South Lakes High School STEAM Team
July 2023 I Dimensioned Lumber, Paint, Polycarbonate Panels, Color Tint Vinyl, Screws, Wire Cable, Metal Hitching Rings

Our 2023 sculpture Rise is inspired by the rapid development of Reston. Just a few decades ago, Reston was a rural farmland community that Robert E. Simon dreamed of turning into a modern utopia. His dream would be realized years later, and Reston has now bloomed into a nationally renowned city and a hotspot for large corporations, contemporary houses, and an intertwined community like nowhere else. Rise represents the growing success of Reston that was founded on humble beginnings.

The objective interpretation of Rise is the growth of the population and literal construction of high-rises and infrastructure. Furthermore, Rise abstractly represents the community’s goals of reaching new heights in progress, innovation, and diversity.

The alternate colors, levels, and sizes depicted within our sculpture represent the diverse composition of our community. Reston is defined by different groups, families, friends, clubs, and schools, the combined aspects of which make Reston a home rather than a mere town.

Our community is host to a colorful combination of nationalities, sexualities, and cultures, all of which complement one another and ensure prosperity. The variety of colors and rising levels showcased by our sculpture are meant to depict these groups which build upon one another, helping our community reach its aspirations and Rise above any barriers we may face. This sculpture, symbolic of our love for this city, illustrates Robert E. Simon’s actualization of a town “closer to hearts desire” of its residents.

Photo of Rise at night by Connor Kehde.

Project History:

Rise is the 9th temporary installation realized by students at South Lakes High School (SLHS) for the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) Team public art club. Lake Thoreau resident James Pan approached Reston Association (RA) in 2012 with the idea of involving SLHS students in transforming the unattractive, concrete spillway platform into a work of art. With this initial financial funding, RA partnered with Public Art Reston to support SLHS art teacher, Marco Rando, who leads the STEAM Team after school club. Over the course of a school year STEAM Team members gain real world experience in all aspects of the design, development, and construction of a work of art through a professional public art process. They create design concepts and present them for initial review by the Public Art Reston Public Art Committee and then to the RA Design Review Board for final approval. The final design is tested for durability and constructed by students at the high school where it is disassembled and then reinstalled on the spillway by RA staff for all community members to engage with over the course of the installation.