Valerie Theberge
2010 | Glass and mirror mosaic tiles, stained glass

Emerge was the first permanent public artwork to be produced through a public art process facilitated and supported by Public Art Reston. Valerie Theberge was selected from a call to artists to create a site-specific work for the Glade Drive underpass that would bring distinction to one of Reston’s twenty-five such pedestrian tunnels. The Public Art Master Plan for Reston adopted in 2008 outlines the evolving role of public art in the community first established by Robert E. Simon, Jr.   Underpasses are identified among recreational areas and infrastructure to be enhanced by public art, and building on the strong tradition of public art first established at Lake Anne Village Center in the 1960s. 

The process for Emerge not only included community input during the selection process, but also the participation of fourth graders at Hunters Woods Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences. Through artist-led workshops, Theberge guided and inspired students to create the mosaic stars that decorate the top of the entrance to the tunnel and a section of the inner walls of the underpass. Indeed, Theberge wanted the artwork to be uplifting, whimsical, and optimistic.  Multiple shades of greens were chosen to reflect the rich vegetation in Reston. Fluid lines speak to the stream that flows near the underpass. Each motif in the mosaic was carefully created to echo the organic nature of the surroundings. The design transforms into a show of light and color upon closer inspection, with her inclusion of mirrored tiles and stained glass. 

Special thanks to Shahin Talishkhan for his participation in creating and producing this mosaic mural. Students: Ji Ahn, Sophia Applegate, Arko Bhattacharyya, Colin Carmody, Ananya Chowla, Julia Damron, Anahita Dhungel, Tyler Ellis, Rhett Fetter, Sam Gustafson, Olivia Heatherly, Alena Hussian, Kaitlyn Hyun, Varun Iyengar, Liam Kenefick, Bill Kidwell, Monica Lannen, Dounia Lazreq, Alyssa Luehring, Tenzin Namgyel, Madina Noristani, Megan Parmer, Shereen Raza, Arpithia Shenoy, Victoria Sova, Noah Taylor, Bradley Thomas, Michael Tishner, Catrin Waters, and Jonas Wilson. As well as Anita Damron (Parent), Kathleen Hinson (Teacher), Arona Iyengar (Parent), Norma Morris (Art Teacher and HWES project coordinator), and Olivia Toatley (Principal).

Owned by Reston Association

Sponsored by Public Art Reston, Reston Association, Reston Community Center, Hunters Woods Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences, with grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Arts Council of Fairfax County