September 28, 2022
Meet Public Art Reston’s Founding and Community Partners
– A Monthly 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 is presenting a Q&A as a means of shining a spotlight on these founding partners. Already profiled in this series were Public Art Reston founder Joe Ritchey and representatives from the following organizations: Reston Association, Reston Community Center, Tephra Institute for Contemporary Art, South Lakes High School’s STEAM Team, the League of Reston Artists and its founder and arts activist Pat Macintyre, and the Reston Museum. Future Q&As will feature representatives from the Town Center Association and the Office of the Hunter Mill Supervisor. In this issue, we will spotlight Charles Kapur, president and CEO of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce.
Charles Kapur has been president and CEO at Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce for the past three years. A charter member of the Rotary Club of Ashburn, prior to assuming the leadership of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, he worked as a vice president at four banks, including John Marshall, Access National, Eagle, and Virginia Commerce, primarily in treasury services and management. Kapur also worked at BB&T Bank earlier in his career. A graduate of George Mason University with a BS degree in management, in addition, he graduated from the Virginia Banker’s Association School of Bank Management program, offered under auspices of the University of Virginia. Besides representing the chamber on the Public Art Reston Board of Directors, Kapur’s wholehearted arts-related volunteerism included serving as the second vice chair of the Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art’s board of directors and on the board of ArtsFairfax.
Kapur pictured with one of his favorite public artworks, Reston’s Midtown Community Mural by Dana Scheurer
Read Kapur's Full Q&A Here
- What is the specific mission of your organization, and how exactly does it contribute to the Reston community?
The mission of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce is to serve as the catalyst for business development and entrepreneurship in the Dulles corridor. We contribute to the growth and prosperity of our Reston community through programs that support businesses and civic organizations with a focus on education, marketing, community engagement, and public advocacy.
- What is your role in your organization?
I serve as president and CEO of the Greater Reston Chamber. I lead the chamber staff in the day-to-day operations of the organization to best meet the strategic vision and goals of the chamber’s membership-elected board of directors.
- 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?
The Greater Reston Chamber has long recognized the important role of public art in making Reston such a desired community in which to live, work, and play. The placemaking impact of our public art projects attracts world-class business investment, the best and brightest minds as both residents and our local workforce and strengthens our leisure and hospitality offerings.
- In what ways has your organization supported Public Art Reston’s mission?
The chamber has maintained its annual investment in Public Art Reston as a founding sponsor. The chamber has also maintained a voice in the organization’s strategic leadership as a member of its board of directors. Over the years, the chamber has helped elevate the visibility of Public Art Reston’s projects and community engagement initiatives by promoting them through our communications channels.
- What gratifies you about Public Art Reston’s progress and accomplishments over the past 15 years of its history?
The most gratifying accomplishment of Public Art Reston’s work over the past 15 years is its ability to gain recognition within our Reston community. There is a strong understanding, by the residents, employers, and employees of Reston, of the role that Public Art Reston has played in building such a dynamic community. There are not too many individuals working or living in Reston who have not been impacted by, or engaged in, a Public Art Reston initiative or event in some way.
- What priorities would you like to see Public Art Reston now set?
The landscape of Reston has changed considerably in recent years. The evolution of this community will continue over the next few decades. A new generation of businesses, residents, community and commercial occupancy will redefine some of what Reston currently is. It is important for Public Art Reston to continue to stay in tune with the needs and expectations of this changing community and maximize the use of its resources to maintain its role as a value-added organization to our town.
- What is your favorite public artwork in Reston, anywhere else in the world, too? And why for both?
My favorite piece of public art in Reston is the Midtown Community Mural by Dana Ann Sheurer, a longtime Reston resident. I remember my first time driving around Reston Town Center and how that piece captured my attention, in such stark contrast to the uniform look and color of the buildings around it. I would have to say, however, that the patriot in me would have to acknowledge Mount Rushmore as my favorite piece of public art in the world!
Biking Around Public Art
Read more about Westenhoff here
I’ve been biking around Reston for at least 10 years. When I first started, to explore the Reston Association paths more fully, I used the Reston map to guide me to the various pieces of sculptural art. Most of it is what I call “the legacy artwork” –- the ones first installed at Lake Anne Village Center in the 1960s. That, plus gliding by the artwork in Reston Town Center, made a genuinely nice full day’s ride. When Reston gained its first Metro station, there was an artwork explosion, south of the toll road and in the transit station area. Now there is so much that there are three distinct bike rides that show off the different areas.
The consistent factor with seeing these works is that driving by in a car just doesn’t do the pieces justice. Getting up close and personal, experiencing them in the setting chosen for them, surrounded by the noises of the woods or the transit area, all of these factors were lost trying to do an auto tour. Trying to walk to see them would be daunting, so the bike is a perfect vehicle, and the infrastructure largely supports it.
I am a bike instructor, teaching people how to ride, or how to ride more confidently. So, part of my motivation in developing the rides was to show people how easy (or challenging) it is to move around Reston on a bike. One can cover a lot of ground and see several works in one day without having to worry about parking or the price of gas. When it gets hot, I can lead people on a ride in the stream valleys where there’s shade. Along the way, I can help those who are struggling better understand how to use their bike to enjoy riding more. My hope is to encourage people who live in Reston to appreciate how richly blessed we are with art, infrastructure and natural elements that intertwine to make Reston the special place that it is. And if visitors like it too, that’s a bonus!
Fall for Reston’s Public Art
Valerie Theberge, Emerge, 2010