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Herndon Arts Week Offers Music, Films, Dance

Council For the Arts of Herndon expands programs for Arts Week.

Hired almost two months ago, Jessica Hartz did not have much time to pull together this year's "Herndon Arts Week" scheduled for Oct. 9-15.

But, with every day planned and almost every artist confirmed, Hartz has proven she can pull through on a tight deadline.

And, as the new events coordinator for the Council for the Arts of Herndon, Hartz has added her perspective to what art forms she thinks will appeal to Herndon residents.

For the first time, this year's Herndon Arts Week will offer an independent filmmaker's showcase to be held at the Phoenix Theatres in the Worldgate shopping complex.

The event will feature filmmakers from the area including Charlie Chang, Liz Smith, John Stuhldreher, 2005 winner Rosebud Film & Video Festival, and Harpeet Kaur, among others.

The films scheduled to be shown run anywhere from five minutes to 30 minutes, and offer a range of genres.

Kaur will showcase "We Are Sikhs," an educational documentary that focuses on the Sikh religion and how Sikhs have integrated into American society. The documentary is meant to give the viewer an opportunity to see what life is like for another culture, the Sikhs, and is an attempt to "demystify" the Sikhs' distinct appearance and present the history, philosophy and lifestyles of Sikhs.

Kaur's film, "We Are Sikhs" has been showcased and considered the official selection of the 2005 Rosebud Film & Video Film Festival — an Arlington Independent Media event, the 2005 New York International Independent Film & Video Festival, the 2005 Forest Film & Video Festival and is the official selection of the upcoming 2006 Interfaith Film Festival.

Other films include Stuhldreher's "3 Feet of Creepy," a 30-minute horror film, Smith's "The Wheel of Life," a film about a former Buddhist monk who helps a Montana community cross boundaries to learn about Tibetan ways of life, and Chang's "City Series: Street/Home," an almost six-minute film that offers a mix of tension, hopefulness, disorientation, solitude and uncertainty.

There will be a reception to follow the independent film showcase where residents can meet the filmmakers, said Hartz.

"When people get to meet the artists and talk to artists it helps them feel more involved in the arts," she said about why the reception was planned. "It allows them to see that these filmmakers are real people too."

SLATED TO BEGIN Monday, Oct. 10 with a children's event, the majority of the week's events are child-friendly, said Hartz. And, all but two of the events are free.

Because Oct. 10 is a holiday, CAH has planned a free children's event featuring storyteller Barbara Effron. The event will be held at Frying Pan Park and after children hear the stories they will have the opportunity to do hands-on activities including making arts and crafts related to the stories they heard. Last year more than 300 children attended the event, said Hartz.

Tuesday, Oct. 11, the Tortilla Factory will open its doors to the Folk Club of Reston/Herndon for a performance by singer/songwriter Eric Andersen. Andersen has produced 21 albums of original songs in his more than 30 year career and has had songs recorded by Judy Collins, Fairport Convention, Peter Paul and Mary, Rick Nelson, Linda Ronstadt and The Grateful Dead.

The independent film festival will be held Wednesday at the Worldgate shopping center with a reception to follow. Thursday's event will feature the literary arts with six area authors reading and signing books in the lobby by the Worldgate Starbucks. Authors Patricia Daly-Lipe, Doug Hecox, Debbi Mack, Barbara Morris, Joseph Terrell and Tim Wendel will share excerpts from their works, ranging from historical fiction to mystery thriller.

Friday night will be a night of music and dance as the CrossCurrents Dance Company, the Manassas Dance Company, Tappening and Ziva's Spanish Dance Ensemble perform everything from modern and ballet to tap and Salsa style dances.

To end the week's arts activities, CAH will hold a cocktail fund-raiser featuring live jazz at the Ferrari Maserati of Washington showroom. Located in Dulles, the event will feature food from Zeffirelli Ristorante Italiano in Herndon and fine Italian wines.

Music during the event will be provided by David Olmstead and the James Madison University Jazz Band. A Herndon native, Olmstead is a three-time recipient of the CAH art scholarship program.

All money raised from the week's events will go to the scholarship program. Each year CAH gives scholarship money to Herndon students, high school or college, who plan to pursue an education in the arts, said Hartz.

"I'm looking forward to every single one of the events actually," she said about which event she was most excited to see. "During the week there really is something for everybody."

After coordinating such a detailed week of art-focused events, Hartz plans to relax a little, but not for too long.

"I hope to bring more programs and bring up the level of programs to the Herndon community," she said. "I really want to get Herndon involved in the arts."