The County’s Art Buzz – April

Special to The Fairfax County Times,  Apr 13, 2019

BalletNova awarded Martha Graham Dance Residency

A dozen young dancers are learning to transition from one movement to another to create a seamless whole. Every contraction, every lunge, every breath in time with the beat of the music rehearsed over and over again until the unnatural becomes natural. This is typical of the dance training hundreds of young people experience every day.

What is unusual for a select few high school students at BalletNova’s preconservatory dance division is to be trained and to learn from a principal dancer in the Martha Graham Dance Company. BalletNova is one of the few studios below the collegiate level to be granted a two-week artist residency from the Martha Graham Dance Company in New York City.

“This work is usually done at a university level,” said BalletNova principal dancer Constance Walsh. “Our experience has gone beyond what I thought the students would appreciate.”

Martha Graham is considered one of the greatest choreographers of the 20th century and an iconic figure of modern dance. Graham created a movement of language based upon the expressive capacity of the human body. Her studio, established in 1926, continues to teach students today. The artist residency at BalletNova began in February with Elizabeth AuClair and continues with former Martha Graham Dance Company and current BalletNova principal dancer Constance Walsh, who works daily with the conservatory level students to perfect a piece created and originally performed by Graham in 1936.

Students will perform their version of Graham’s “Steps in the Street” from May 3 – 5 during BalletNova’s Spring Show, “La Fille Mal Gardée & Other Works.” An ARTSFAIRFAX grant helped support this artist residency.

April art highlights

The arts are celebrating spring. NOVA Annandale Symphony Orchestra is presenting their spring concert on April 26 at the Richard J. Ernest Cultural Theater. On April 27, Fairfax Symphony Orchestra will perform with the Fairfax County All-Star’s Youth Orchestra at the GMU Center for the Arts Concert Hall. The Hub Theatre presents “The Burn,” an area-premiere play exploring what happens to a teacher and his students when a classroom conflict turns into an online witch-hunt. “The Burn” plays from April 26 to May 11. In Tysons Corner, 1st Stage presents the thought-provoking piece, “Columbinus,” a docudrama that explores the Columbine High School shooting. The Polaris Piano Trio presents an evening of music for the Jordan Kitts Community Concert Series on April 27. Audiences of all ages will enjoy Creative Cauldron’s presentation of “Alice in Wonderland” and Reston Community Players’ presentation of “Annie.” Check the ARTSFAIRFAX website for dates and times.

Creative Aging Festival

Mark your calendars now to participate in great art offerings in recognition of Older Americans Month. ARTSFAIRFAX is partnering with Fairfax County agencies to present the 2019 Creative Aging Festival through the month of May. The Festival celebrates older adults’ participation in the arts. Over 60 free and engaging activities will be available in 28 venues throughout Fairfax County.

Visit for more information.

The County’s Art Buzz – March

There are plenty of art offerings in Fairfax, but have you checked out Twitter?

County resident and writer Jesse Stanchak tells his stories in 280 characters or less. A marketing professional in the metro area, Stanchak spins his literary prose three times a day via Twitter @MicroFlashFic. A modern version of an Irish Lyrics or a Japanese haiku, Stanchak’s work has attracted over 35,000 followers and been translated into multiple languages for audiences in countries around the world. Stanchak admits his work tends toward the scary and sad, but hopes readers will explore the many voices he represents in his work.

Stanchak gives this advice for aspiring artists, “The price of failure is so low. The worst that happens is that people ignore it.”

Link to his most popular Flash Fiction:

Four theaters nominated for Helen Hayes Awards

Four Fairfax County theaters received nominations for the 2019 Helen Hayes awards. 1st Stage leads the nominations with 22, and Brave Spirits Theatre, NextStop Theatre and The Hub Theatre each received two nominations. Get tickets now to see 1st Stage’s current presentation of “Columbinus” through April 20 and NextStop’s production of “Fallen Angels” until April 7.

Brave Spirits’ presentation of William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” and The Hub Theatre’s “The Burn” both start in April.

Brave Spirits and The Hub Theatre continue to receive audience and critical acclaim despite the challenge of finding a permanent home in Fairfax County.

Shape the County’s future

To understand residents’ needs and wishes, Fairfax County has launched a Countywide Strategic Plan survey to gather information to develop a plan for 2020 and beyond. The arts play a vital role in Fairfax, and it is critical for decision-makers to know the challenges facing the arts community. Please take time to complete this important survey:

Fairfax County citizens have other opportunities to speak for the arts by attending board of supervisors FY 2020 budget town hall meetings. Now is the time to get involved with your community and support the arts.

March art event highlights

Join the arts community for a variety of events in March. The Fairfax Choral Society presents music of composers, past and present that inspire thoughts about life on March 17, and The Fairfax Symphony presents students from Amit Peled’s studio of the Peabody Institute on March 31 both at Providence Presbyterian Church. McLean Project for the Arts is celebrating Youth Art Month by featuring work from students in the Fairfax County Public Schools Langley and McLean pyramids and the Fairfax Choral Society’s youngest choirs present “Bugtopia!” at United Methodist Church on March 16. For a great laugh, get your tickets for the Workhouse Arts Center’s presentation of “The Explorers Club” showing through March 31.

End the month by celebrating Women’s History Month and women in the arts. Join ARTSFAIRFAX President & CEO, Linda Sullivan and Senator Jennifer Boysko at the 4th Annual Women’s Choral Festival hosted by Capital Harmonia at the Community of Faith in Herndon on March 31. For more Fairfax events or more about the arts, visit

The County Art’s Buzz – February

  • Each year, ARTSFAIRFAX connects professional artists with teachers to create an art learning experience beyond the traditional classroom lesson.This year, ARTSFAIRFAX placed three Fairfax County artists into three FCPS middle schools. Heidi Fortune Picker’s residency at Holmes MS explores movement and language arts. Suzy Scollon’s residency engages art students at Frost MS in making connections between visual arts and creative writing, and Chitra Sharma’s residency integrates printmaking into social studies and language arts with Glasgow MS students.
  • The Artist Residency Program trains professional artists to integrate their art practice into Fairfax County Public Schools’ (FCPS) curriculum to broaden students’ education experience and to help them develop skills that are adaptable to their classes and ultimately the workforce. Artists work with art teachers to develop and integrate innovative activities into students’ daily work during the residency. The program is open to sixth, seventh and eighth-grade art students.
  • Nominate your favorite arts organization or individuals by Feb. 14Nominations for the 2019 Arts Awards are accepted through Feb. 14. The public is encouraged to recognize their favorite arts organization or individuals in the following categories: Arts Philanthropy, Arts Achievement, and the Emerging Arts Awards. For more information and to learn how you can participate, visit the ARTSFAIRFAX website or call 571-395-4619.

    The Workhouse Arts Center needs your innovative ideas

    How art integrates into our daily life is an essential topic at any age. Fairfax County citizens have an opportunity to share their innovative ideas to transform the Workhouse Arts Center into the County’s first mixed-use arts campus. Planners are looking for ideas that complement the existing studio, gallery and museum spaces. For more information, visit the Workhouse Campus RFI or contact Regina Coyle with the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning at 703-324-1214, TTY 711.

  • Creative Aging Festival is seeking artistsFairfax County and ARTSFAIRFAX’s Creative Aging Festival is seeking artists to participate in the 2019 Creative Aging Festival (CAF) to be held throughout Fairfax during May in conjunction with Older Americans Month. The Festival engages seniors (50+) and creates opportunities for long-term partnerships. Interested artists should upload information on the ARTSFAIRFAX website to be included in the CAF Resource Guide.

    Operating Support Grants workshop on Feb. 22

    ARTSFAIRFAX welcomes all arts organizations to the Operating Support Grants workshop on Feb. 22 and the Project Support Workshop on March 14.

    Art offerings in February

    Fairfax County has plenty of art offerings in February:

     Arts Herndon presents their 10th Annual Fine Art Photography Exhibit throughout the month

     Wolf Trap Opera and the Washington Concert Opera will present “Martin Le Vin Herbe”

     MVLE welcomes participants of their inclusive performance lab class with “Body Wise Dance”

     The Workhouse Arts Center is hosting events to introduce new participants to programs

     Creative Cauldron presents “Thunder Knocking on the Door” at various times and dates through the month