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FairfaxMcLean Project for Arts lauded by Board of Supervisors

McLean Project for Arts lauded by Board of Supervisors

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McLean Project for the Arts has an action-packed autumn ahead, with a new exhibit opening and 60th-anniversary gala in mid-September, MPAartfest in October and ongoing efforts to build an art center at McLean’s Clemyjontri Park.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors lauded the group’s efforts Sept. 13 with a resolution commemorating MPA’s six-decade-long history.

MPA has exhibited works by artists from the Mid-Atlantic region, promoted awareness and understanding of contemporary art, and offered visual-arts instruction and education, read the resolution.

MPA is Northern Virginia’s oldest, continually operating, nonprofit visual-arts center and has presented works by more than 3,000 emerging and established artists, according to the resolution, which was read by Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville).


MPA has offered thousands of studio-art classes and workshops, promoted art education via lectures, talks and gallery tours, thus benefiting tens of thousands of residents each year, the resolution read.

MPA’s ArtReach program serves at-risk families, older adults and people with developmental disabilities through resident-artist programs, docent tours and hands-on art activities in schools.

“Not just McLean, but the entire Northern Virginia region benefits from what they do every day,” Foust said of MPA. “They exhibit art, but they educate people who otherwise wouldn’t know a whole lot about art. It really can make a difference in their lives.”

Foust added he constantly endeavors to create a sense of community and no group does that better than MPA.

“You really help us develop social capital,” he said.

Begun in 1962 when a small group of female artists founded the Emerson Gallery, MPA formally was incorporated in 1984 and now has gallery and studio space at the McLean Community Center.

“A broad community has always been invited into our gallery,” said Lori Carbonneau, MPA’s executive director. “It’s pretty thrilling, as a recipient of this legacy of art, community, conversation and challenge, to see what we have to build in front of us.”

MPA’s efforts contribute to the public’s well-being and mental health, which have been strained during the pandemic years, said Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay (D) said.

The group also draws in people who for cost reasons might not otherwise become involved with the arts, McKay said.

The arts group’s latest exhibit, “Continuum: Artists Teaching Artists,” will run from Sept. 16 through Nov. 10 at MPA’s Emerson and Atrium galleries. There will be an opening reception Sept. 22 from 7 to 9 p.m.
MPA held its 60th-anniversary gala Sept. 18 at Capital One Hall in Tysons.

The event featured live music, dancing, hors d’oeuvres and light fare, an auction of dream-destination trips and the chance to experience “Illusion of Depth,” a 3-D augmented-reality installation by artist Joseph Cortina.

The organization each fall since 2006 has hosted MPAartfest, a visual- and performing-arts festival at McLean Central Park. This year’s event will be held Oct. 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature works from more than 35 juried artists, plus music, a Children’s Walk and art activities, food vendors and more.

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