June 9, 2021
E/D Corner: Spotlight- Alexandra Rossi
Public Art Reston Communications Committee member Alexandra Rossi, who has lived in three countries and nine cities and is multi-lingual, considers Reston one of the “best places” that she has ever lived “in terms of peace, quality of life, and community.” Saying “Reston opened its warm arms to me at all levels since the day I moved here in 2010,” Rossi, president and senior marketing director of ARM Integrated Communications (https://armcommu.com), enthused, “I have met amazing friends here; I have connected with great professionals to help grow my businesses, and I have gotten involved in the community, volunteering in several local organizations with my marketing skills.”
Reston’s special characteristics were reinforced and fixed in her mind by one of her fondest memories – her interview with Reston’s late founder Robert E. Simon Jr. on the occasion of his 101st birthday in 2015 for her then magazine Reston Lifestyle. Meeting him in his Heron House apartment, she recalled taking along her 9-year-old daughter because it was a school snow day and how open and wonderful he was with them both. He answered all her questions honestly, even those highly personal, and spoke in French with her daughter before they left.
“That was the last time I talked with him before he passed away,” she reminisced, “and that experience has been embedded in my heart. Living and working in Reston is living in the materialized dream of a dreamer.
Rossi, who immigrated to the United States in 1997 and became an American citizen in 2008, also greatly admires how multicultural Reston is as a community and believes Public Art Reston “should definitely take advantage of that.” Born in Colombia to a Spaniard mom and an Italian dad, both immigrants to that country, she remembered feeling different there and again the many challenges she faced as an immigrant building a successful new life in this country. Her daughter, she said, “has grown up knowing that she is lucky, and that hard work, honesty, and perseverance are the pillars to reach her dreams in this amazing country or anywhere she goes.”
“The immigrant community,” she suggested, “has so much to give to public art, especially when there are so many different nationalities in Reston, each one of them with their own culture and art expressions.” She urged directly involving Reston’s rich immigrant community in the creation of future works of public art, saying “they can leave a splash of their own cultures on them.”
For Rossi, whose background in advertising, marketing and publishing is full of art and creativity, “public art is extremely important … refreshing to the senses … is the expression of what we all have inside, and it’s a way to connect the community from the heart.”
Alexandra can be reached at: email@example.com
Perspective on What is Public Art?
What is Public Art? This is the question I will ask myself and you, the reader, to ponder each month in our newly christened newsletter, “Emerge”. Indeed, I hope to hear from you! Feel free to share your views about public art with me, Phoebe Avery, Public Art Reston’s Public Art Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will use this space to address your thoughts while offering my own. Frankly, despite a life spent looking at, studying and thinking about art, I don’t have a direct answer to this question.
If you asked me to define public art in 2014, the year I volunteered to help with Patrick Dougherty’s temporary installation, A Bird in the Hand, in Reston’s Town Square Park, it included outdoor sculpture. After judging the chalk drawings at 2015’s Chalk on the Water at Lake Anne Village Center my response evolved and incorporated such community-centric, outdoor art-making events. That year, I also began researching and writing the Public Art Tour Seriesfor Lake Anne Village Center. In the process, I learned how central public art was to Reston’s founding. My definition further expanded when considering the fully integrated, open-air play sculptures designed for Washington Plaza by Gonzalo Fonseca and James Rossant. This was a radical concept for 1965!
The common threads among these examples are outdoor and accessible experiences with art. Please join me here to do some expansive thinking on this topic while exploring the ways artists shape and activate our communal, open spaces. Like the myriad examples mentioned above, I am certain the discussion will broaden and redefine our perspective.
Valerie Theberge: Virtual Studio Tour + Interview
As mentioned in our first edition of Emerge, we wanted to highlight the amazing work of Artist Valerie Theberge. Listen to her as she makes her process visible. If you want to hear more, see details below for this Sunday!