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Lee District Open House Combines with Art Show

Supervisor Dana Kauffman's (D-Lee) annual open house was coupled with the opening of the Springfield Art Guild's mobile museum at the Franconia District Station to enhance a two-pronged community event.

The parking lot was at capacity out front.

"This gives people a number of reasons to come to a community event," Kauffman said.

Springfield resident Jerry Wolf agreed. He's involved with theater, while his wife, Doris, is a member of the guild.

"It's a great opportunity, it's more than just an open house. It's good to see this many people interested in art," he said.

Skeeter Scheid is one of the driving forces behind the Springfield art scene, which is in search of a permanent home but hasn't found a place yet.

"It's bringing artists and people from the community together. We're pulling from all over to this show, we actually had to limit the number of pieces this time," she said.

While the open house occupied the community room, the doors were left open to the hall, where the paintings were on display. The paintings will remain there for a few weeks. Other locations the art show went to included Fresh Fields in West Springfield and the Springfield Days festival.

<mh>Franconia Lore

<bt>In the community room, items from the Franconia museum were displayed as well. Christine Tollefson, an administrative assistant in Kauffman's office, was the curator of the museum effort. A major element in the museum is the "memories" book, full of old pictures and stories around the Lee District area.

"At this point we’re still trying to generate interest. We're hoping to set up rotating exhibits in this room," she said, from inside the community room. She thought the open house and art show complemented each other.

"For no other reason, it gets people talking," she said.

Tollefson also chairs a "story swap" night, where citizens come and share memories about the community.

"They get into pretty lively discussions about where things were," she said.

The open house was from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26. Tollefson noted how the baked goods regulated the crowd.

"It's a way for Dana to meet the citizens in an informal atmosphere. Everyone comes early to get the good food," she said. By 3 p.m., the crowd thinned out.

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors chairman Kate Hanley mingled with the crowd. She's been to various supervisor functions across the county. Not all supervisors have open houses in the same manner, she noted.

"This one's really a wonderful crowd, and, of course, I love the art. This is a good idea," she said.

Fairfax County police captain Jim Morris, of the Franconia District Station, attends some of Kauffman's functions too. His station operates out of the same building. He's seen the artwork before, and it spurred a safety poster show among his officers once.

"If you see the walls when they're bare, they're hideous," he said.

<mh>Besides Art

<bt>There were a few people with other things on their mind besides cookies, art and Franconia lore. Neil McBride was talking about taxes on the positive side. He's for the increased sales tax and likes the services he gets in Fairfax County. In the past, he's lived in Wisconsin, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts, where taxes were higher.

"This state is a relatively low tax state. You don't get these things without paying for them," he said.

He was referring to improvements to Newington Forest Elementary School, which his grandchildren will soon attend; the Pohick Road overpass; and the parks.