New Temporary Public Artwork by the South Lakes High School STEAM Team is Installed on Lake Thoreau Spillway

By Editorial Team on August 20, 2018

On July 12th, 2018, the South Lakes High School STEAM (science, technology, engineerin, art, and math), Team installed a new temporary public artwork on the Lake Thoreau spillway. The artwork, titled Connie’s Quilt is part of an annual program presented by Public Art Reston, Reston Association, and South Lakes High School. The students of the South Lakes High School STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) Team work each year to create an annual artwork that is installed on the Lake Thoreau spillway for the summer months, consulting professional artists and engineers, and gaining experience in both conceptual and technical skills.

Connie’s Quilt, is made from over 200 rings of white tubing strung together to create an organic and kinetic sculpture suspended over the lake. The artwork, comprised of many parts, is representative of our societal fabric and the importance of connectivity between people. Connie’s Quilt sets out to dispel the myth of the “self-made man” and identify the reality that nobody gets where they are without support from family and friends. Interdependence is crucial to the survival and prosperity of any community, which is represented by the supportive and holistic nature of the rings. The rings of this artwork represent how every individual is connected, even the rings not part of the main sheet that dangle by the grasp of other rings belong to the whole.

“The STEAM Public Art program at SLHS has grown to become a much anticipated event.” Says Marco Rando, professional artist and the teacher guiding the STEAM Team program. “As the programs sponsor I frequently share with the students the amount of community inquirers I receive and the students are ecstatic about the communal anticipation, but at the same time, they place pressure on themselves to deliver a professional work of art. The senior members are seasoned to know now, that as the sculptures structural integrity is tested in the school parking lot, unforeseen problems will arise. When creating a temporary sculpture of this scale, whether you’re a professional or a student the challenge presents itself the same. Every aspect must be created and engineered from design to assembly. This process of discovery and development I see as one of the most powerful learning experiences for any individual. ‘What is now proved was once only imagined,’ said William Blake and this simple quote sums up the essence of our reality and how ideas of thought becomes a physical manifestation of our reality.”

The STEAM Team is comprised of 17 students, including Samantha Busch, Amirah Kirwan, Kimi Nacu, Levi Park, Lily Vogel, Harrison Cahn, Sabrina Carstens, ShaKiera Conley, MacKenzie Krider, Catherine Lashley, Phoebe Liu, Sarah Mamros, Leslie Mills, Amelia Schultz, Marley Elmore, Morgan Ryan, and Brooke Abrash. This project was realized under the guidance of Marco Rando, South Lakes High School Photo, Art, and Design Teacher.

Connie’s Quilt is so different, visually and conceptually, from the four artworks that preceded it.” Says Anne Delaney, Executive Director for Public Art Reston. “We are so pleased to watch how the students mature each year as individuals and as artists and how this program has evolved and grown. Several members of the community have already reached out to me to share how much they love the new work.”

Public Art Reston and the STEAM Team wish to thank the projects sponsors and especially James Pan, David and Mary Prochnow, and Gaetano Rando Ling – Design Engineer with IDEO.

Public Art Reston was founded in 2007 by Reston civic and community organizations and leaders. It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that imagines public art throughout Reston that inspires the community and engages the mind and senses. For more information about Public Art Reston, visit