Now more than ever, Reston’s public art collection can provide moments of reflection and creativity both from the comfort of home or while enjoying art in the great outdoors! #PublicArtfromAtoZ is a virtual series of art activities inspired by each of Reston’s 50+ permanent public artworks located throughout the community. Whether discovering them for the first time or revisiting some personal favorites, a description of each artwork is paired with accessible ideas for hands-on activities and projects, using common household items and suitable for all ages, to spur the imagination and engage the mind and senses.

#PublicArtfromAtoZ will take you on a creative journey across Reston (and the alphabet!) starting with Stephen Robin’s bursting Basket of Flowers and ending with Reston Town Center’s welcoming Weathervanes. Download the Public Art Map of Reston for all public art locations. With Reston Public Art Bike Rides you can also enjoy viewing artworks while following three different trails.

We would also love to see what you make! Share your creations with us at info@publicartreston.org or post them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and use #publicartreston.

Basket of Flowers by Stephen Robins

For younger children


How many different kinds of flowers do you see in Stephen Robins’ Basket of Flowers? Are any of them blooming right now?  Grab some paper and pencils (maybe a clipboard too!) and go on a walk with your family to spot, identify and draw spring flowers (make sure to observe social distancing).

Berlin Wall Fragment

For younger children


It is hard right now when you can’t spend time with your friends. Not too long ago people living in the city of Berlin, Germany were also separated, but by a wall. There was a West Berlin and an East Berlin and the two sides of the city could not communicate with each other. People spray painted pictures and messages on the wall to express themselves.  The wall eventually came down and we have a piece of it right here in Reston!  What kinds of messages would you leave right now to tell your friends about things that you are thinking and feeling?  Grab a stone outside while on a walk and paint it with a picture that represents how you feel or start a daily journal.

Book of Love by Anne Nagy

All ages


If you have visited Reston Regional Library you have seen Drainsville Elementary School art teacher Anne Nagy’s giant Book of Love. It celebrates the magic of books with its golden cover and the unique hearts that represent important people in the artist’s life. Get inspired by Book of Love to create your own book. Design the cover and fill it with all the things that are most important to you.  Here’s a link for some great ideas for making different kinds of books with items you may have around the house!

Cadmiosaur by John Parker

For all ages


Parker’s creature is composed of straight lines and many angles much like the folds you make in origami. Try your hand at making this origami dinosaur or search for other origami tutorials on youtube to learn how to make a 3-dimensional creature similar to Cadmiosaur!

Or create an imaginary creature of your own with your whole family! Grab some paper, pencils, markers, crayons (and even paints and brushes) and have each person add their part to what will become a completely unique creature. Before you begin you could look at some pictures of dinosaurs, insects, and other animals and study their appearance for inspiration. When you are finished give your new species a name!

Convergence by Zachary Oxman

All ages


For artist Zack Oxman his sculpture Convergence represents a figure in the process of transformation.

The figure in Convergence looks like it is emerging from a retracting camera lens. Let this inspire you to look through the lens of a camera as a tool for exploration. Whether you are staying in or taking a safe walk, set up a photo scavenger hunt! Younger kids could find different colors, shapes, and objects while teens could explore textures, lines, and more abstract concepts while framing pictures.

Decorative Icons (Lakeside Pharmacy Icons) by Ivan Chermayeff and Tom Geismer for Whittlesey & Conklin

For all ages


The Decorative Icons were part of a series of eye-catching signage created by renowned graphic designers Ivan Chermayeff and Tom Geismer for the first storefronts at Lake Anne Village Center. Did you know they also designed the now-famous logos for Mobil Oil, the Smithsonian, and PBS among many others?

A logo is an important visual tool for establishing a brand or identity. Can you think of some logos you see every day (the Starbucks mermaid, McDonald’s golden arches, Reston Association’s green tree)? Design a logo to represent yourself or your family, your school, or a favorite restaurant or company. Imagine if McDonald’s or the Olympic committee hired you to create a new image to promote their brand.

Here is a fun website for kids to learn about more about design and its history.

Duck, Duck, Goose by Penny Hauffe

All ages


Penny Hauffe’s whimsical series of three artist-designed bike racks installed near Lake Newport is not only inspired by Reston’s wildlife but also takes its title from a familiar game.

What kind of bike rack could you design? Imagine installing them in front of your school or in different locations around Reston. Start with a brainstorming session coming up with ideas based on the location and how you could visually connect the design to the place.

Emerge by Valerie Theberge

For all ages


Valerie Theberge created the organic, natural forms of Emerge using thousands of small pieces of multi-colored glass and mirrors. The pieces used to make a mosaic are called tesserae.

Mosaics can be made with all kinds of materials. Get inspired to create a mosaic based on nature using paper or cardboard as your base. Glue small pieces from magazines, scrap paper, newspapers, buttons, dry pasta & beans, bottle caps, etc. next to each other to create a colorful design. Consider making an outline first with a single color and then filling it in. Or use the internet to look up edible mosaics!

Fidelity of Form by Dennis Heimbach

For younger children


In Fidelity of Form, Dennis Heimbach implies movement with elongated, curving stainless steel shapes that seem to dance in the breeze. Spring is a great time to explore harnessing the wind. Let Heimbach’s sculpture inspire you to find a safe spot to fly a favorite kite. Or better yet search the internet for easy homemade kite tutorials or how to make a ribbon wand!

Flux by Valerie Theberge

For all ages


This colorful mosaic water feature by Valerie Theberge is inspired by the diversity and adaptability of the tiny microorganisms that live all around us. 

Scientific exploration provides a rich source of artistic inspiration. Use the internet to discover different types of microorganisms and like Flux use them to create a watercolor.  Trace a circle onto your paper using a plate and pretend it is a petri dish by filling it with the shapes of fungus, bacteria, and protozoa as if you were looking at them under a microscope.

Fountain by LBC & W Architects

For all ages


Designed by architects, Fountain is a functional sculpture (the fountain feature is not currently used) that might remind you of a medieval tower or modern skyscraper.

Grab a deck of playing cards and try your hand at stacking and balancing projecting forms while making a house of cards. See how far you can get stacking them before they fall over! OR raid the recycling bin and make a towering sculpture by slotting together cut-out and decorated cardboard shapes or use toilet paper or paper towel rolls. Explore the internet for some great ideas & printables!

Harmony Ridge by Robert Lobe

For all ages


Robert Lobe finds beauty in rock formations and fallen tree limbs on his nature walks. In sculptures like Harmony Ridge, he pounded aluminum sheets around their forms to create a permanent record of their shape and texture. 

Look for fallen branches and rocks with interesting shapes.  At home, press aluminum foil over the objects to capture their texture and form.  The objects can then be removed and reused to make multiple foil molds. Like Lobe, explore different arrangements. You could attach them with tape or straight pins and paint them too to make a variety of sculptures.

Horseshoes by David Showalter and Alexandra Stambaugh

All ages


Did you know Reston used to have riding stables? The two artists who created the designs for these whimsical bike racks paid tribute to the former horse barn located at the site. They also turned a useful object into a fun work of art.

Artists are often inspired by a particular location when creating public art. Site-specific refers to works made for a particular place.  Explore the work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, known for temporary, site-specific projects. Take a photo in your neighborhood, print it in black and white on an 8 ½” x 11” sheet of paper. Use colorful materials to design your own site-specific work of art.

Iris by Daniel Goldstein

For younger children


Iris, by Daniel Goldstein, is a soaring combination of curving forms that suggest the flower of the title through simplified, abstract shapes.

Think like an abstract artist and create a fanciful flower design using cut-out paper shapes or bent pipe cleaners. What type of flower inspires you? What sorts of basic shapes do you see in it? Or safely get out in nature to find flowers and leaves to use as natural stamps by dipping them in paint and onto paper creating an abstract bouquet and then draw the vase to hold it!

Lookout Tower by James Rossant

All ages


James Rossant designed the Lookout Tower as a fun element at Lake Anne Village Center that offers a different way to experience the space. He called it a “moon viewing platform”. 

Draw your own imaginary platform. What you will see from it?  Where will it take you? Include the view in your drawing.

Memorial Sun Dial by Wayne Hughes

For all ages


Have you ever seen the sundial at the Walker Nature Center? It is the perfect spot for a device that harnesses the position of the sun to tell time.

Try making an easy sundial at home. One using found sticks, stones, and a wristwatch is a great way for kids and their adults to explore this ancient technology! For details search “How to Make a Sundial” on the website, wikiHow.com.

Mercury Fountain by Saint Clair Cemin

All ages


The Roman god Mercury rises high above the water spray in the fountain at Reston Town Center designed by Saint Clair Cemin.  Mercury was famous for his speed, aided by his winged sandals & cap.

Each Roman god has particular traits that help to identify them. Delve into this fascinating mythology and search the internet for information to create a pack of Roman god trading cards (Pokemon style!). Draw a picture of the god with their trait on one side and a description of their personality on the back.

Midtown Community Mural by Dana Ann Scheurer

For all ages


Reston artist Dana Scheuer captures familiar sites around Reston in her Midtown Mural.

Relax with a coloring page of this artwork (put the link to the website page) to find your inner Zen. Or create a cityscape of your own inspired by the places you love by creating an outline in black of different types of buildings and filling them in with color!

Moorings Drive Underpass by Olin Russum

All ages


Potter Olin Russum made the Moorings Drive Underpass mosaic using large, hand-built fired clay slabs.

Recipes can be found on the internet for no-bake clays that can be made with pantry items combining baking soda, cornstarch & water. Make a clay tile inspired by nature like the work at the underpass. A great project can be found on the website artfulparent.com by searching “colorful clay relief”.

Mosaic Birdbath by Shahin Talishkhan, Valerie Theberge, Terraset Elementary School students

For all ages


The Mosaic Birdbath is covered in a swirling design of abstract flowers (made by Terraset Elementary School students!) surrounded by leaves that envelop the entire form and enhance its swelling shape. 

Transform any glass jar into a work of art with colorful tissue paper, pictures from magazines, glitter, etc. Paint specific areas as you attach materials with equal parts Elmer’s All-Glue & water mixed together (or mod podge) to create a colorful container like the Mosaic Birdbath. Or search the internet for some easy “decoupage” tutorials.

Mosaic Birdhouse Poles by Shahin Talishkhan, Valerie Theberge, Sunrise Valley Elementary School students 

All ages


Sunrise Valley Elementary School students had fun designing the patterns they applied to these Mosaic Birdhouse Poles.

Let these artworks inspire your own pattern exploration in a colorful drawing. With a dark color on a white horizontally-oriented piece of paper create a series of alternating, varied lines (straight, wavy, zigzag) from top to bottom leaving space in between.  Within each section make more patterns with more varied lines. Use colors and alternate them to fill in the spaces in between.

Mutual Understanding/Mutual Respect by m.l. duffy

For all ages


Artists create small-scale models (called maquettes) to develop a design concept. m.l. duffy created this model to present to the committee that selected his work Mutual Understanding/Mutual Respect for the Hunter Mill District County Governmental Center.

Imagine you were asked to submit a “design concept” for a new public artwork. Is there a particular place you would design it for? Think of ways to use materials you have at home to create a model.  We would love to see what you come up with!

Nokomis by Danny Lane

All ages


With Nokomis Danny Lane plays with the natural transparency of glass to create a sculpture that appears to shift and twist in space.

Create a twisting snake by drawing a spiral onto a paper plate and then cutting along the lines (with the help of a grown-up for younger ones). Using a white crayon draw “secret” designs that you will “reveal” by painting over them with watercolor. Add some glitter glue to make it sparkle in the light like Nokomis.

North Shore Drive Underpass by Gonzalo Fonseca

For all ages


Entering the North Shore Drive Underpass is like exploring a secret civilization that artist Gonzalo Fonseca filled with both familiar and mysterious forms to spur the imagination.

Turn a box on its side to create your own imaginary world with paint, markers, collage elements, and 3-dimensional objects.  Imagine who lived in this space.  What did they leave behind?  What do these objects tell us about their world?

Orb by RTKL, Inc. of Baltimore

All ages


This welcoming celestial globe incorporates different constellations to mirror the night sky.

Let the orb inspire you to draw or paint a starry night sky. Use black construction paper or a paper plate painted black and a white gel pen or white colored pencil to draw different constellations or use glow in the dark paint. Create a more colorful night sky in watercolor and then use a white gel pen to apply stars and planets. What constellations can we see right now? Apps like Star Walk are great guides.

Outdoor Wall Mural by Mike Pilato and Hunters Woods Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences 6th grade students

For all ages


Students at Hunters Woods Elementary School have participated in artist-led workshops to produce many wonderful public artworks throughout the school grounds including this colorful mural.

Set-up an art workshop at home. Cover a table to provide a large creative surface that can get messy and lay out a variety of materials and let the creative juices flow while making art together!

Pileated Woodpecker by Dana Ann Scheurer

All ages


A whimsical celebration of nature, Dana Scheurer captured Reston’s official bird on these artist-designed bike racks.

Spring is a great time for bird watching from a window or on a walk. Do you have a favorite bird? Think about its shape and color.  Draw a bird, real or imaginary, in its natural habitat adding as many details as you can think of.

Plaza Fountain by James Rossant

For all ages


For architect James Rossant, building sandcastles with his friend and fellow artist, Gonzalo Fonseca, inspired the organic forms of the Plaza Fountain.

Let the forms of the fountain inspire miniature structures made out of salt dough. Easy instructions can be found on the internet.  Once you bake your creations you can paint them or leave them in their natural state like the raw concrete of the Plaza Fountain.

Pulpit by James Rossant

All ages


James Rossant designed Pulpit using a fanciful combination of geometric shapes – rectangular prisms for stairs, a carved-out cube for the platform, and a slender cylinder for support. 

Explore creating 3-dimensional shapes on a 2-dimensional surface.Try drawing spheres, cubes, and cones. What else can they become?  An ice cream cone? Some dice? A house? An abstract design? It is also fun to practice your name with 3-d letters.

Pylon by Gonzalo Fonseca

For all ages


Pylon is full of different textures including its rough outer surface molded from raw concrete. Gonzalo Fonseca also reveals smooth 3-D shapes inside mysterious niches as well as a spiky starburst made from one of the metal rods that reinforce the concrete sculpture.

Explore texture by making a simple rubbing. Find surfaces on a walk or at home to capture with a piece of paper and the flat side of a crayon or soft pencil. It is also fun to explore texture by drawing with crayons or pastels on a flattened out, crumpled paper bag!

Pyramid by James Rossant

All ages


Ancient pyramids can be found around the world in many different forms and materials. James Rossant’s molded concrete Pyramid is inspired by such structures, but the abstract sculpture is also his own invention, and one made on a more human, accessible scale that also invites play.

Invent your own kind of pyramid with paper, by stacking craft sticks, or using other household items that can be secured with glue and painted in colorful hues. Or build a pyramid with Legos or a deck of cards. And don’t forget to share your structure with us!

Reston Rondo by Mary Ann Mears

For all ages


The playful, curving forms of Reston Rondo imply movement. Artist Mary Ann Mears chose a musical reference for her title that like the repeated arching elements in her sculpture have a recurring theme.

Let the music be your guide in a freehand drawing that responds to sound. Play your favorite music and let the rhythm guide you. Interpret what you hear with your marks on the paper. When you are finished notice if there are repetitions in your drawing. What did you feel while you were drawing it?

Restosauria by John Parker

All ages


Parker created Restosauria during an artist-residency at South Lakes High School and chose a name that he says means “Restonian Creature” for his imaginary welded steel figure that conjures a prehistoric animal.

Imagine you have unearthed the fossils of a previously unknown dinosaur and you get naming rights. Draw, paint, or create a sculpture of your find!

September 11th Memorial by Kathy Walden Kaplan

For all ages


The September 11th Memorial relief sculpture explores the healing power of nature to help us to find hope in our surroundings and remember those we have lost.

Now is a great time to talk to our friends and relatives and share our stories. Tell some stories at home or through a video chat. As you listen, take notes. Find images of nature in magazines and use these to make a collage. Overlay the images with the story to create a visual memory-scape.

Swing by William Roehl in collaboration with Conklin & Rossant

All ages


Installed in 1966, Swing is a tall open frame and recreational seating element that has offered decades of restful moments to passersby and space to enjoy the view.

What is your view right now? Draw a window frame on a piece of paper and capture the view as you see it from your home or one from your imagination. Maybe you see life on other planets or a fantastical forest!

The Force of Nature by Lorenzo Quinn

For all ages


Force of Nature is a dramatic symbol of the classic struggle between humans and the planet we inhabit. Artist Lorenzo Quinn created this ode to Mother Nature in response to worldwide natural disasters.

Artists often draw our attention to the power of nature and its dual role as a force for good and of destruction. On a walk, study nature through a photographic lens or through quick pencil sketches to capture evidence of trees affected by storms and or any place that highlights nature’s dramatic moments!

Sun Boat by Gonzalo Fonseca

All ages


A sophisticated sculptural environment that is also a beloved playground, Gonzalo Fonseca’s Sun Boat has taken kids and their grown-ups to imaginary worlds for over 50 years.

Take a fantastical journey on a homemade egg carton boat. Use a chopstick, pencil, or sturdy straw for a mast. Secure it with ribbon or string pulled and tied through the bottom of the carton on either end and tied underneath. Attach paper sails and artfully decorate your ship. Find some play figures (or make your own out of corks) to travel with you to far-off lands!

Thoreau’s Ensemble by Ben Volta

For all ages


Thoreau’s Ensemble includes over 750 individual drawings made in community workshops led by artist, Ben Volta. The project was inspired by Reston’s 55 miles of paths and a quote from naturalist, Henry David Thoreau.

Create your own family path drawing. Orient pieces of paper horizontally. Make a dot on either edge at the same place on each sheet so your drawings will connect. Start with pencil at one end and create a path with whatever type of line inspires you and that connects to the other side of the paper. Go over lines in black and add colorful designs to see where they lead.

Trolls by Mary LaRue Wells

All ages


Mary LaRue Wells created a magical world of fairytale figures underneath a walking bridge to be discovered, like a good story, by people passing by. 

The artist titled, Trolls, after the two main figures. What do you know about such creatures? Make up a story with your family using Trolls as your inspiration. Each person will write a part of the story based on the sculpture and then fold the paper so the next person cannot see it until the story is finished.

Untitled by David Holland

For all ages


Artist David Holland carved this abstract sculpture using an age-old method, known as the subtractive process, where material is removed to reveal the finished form.         

Stone carving requires a lot of technical skill and physical effort, but a soft bar of soap, a plastic knife, a paper clip, and a pencil is all you need to get the hang of it.  A great instructional video can be found on Youtube at #metkids – how to make a soap carving.  Make a soap sculpture and share it with us.

Untitled (Footbridge) by David Robinson / Natural Edge

All ages


This charming footbridge highlights the beauty of two indigenous tree species, Red Cypress & Osage Orange, and melds beautifully with its natural setting.

Test your knowledge of local trees and make a drawing or take photographs of the different species near your home. What are the shapes of the leaves? Is the bark rough or smooth? Is it deciduous or coniferous? Learn more about Virginia indigenous trees indigenous on the internet.

Untold Stories by Zachary Oxman

For younger children


Zach Oxman captures the welcoming spirit of Robert E. Simon, Jr. in Untold Stories with the relaxed, open pose and a title that suggests a chance conversation.

What story would you tell Mr. Simon right now? Create a picture book that you can share with your family. Staple some sheets of paper together and illustrate a cover for your story. Fill the pages with pictures to bring your words to life on the pages. Have fun sharing it.  We would love to see it too!

Van Gogh Bridge by William Roehl, Associate Partner, Conklin & Rossant

All ages


The picturesque design of Van Gogh Bridge is inspired by the painting of a drawbridge by the Post-Impressionist artist for which it is named.

Use a non-marking tape (artist tape, washi or masking) to create your own bridge picture across a piece of paper. Model it on Van Gogh Bridge or create an imaginary version.  Use watercolors, markers, crayons, or pastels to fill in landscape around it. Peel the tape away to reveal your bridge.

Viewer for the Age of Reason by Greg Shelnutt

For all ages


Artist Greg Shelnutt likes to tell stories with his sculptures.  What kind of story is he sharing with Viewer for the Age of Reason?  Perhaps the artist is asking us to look through his fanciful frame to help us see the world from a different perspective.

Try making a kaleidoscope for your own magical viewing experience.  Many simple tutorials using common household items can be found on YouTube.  Create a work of art by decorating the outside of the kaleidoscope with fun designs.

Wakan by Richard Lew

All ages


Artist Richard Lew explores the beauty inherent in stone and his native American heritage in his totem-like abstract sculpture, Wakan.  The title means “The Great Spirit” in the Lakota Sioux language.

That spirits reside in nature is a core belief for many American Indian cultures. Pacific Northwest tribes are known for their totem poles filled with abstract animal imagery that represent spirits. Make a simple totem pole from a paper towel roll or attached paper cups. Create a stacked design of different images of some of your favorite animals in a colorful composition.

Weathervanes by RTKL, Inc. of Baltimore

For all ages


Set at the entrance to Reston Town Center the Weathervanes were designed as a welcoming element to the commercial district.  Invented simultaneously in ancient Greece and China to gauge the wind’s direction weathervanes have been around for over 2,000 years.

Search YouTube for “weathervane school projects” that use common household items like cardboard, a pencil, and a straw for a homemade weathervane and do some wind tests of your own. Top your version with your own personal symbol!