Laurie DiRocco on Dec. 6 became the first former Vienna mayor to have a hand-painted portrait of her displayed inside Vienna Town Hall.
Town officials unveiled DiRocco’s painting Dec. 6 during a ceremony at Town Hall. The 24-by-36-inch vertical portrait was executed by artist Anna Watson of the Vienna Arts Society.
The initiative began when Town Clerk Melanie Clark approached the Vienna Arts Society about commissioning a well-known artist who was experienced in executing portraits, said Lu Cousins, who directs the group’s art center.
“For me, Vienna Arts Society member and award-winning artist Anna Watson was the obvious choice,” Cousins said.
Clark lent the artist a photo of DiRocco for reference. The former mayor did not sit for the portrait and only saw the resultant image for the first time at the ceremony.
“I am really happy with the portrait,” said DiRocco, who attended the presentation with her husband Ron and daughter Allie. “Anna Watson is an amazing portrait painter.”
“Everyone was vowed by the final product,” agreed Cousins.
The ceremony drew a sizable crowd of current and former Town Council members, people serving on town boards and commissions, staff members, Supervisor Walter Alcorn (D-Hunter Mill) and Del. Mark Keam (D-Oakton-Vienna).
The painting currently is on display in Mayor Linda Colbert’s office at Town Hall. Officials still have not determined where they will place the image for the long term.
The Council chamber already is home to a pair of pictures of former mayors taken by local photographer T.R. Cook that were printed in a way to look like paintings.
The first such image was of former mayor Charles Robinson Jr., who died while still in office in January 2000. His successor, M. Jane Seeman (mother of current Mayor Colbert) died in office in February 2014 and the town later had a similar painting-like image made from one of Cook’s pictures.
The Council chamber also has paintings of judges, a black-and-white photo of former Mayor Guy Wilson and photos of Virginia Gov. Northam and President Biden.
DiRocco, a former Vienna Planning Commission chairman and vice chairman of the Transportation Safety Commission, first was elected to the Vienna Town Council in 2009. The Council appointed her mayor in April 2014 following Seeman’s death and she ran unopposed for a full term during that May’s election.
DiRocco ran unopposed for re-election in 2016 and 2018, but decided against seeking another term in 2020 and was succeeded by Colbert.