [COVID-19].” Read More

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McLean’s MPAartfest 2020 is kicking off early next month with a planned drive-in concert with some prestigious Motown alumni.

The concert “Voices of Classic Soul” will take place at the McLean Community Center parking lot (1234 Ingleside Avenue) with a showing at 4 p.m. and at 6 p.m.

The concert will feature Joe Coleman from The Platters, Joe Blunt of The Drifters, and Theo Peoples from The Temptations and The Four Tops. The group is scheduled to perform some of the big hits from their respective groups.

Tickets are $25 per car, with cars guided to spaces to ensure proper distancing.

The concert kicks off two-weeks of MPAartfest, a primarily digital program this year and live-streamed concerts.

Image via McLean Project for the Arts

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The McLean Project for the Arts (MPA) is looking for students to submit entries for the upcoming Children’s Art Walk.

In previous years, the Children’s Art Walk was an open-air gallery, but due to the pandemic, the juried show will take place virtually. The New Dominion Women’s Club of McLean is sponsoring the exhibit, which is a part of MPAartfest.

Students in the Langley and McLean public school pyramid, as well as students at private and parochial schools, can participate, Bethany Nguyen, MPA’s marketing consultant, told Tysons Reporter.

Entries will be accepted between Aug. 24-Sept. 6. MPA asks students to submit art related to one of three themes: “Abundance,” “Small Stories” and “Natural Inclinations.”

MPAartfest is scheduled to take place Oct. 4-18. People will be able to view the exhibit, which will also include art made by kids during MPA’s summer art camps, online during the duration of the festival.

Last year’s Children’s Art Walk featured work from more than 150 students, according to MPA.

Photo via McLean Project for the Arts/Facebook

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The Barns at Wolf Trap won’t have live performance this fall, including Chamber Music at The Barns, due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Wolf Trap said in the announcement on Monday that the Wolf Trap Foundation is “enormously thankful” for the support from the community, donors and patrons, and they look forward to gathering together in the future when it is safe to do so. 

Ticket holders for events that were rescheduled for fall 2020 will be contacted directly via email with more information on individual shows, according to the press release. 

Despite not holding live performances, Wolf Trap has presented a series of digital projects to continue their arts and education mission. People interested can visit Wolf Trap Sessions for their collection of online performances.

Their digital artistic content includes Park Pop-Up featuring performances by local artists, UNTRAPPED Online featuring newly recorded and re-released performances by the Wolf Trap Opera and Field Trip Fridays geared toward kids and their arts education. 

They also recently launched the Music Moves Us fund to support the foundation’s projects to further community initiatives and promote next-generation artists.

Photo via Wolf Trap/Facebook

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An interactive mystery show about a “super sleuth” is coming to McLean as The Alden embarks on its second Drive-Thru Drama performance this summer.

“From the Ash Baxter Files: The Search for the Stolen Spyglass” is a family-friendly mystery show about a high school student who is trying to find out which suspect stole his teacher’s priceless spyglass, according to a press release. The show was written by Andrew Scott Zimmer.

The Alden, which is a part of the McLean Community Center, debuted Drive-Thru Drama in July with a show written and directed by Zimmer about a $1 bill that travels through time and space. The show was a “hugely successful first attempt that sold out all performances,” according to the press release.

Here’s how Drive-Thru Drama works: the audience drives to various locations around the McLean Community Center’s parking lot (1234 Ingleside Ave) to watch actors perform short scenes that tell a cohesive story. The actors wear personal protective equipment and stay six feet away from each other and the passengers.

“We were thrilled to see so many enjoy our first Drive-Thru Drama performance in July! Since then we have been working to develop a new show and I think audiences will enjoy the surprises that we have in store,” Danielle Van Hook, the show’s producer and The Alden’s director of Youth Theatre Programs, said.

Van Hook told Tysons Reporter earlier this year that medieval pageant wagons inspired the “Drive-Thru Drama” production.

The show is set to run for three weekends in September: Sept. 11-13, Sept. 18-20 and Sept. 25-27. The theater is currently seeking actors and plans to hold auditions on Tuesday, Aug, 18, according to the press release.

Tickets are $20 or $15 for people who live in the McLean Community Center tax district and must be purchased in advance.

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A local artist will teach people over Zoom how to turn cardboard toilet paper tubes into mini works of art.

The upcoming class is a part of the recent offerings from Falls Church Arts, a nonprofit arts organization based in Falls Church. The Zoom class will take place from 7-8:30 p.m. on Thursday (Aug. 6). It costs $30 and is open to teens and adults.

“They are just so adorable,” Ruth Altheim, who is a board member for Falls Church Arts, told Tysons Reporter about the toilet paper roll art. “It’s hard to communicate how much fun this is.”

Altheim noted that the upcoming workshop will focus on collage.

Altheim said she suggested the idea for the workshop, which will be taught by local artist Molly McCracken.

To participate, people will need either a toilet paper or paper towel cardboard core, scissors, glue, different types of paper and either crayons or markers.

A flyer for the class says that construction paper, wrapping paper, magazines, newsprint, colored paper or photographs will work. People who need paper can pick up a “basic supply” from the instructor for $5.

Photo courtesy Ruth Altheim

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Tysons’ 1st Stage Theatre announced today (Thursday) that it’s delaying its upcoming season until February and will focus on virtual class offerings this summer.

Until 2021 rolls around, 1st Stage will offer new online classes. The “Virtual Classroom” will feature six education courses taught by the theater’s staff:

  • July 13-Aug. 17: “Introduction to Playwriting” by family member Bob Bartlett
  • July 14-Aug. 18: “Beginning Scene Study” by Associate Artistic Director Deidra LaWan Starnes
  • July 15-Aug. 19: “A Director Prepares” by Artistic Director Alex Levy
  • July 17-Aug. 21: “Beginning Voice Training” by Casting Director Jane Margulies Kalbfeld
  • July 18-Aug. 22: “Approaches to Script Analysis” by Literary Manager Laura Esti Miller
  • July 19-Aug. 23: “Introduction to Improvisation” by Director of Engagement Heidi Fortune Picker

Instead of kicking off its 13th season later this year, the theater will wait until February. The new season will include three productions from February-May before the Logan Festival of Solo Performance, which was cancelled this summer, will return in July 2021.

The season is now scheduled to kick off with “The Waverly Gallery,” directed by Alex Levy and written by Kenneth Lonergan. Then in April, the theatre will show “The Nance,” directed by Nick Olcott and written by Douglas Carter Beane. “Mlima’s Tale,” directed by José Carrasquillo and written by Lynn Nottage, will be the season’s last production.

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Tysons DMV Has Reopened — Starting today, the location at 1968 Gallows Road will be open by appointment only from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday. [Patch]

More Outdoor Areas Open at Public Schools — “In accordance with Fairfax County’s Phase 1 reopening guidelines, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is reopening additional outdoor areas on school grounds to the community, effective Friday, May 29. Reopening on May 29 will be athletic fields (for walking and recreational use from 8 a.m. to sundown) and gardens.” [FCPS]

Art Aid — “ARTSFAIRFAX [Thursday] announced $100,000 in available funding through the newly created Emergency Relief and Recovery Grant Program. Funding will provide critical support to Fairfax County and the Cities of Fairfax and Falls Church arts organizations and Fairfax County individual artists most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The online grant application… closes on June 29, 2020.” [Patch]

Public Hearing on Controversial Zoning Code Tonight — “The Vienna Town Council plans to hold a public hearing on Monday about what to do about the contentious Maple Avenue Commercial (MAC) zone.” [Tysons Reporter]

Phase 2 May Start Soon — “Gov. Ralph Northam said Thursday that more of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions could be lifted as soon as June 5… Northern Virginia leaders said earlier this week they’d be interested in moving to Phase Two at the same time as the rest of the state.” [Inside NoVa]

Booze Delivery? — “At some point in the near future, the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority is hoping to execute the first home liquor delivery in its 86-year history.” [Inside NoVa]

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Updated 6/1/2020 — Corrects dates for second set of live performances. 

COVID-19 precautions are affecting live performances, but The Alden in McLean has found a way to bring shows to people that is similar to drive-in movies.

“Drive-Thru Drama” is set to run for two weekends in July (July 3-5 and July 10-12) with shows from 6-8 p.m., according to a press release.

The theater, which is a part of the McLean Community Center, plans to hold auditions via Instagram submissions.

“Priority will be given to actors who live, go to school or work in the MCC tax district,” the press release said. “There are no age or gender requirements in the script, but all actors must be 14 years old or older.”

More from the press release:

“Drive-Thru Drama” is the brainchild of The Alden’s Director of Youth Theatre Programs Danielle Van Hook. “Like so many, I was missing live performance and knew there had to be a way to safely produce a non-virtual show,” said Van Hook. “Nothing replaces the feeling of sitting with your neighbors in The Alden, but I hope this helps bring a little respite away from the screens and returns a level of normalcy to people’s lives.”

The show will be the debut performance of “Small Change,” a play written and directed by Andrew Scott Zimmer. Commissioned by The Alden, “Small Change” follows the travels of a $1 bill as it journeys through time and space, interacting with different people’s lives and leaving its mark on the world. Actors will perform one, cohesive story through short monologues at various stations in the center’s parking lot. Audience members will be directed to drive the route from actor to actor…

The Alden is placing several safety precautions into place to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions’ COVID-19 guidelines such as requiring the actors to wear personal protective equipment and setting up the route so that actors are positioned six feet away from the cars and passengers.

People should note that performance dates could change based on Gov. Ralph Northam’s orders. A limited number of tickets for the shows will be available online two weeks before the opening.

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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!

Though many in-person events are canceled, organizations and businesses are setting up digital events to keep people occupied.

Year-round, the McLean Community Center offers courses for adults hoping to pick up other workplace skills. People can take courses on things including digital marketing, computer science, education and even leadership. These online courses range in price but are available online.

Tuesday (May 12)

Thursday (May 14)

  • Limited Beer Release + Virtual Happy Hour — Caboose Brewing Company is offering a free evening of trivia while people enjoy a new beer that they can pick up and drink at home. People can find the event link on Zoom and log in using the meeting ID: 211 500 5344 and password: 2DdDa4.

Saturday (May 16)

Photo courtesy Caboose Brewing 

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