As Arts Herndon celebrated another successful Arts Week in the Town of Herndon, beginning with their record-breaking attendance at the "Herndon Children's Literary Festival" on Sunday, Oct. 7 and ending with the acclaimed "Portrait Competition," Saturday, Oct. 13, The Connection invited former member of the Virginia Commission for the Arts, Ann Rust of Herndon, to share her thoughts about arts offerings in the town.
Rust provided the following noting not only arts activities and venues in the Town's designated Arts District but throughout the Town's 4.2 square miles:
"The Arts speak a universal language to us all. They allow an emotional connection and a sharing of ideas without regard to age, cultural heritage, or economic background. The Arts build a sense of community."
By Ann Rust
One of the First
The Town of Herndon established one of the first Arts Districts in Virginia to encourage the Arts in its downtown. According to the town website, the Town provides incentives for qualifying arts businesses to remain, expand and locate in the district. Qualifying businesses include arts instruction, arts office, media arts, museum, performing arts, performing arts venue, visual arts creation and visual arts ...(they) may receive 100 percent reduction of planning, zoning and building permit application fees up to $2,000. Qualifying businesses must submit an application to the Town’s Community Development Department for review and approval.
The vibrant arts community in Herndon is both within the designated charter boundaries and outside of it. Highlighting a few of the sites is the nonprofit art gallery and performance space, ArtSpace Herndon located at 750 Center Street. It provides art education classes to the young and old. A gallery with rotating art exhibits features regional to international artists of acclaim and an artisan shop. Both offer original fine art and artisan items for sale to the public and businesses, such as Amazon Web Services.
Among its many programs, Arts Herndon produces the Third Thursday Arts Crawl Series May through September and offers by application arts scholarships and grants to small arts organizations and artists. Arts Herndon has provided a reported more than $100,000 in arts scholarships to local students. Arts Herndon also provides works of public art to the community such as the five original murals located in the downtown.
The Town is also home to the award-winning non-profit live professional theater company, NextStop Theatre located at 269 Sunset Park, Herndon. The venue as it is described on the organization's website is "A cleverly designed black-box theatre less than 1 mile from Reston Town Center (featuring) theatrical plays, music/opera performances, dinner packages and educational programs.”
Herndon is also home to Classical Ballet Theatre, located at 320 Victory Drive known by CBS D.C. as, "Best Places to See Ballet in the D.C. Area."
Herndon boasts the award-winning Herndon Festival with three stages with nearly non-stop entertainment and the annual Labor Day Festival, also alive with music. Friday Night Live and JamBrew provide free outdoor concerts in the heart of downtown Herndon on a weekly basis for five months each year. Concerts and music are common on weekend nights at local restaurants such as Ice House Cafe and Oyster Bar, Jimmy's Old Town Tavern and others.
In the Schools
Fairfax County Public schools in Herndon build a sense of community through the Arts at a young age, both in the performing and visual fields. Herndon Middle School boasts the Spirit of Herndon Band. The Herndon High School Marching Band, The Pride of Herndon, is nationally recognized and will represent the United States at the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France in June 2019. Arts programming in Herndon schools include visual and performing arts with dedicated and talented teachers.
The Herndon Fortnightly Library located in the heart of the Town offers excellent programming in the literary arts for all ages. The Herndon Community Center also provides arts programming, from classes in painting to guitar lessons. Moreover, Herndon celebrates the richness of its architecture, design, and style through the Herndon Homes Tour and the Herndon Garden Tour; both made possible through the efforts of countless community volunteers.
The Town of Herndon is committed to the Arts and actively seeks and receives funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), The Virginia Commission for the Arts, and ARTSFairfax. Funding from these sources and others help to support the Herndon Towne Square Singers, Arts Herndon, and NextStop Theatre.
Private arts businesses flourish in Herndon. Monroe Street Studios offers classes for children and adults. Fred Astaire Dance Studio Reston in Herndon is as they report, "Synonymous with the highest quality of dance instruction available." The Music Loft and Bach to Rock Music School offer music instruction for students of all ages and abilities. The Ice House Cafe has first-rate jazz performers on Saturday nights, and Right On Records has a fantastic collection of tunes.
Simply put, the Arts are On in Herndon.