McLean Project for the Arts (MPA) will accept the mantle to establish the next chapter of sculptor and longtime McLean resident Emilie Benes Brzezinski’s spectacular body of work. The gift was announced last night at MPA’s ArtSprings! Virtual Benefit, which featured remarks by Brzezinski’s children, Ian, Mark, and MSNBC journalist Mika Brzezinski.
“Mom’s art has inspired my brothers and me throughout our lives,” said daughter Mika Brzezinski. “Now with MPA’s lead, her works can continue to inspire generations to come.”
The Fairfax County Park Authority has acquired the family’s 5.45-acre property known as Spring Hill, which currently preserves open space and holds potential for a future community park.
“The entire MPA community is honored to receive this spectacular gift from Emilie Brzezinski and thrilled to work with the Brzezinski family in celebrating her vision of art in nature,” said MPA Executive Director Lori Carbonneau.
Ian Brzezinski, MPA board member, explained that “Given our respect for MPA’s place in the region’s art community, and Mom’s longstanding and authentic relationship with MPA, my family and I are thrilled that MPA has accepted our gift of mom’s many and magnificent sculptures. We are excited to continue and strengthen this relationship by giving MPA the lead in celebrating mom’s incredible body of work.”
Born in 1932 in Geneva, Switzerland, Emilie Brzezinski immigrated to the United States with her parents and grew up in California. She graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in Art History in 1953. Brzezinski began her art career in the 1970s working with a variety of media, including resins, latex, and wood fiber. Her expressive themes always related to nature. Eventually, she shifted focus to creating monumental wood sculpture, using a chain saw and ax to carve towering forms that breathed new life into felled trunks.
Over the past two decades, Brzezinski has had many gallery and museum installations in the U.S. and abroad. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Corcoran Museum and the Kreeger Museum, both in Washington, D.C., and has been shown at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Katzen Arts Center in Washington, D.C., and the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts. Her art can also be seen at sculpture parks across North America, including the Grounds for Sculpture in New Jersey, the Royal Botanical Garden in Hamilton, Ontario, the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park in New York and the Socrates Sculpture Park in New York. MPA Curator and Exhibitions Director, Nancy Sausser, first showed Brzezinski’s work in the 1980’s.
Many of Brzezinski’s works are in the Czech Republic, the country of her family’s origin. There, “Prague Titans” gazes upon the Vltava River, and a more restrained installation, “Broken Blocks,” can be seen in the National Gallery in Prague.
The Brzezinski family are long-time residents of McLean, Virginia. In the 1980s, Emilie Brzezinski built her studio on the family property. The widow of Zbigniew Brzezinski, and mother of Ian, Mark and MSNBC journalist Mika Brzezinski, Brzezinski recently relocated to Florida from her longtime home in McLean.
MPA Exhibits, Educates and Inspires
McLean Project for the Arts (MPA) is one of the mid-Atlantic region’s most respected contemporary visual arts organizations. MPA provides high-quality art exhibitions showcasing the work of established and emerging artists, educational programs, art classes, MPAartfest, summer art camps, and ArtReach, an award-winning program serving students in grades K – 12, seniors, and individuals with special needs. For more information, visit www.mpaart.org.