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Mural To Celebrate Herndon Arts

Not long ago, members of the Herndon Foundation for the Cultural Arts were walking around the Hands Inc. building, site of the future center, brainstorming ideas on how to keep the project in the minds of the community.

As they walked, they noticed bricked-up windows on the side that faces the downtown area and ideas began to flow. The group laid the ground work for local artist Pat Macintyre to design a mural, which features symbols of the various arts busting out of the building while onlookers peer inside the windows to see what is going on.

"There was input. There was interest in the mystery of what's to come. The arts bursting at the seams," Macintyre said. "Then there was talk of, what does poetry look like? What do the arts look like?"

The proposed mural is scheduled to go before the town's Heritage Preservation Review Board Monday, Sept. 15 for a public hearing. It was subject of a work session by the same board tonight, Sept. 10.

If approved, the foundation members hope to start the project during Arts Week in October, when the group will officially kick off its campaign, dubbed Imagine '06, to raise funds to construct the art center.

"It should take about three months to paint," said Ellen Kaminsky, a foundation member, of the mural. "We're hoping to get children involved and making it truly a community event."

THE DRAWING submitted to the board is done in blue hues and features people looking into the existing windows. Imagine '06 floats above the windows while various arts symbols flow out of the building. Macintyre said the design is still subject to the board and foundation members' approval, but hopes not much will change.

"I did what I hoped they would like," Macintyre said.

Kaminsky, for one, likes the lack of bright colors, saying it creates a silhouette effect. The existing widows also help create a 3-D look to the project.

"I like the fact that there is texture to the building," Macintyre said. "The word that comes to mind is scumble [a painting technique], you just shimmer the color onto the material. There will be some funny bends where the people are leaning in. It's just a benefit of the building."

Macintyre is already familiar with creating murals, having painted the one on the side of a building facing Lynn Street, and will coordinate the project.

She plans to take her drawing and have it enlarged into 15 feet tall strips. The strips will then be traced onto tracing paper, taped to the wall and used to outline the mural on the wall. Volunteers will then help paint it in.

"When I did the last mural, people, even 9 and 10 year olds, were riding up on their bikes and asking can I help. You hand then a brush and let them work in an area they can reach," Macintyre said. "It makes people more caring of the project."

THE START OF THE MURAL will be part of a bigger event scheduled for Oct. 18, that will jump start the fund-raising efforts for the future center.

"It will be part of the town's annual arts week celebration," said Grace Wolf, a member of the board of directors for the Herndon Council for the Arts and member of the arts center foundation. "We're bringing all the arts groups together to show that there is such a need and to showcase the amount of art and art interest there is in the town."

The event, to be held on the Hands Inc. site, located at 750 Center St., will include performing artists, speakers, a gallery display, various vendors, food and drinks, and an opportunity for people to meet local artists.

"It will be a rallying point and a family-friendly event," Wolf said.

The event will also be used to generate volunteers for the mural project, which Wolf says will be a fixture in the community. Albeit a temporary one. The building will eventually be razed to make room for the arts center. The prospect of her work being torn down does not bother Macintyre.

"Once it's gone from your brush. It's gone," she said.

Kaminsky said the foundation will be seeking sponsors to offset the expense of creating the mural.

"It will be a visual reminder of what we're going to do," Wolf said. "A really tangible thing."