May 16, 2022

Meet Public Art Reston’s Founding Partners

– A New Q & A Series –

Public Art Reston was formed about 15 years ago by a group of civic leaders representing Reston’s key community organizations.

Over this year, each issue of Emerge will present a Q&A as a means of shining a spotlight on these founding partners. In this series, you will hear from board representatives from the following organizations: the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, Reston Association, Reston Community Center, Reston Town Center Association, Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art (Tephra ICA) League of Reston Artists, and the Office of the Hunter Mill Supervisor.

In this issue, we will spotlight Jaynelle Hazard, Executive Director and Curator, Tephra ICA. 

Leila Gordon
Jaynelle Hazard, Tephra ICA executive director and curator,
standing in front of Bouyant Force
Q & A Jaynelle Hazard

Jaynelle Hazard, executive director and curator of the Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art in Reston, who was appointed in April 2020, joined this key Reston cultural institution at a pivotal and dynamic time in its nearly five-decade history. During her two-year tenure so far, the former Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE), one of Public Art Reston’s founding partners, rebranded itself as Tephra ICA and galvanized its efforts to amplify its identity as a compelling cultural destination along Metro’s Silver Line. Tephra ICA, which Washingtonian magazine recently included in its list of “10 Cool Art Galleries Around the DC Area,” is a nonprofit, non-collecting institution “committed to promoting innovative contemporary art and thinking.” At the time of her appointment, Hazard said, “I intend to expand GRACE’s already critically engaged practice by introducing new methods to advance scholarship; extend its reach in interdisciplinary experimentation of contemporary art and ideas; and engage audiences of all backgrounds and identities. … With a curatorial foundation and leadership style rooted in care, I am excited to lead GRACE as a catalyst and generator by being the bridge between the public and the most innovative art of our time.” Hazard received her BA in Fashion Design & Merchandising from Virginia Commonwealth University and her MA in Art Business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York. Prior to joining Tephra ICA, she was director of exhibitions for the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, where she oversaw five main gallery spaces, six artist-run galleries, outdoor installations and community-related projects. This coming weekend (May 20-22), the rebranded Tephra ICA Festival (formerly the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival) will present more than 200 artists, exhibiting throughout Reston Town Center. Public Art Reston also will be participating with a special commissioned mural project. (See more about this mural project in this issue of Emerge.)

Q & A:

  • What is the specific mission of your organization, and how exactly does it contribute to the Reston community?

Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art (Tephra ICA) is a 501c3 non-profit, non-collecting institution committed to promoting innovative contemporary art and thinking. The word “tephra” – matter ejected from geothermal eruptions that lands upon, nourishes, and changes the surrounding environment – emphasizes the institution’s belief in the combustibility of creativity and the generation of ideas and growth that the arts can provide.

We work with artists, galleries, institutions, universities, thought leaders, and collectors globally. We rely on a variety of funding sources for programming, including memberships, sponsorships, grants, donations, and other fundraising efforts.


Formally known as Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE), the idea of rebranding to Tephra ICA emerged as the institution’s programs, audience, and impact continued to evolve. We proudly reside in Reston, Virginia, whose founder, Robert E. Simon, insisted that it should be a place welcoming to all people and that it prioritize the arts as essential to a well-rounded life. Founded in 1974 as the Greater Reston Arts Center by local artists and residents committed to those ideas, Tephra ICA embraces the role of helping to fulfill and extend the original Reston vision.

  • What is your role in your organization?

In my role as Executive Director & Curator, I direct and oversee all programming, exhibitions, and operations. I work to find ways to advance arts scholarship; extend the institution’s reach in interdisciplinary experimentation of contemporary art and ideas; and engage artists, audiences, and collaborators of all identities that help further our mission.


  • Why did your organization choose to become a founding partner of Public Art Reston, whose mission is to bring outstanding public art to the community that strengthens its visual identity?

Tephra ICA, then Greater Reston Arts Center, became a founding partner of Public Art Reston before I joined the institution, but the reasons are evident. The community effort to have Reston organizations come together to raise up an organization that emphasizes the importance of not only the arts, but public art, is absolutely beautiful. With Reston’s history being built upon the ideas of Bob Simon and spearheaded by key individuals like Joe Ritchey who paved a path for organizations like Public Art Reston, says a lot about the incredible values of the Reston community.


  • In what ways has your organization supported Public Art Reston’s mission?

In most recent years, Tephra ICA has partnered with Public Art Reston in many ways, such as in presenting the public art installation, A Bird in Hand by Patrick Dougherty in 2015. Public Art Reston provided great support to Tephra ICA in their presentation of Buoyant Force by artist and George Mason University professor Sue Wrbican.


Public Art Reston has been a valued partner for the Tephra ICA Festival, formerly the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival, for many years. In fact, we’re excited to have Public Art Reston join us for the Tephra ICA Festival this coming weekend, on May 20-22! Now in its 31st year, the Festival brings more than 200 artists working in the fields of fine art and fine craft to present and sell artwork in Reston Town Center. This year, Public Art Reston, in partnership with Boston Properties, is commissioning a live public art activation during the Festival where volunteers will help the commissioned artist team transform a section of the blank construction wall in Reston Town Center into a new community mural with a vivid story. Festival visitors will be able to explore playful hands-on activities celebrating the importance of public art.

  • What gratifies you about Public Art Reston’s progress and accomplishments over the past 15 years of its history?

I learn more about Public Art Reston, its history, and accomplishments as time goes on. What has stuck out to me the most is the success of the Patrick Dougherty’s A Bird in Hand installation. Dougherty, with the help of an incredible amount of community volunteers, constructed one of his well-known site-specific sculptures in Reston Town Square Park. He and the volunteers sourced saplings by hand from forested areas in the region to build a structure, entirely made of sticks, that resulted in an immersive, otherworldly sculpture. Visitors were invited to step inside and travel through the twisting, towering, soaring installation and were inspired by ideas and memories like playing in the woods as a child or exploring a bird’s nest. The community being invested and a major part of making it all happen is one of my favorite parts of what art can provide.


I also believe that Public Art Reston received a very generous grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to support this project which is yet another example of the installation’s huge success.


  • What priorities would you like to see Public Art Reston now set?

I would love to see Public Art Reston continue to present ambitious projects, like the Dougherty installation. I think there’s so much potential for a creative, executive leader to build upon and advance Public Art Reston’s vision and impact within the community. This is a time where the arts are not only uplifting and fulfilling but they are also provoking new thoughts and ideas. I would like to continue to see Public Art Reston tap into and feel the pulse of the arts field and allow that to inspire their next series of initiatives.

  • What is your favorite public artwork in Reston, anywhere else in the world, too? And why for both?


I have to be a little biased and say that Buoyant Force is my favorite artwork in Reston. Buoyant Force is a 50-foot steel sculpture by Sue Wrbican inspired by the paintings of American Surrealist Kay Sage. Sage is recognized for her paintings of scaffolded structures and furled fabric in desolate landscapes. This sculpture is bringing awareness to art history and well-positioning a contemporary artist in the art historical canon. Again, Public Art Reston provided great support for this project.

Tephra ICA partnered with American University’s Playful City Lab led by Benjamin Stokes to introduce an interactive feature for the sculpture – the Buoyant Oracle. The Buoyant Oracle encourages visitors to visit the sculpture and explore the feature which is activated by using your phone to scan the on-site QR code. Once activated, in a conversational mode, the sculpture sends participants annotated photographs similar to polaroids that reveal the layered history, artist philosophy, and production process behind the monumental artwork. Connected to the surrealist tradition of the sculpture, the participant will also encounter Oracles, 20 women-identifying artists in the D.C. metropolitan region, presenting artworks and “predictions for the future”. Those 20 artworks and predictions will culminate with an exhibition at Tephra ICA at Signature gallery this fall.

To name my favorite sculpture in the world is a hard task! Speaking to here and now, I would most certainly say Simone Leigh’s recent installation at the Venice Biennale’s U.S. Pavilion, Sovereignty. The installation is breathtaking, poetic, and explores social practice by centering race, beauty, community, and care. It invokes the female body, African sculpture, and the surrounding architecture. I have not yet seen it in person, but I believe I would walk away feeling a range of emotions and fulfilled.

Simone Leigh_ Sovereignty
Photo credit:Venice Biennale, “Simone Leigh: Sovereignty,”
U.S, Pavilion, 2022

Calling all Reston Artisans and Makers

In partnership with Reston Association (RA), Public Art Reston has updated a recent call to submit birdhouse design/build concepts for a new pollinator garden planned for the Lake Thoreau pool renovations. Based on the advice of our local birding community, the birdhouses will now be decorative and non-functional due to their proximity to each other, which is not conducive for safe nesting of native bird populations.

Submissions are due May 26. This public art installation will be visible from the pool, the public path, and the lake and enjoyed by passersby for years to come. Public Art Reston is proud to support this project, one that fosters Reston’s commitment to public art and environmental stewardship.  

To learn more about this open birdhouse call and apply click on this linkopens PDF file .

Dogwood Mural Flyer 2022

May is for Murals and Volunteering!

Public Art Reston is excited to announce not one but two murals coming to Reston in May. Join us for a live mural creation by Leesburg design team Sagetopia at the Tephra ICA Festival, May 20-22, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm. Everyone is invited to watch the artists, take photos with Art Looks Good on You! for a chance to win free ice cream and make some art at Public Art Reston’s festival booth.

More mural art will happen May 23-27, when Richmond-based artist Hamilton Glass will be in Reston to paint P.E.A.C.E, the newest public mural planned for the exterior of Dogwood Elementary School. All are welcome to come meet Glass and watch his process throughout the week.

Sign-up here to volunteer at Public Art Reston’s festival booth with mural-related art activities. (link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/8050e49a4af28a75-public)

Contact Rachel.Albert@fcps.educreate new email for volunteer opportunities to assist Hamilton Glass at Dogwood ES.

More about the murals:

Murals are a highly recognizable, accessible and admired form of public art. An artwork with ancient origins, murals have been around since the first humans created cave paintings on walls. For centuries, murals have transformed public spaces by adding color and beauty to otherwise plain walls and streets and often boosting an area’s economy by making its location an art destination. Public Art Reason is collaborating this May on two special mural projects – one at Reston Town Center and the other at Dogwood Elementary School.

  • Art Looks Good on You! – a live public art activation offered during the Tephra ICA Festival, May 20-22, at Reston Town Center.


Public Art Reston in partnership with Boston Properties is commissioning an artist team from the Leesburg design firm Sagetopia to transform a section of the blank construction wall at the corner of the Reston Town Center pavilion into a new community mural. Sung Hee Kim, Sagetopia’s creative director, is leading the team. The lively, colorful design is inspired by some of Reston’s public art. Giving it life beyond the festival, the mural will be painted on vinyl sheets, so it may be removed and displayed elsewhere in Reston Town Center when construction is complete. While the public will not be directly involved in the creation of this public art mural, audiences are encouraged to take and share photos inspired by the message, Art Looks Good on You. Public Art Reston will also be offering a related, family-oriented art-making experience throughout the festival.

  • E.A.C.E – a new public mural painted by Hamilton Glass, May 23-27, at Dogwood Elementary School


Over a year, Dogwood Elementary School students collaborated with Richmond-based artist Hamilton Glass on a colorful wall mural with a social justice-oriented message (and also based on the school’s motto) that now graces the building’s hallway. A second, similarly social justice messaged mural collaboration will soon enhance an exterior wall at the school. For the outdoor mural, Dogwood ES reached out to Public Art Reston and Reston Community Center (RCC) for their assistance. RCC provided funding for Glass’s commission fee and related expenses. Public Art Reston is co-organizing related community-wide events and mural signage. Glass will visit Dogwood ES to paint this second mural during the week of May 23, including at the school’s first-ever International Night on May 25. To learn more about Glass and his public art mural for Dogwood Elementary School, click on the YouTube link below to watch his interview with Public Art Reston’s intern and GMU sophomore, Aseeyah Walker.

Accessibility Tools