When Catherine Gleason, a membership services manager for a Reston-based non-profit organization needs a quick dose of inspiration at work, she likes to look over at a photograph she has framed on her wall. Titled "Reflections of Reston," it features Autumn leaves floating on the waters of Lake Anne with the image of trees reflecting coolly on its surface.
"I love it, it just makes me think of fall," said Gleason, "and I know exactly where it was taken so that makes it just so much more special."
A gift from long-time friend and Reston resident Jenevieve Lenz, the photo is one of many featuring the Reston and Herndon communities and the rest of the world that are hanging in several local businesses and municipal buildings under an agreement with the Council for the Arts of Herndon.
"She can capture the beauty in her photographs and at the same time promote our community in such an amazing way through those photos," said Gleason of Lenz. "To have her in the community, a person with that much talent, is great for the area."
A FINANCIAL ADVISER who has lived in Reston for the last five years, Lenz has been a part-time photographer since college. A native of upstate New York and the daughter of a hotel owner and an art teacher, Lenz became interested in photography while looking for a way to feed her artistic desires while studying business and working throughout the world.
"In college and as I was traveling around, I realized that … I wanted to find a way to capture the beauty of everything that I was seeing," Lenz said.
But with a busy schedule and a need to constantly move from place to place, she found little time for painting, so she began to look for new ways to satisfy her love for art. The answer was photography.
The young student often took to her bike to explore her surroundings and take photos of the sites that would leap out at her. Living in New England, Paris, Switzerland and Miami, amongst other cities, offered her several opportunities for photography.
After moving to the area, her hobby continued to grow as she ventured out to capture Washington, D.C. and the Herndon and Reston communities.
"There so much to offer in this little microcosm that we have here," said Lenz. "Just driving around and seeing some of the architecture and the nature … it is really just a beautiful place to be."
Whenever she got inspired or could find free time, Lenz went out amongst the community and the city, taking photos of anything she found beautiful.
AS HER PASSION for photography continued to emerge with new images of the Washington, D.C. area, it began to capture the attention of art and photography enthusiasts, and, in turn, businesses.
Mixing her hobby for photography as a part-time job, Lenz regularly photographs area locations and landmarks for local businesses and organizations, she said.
On display with the Council for the Arts of Herndon’s "Art in Public Places" program since May, Lenz has also had her work displayed in Herndon’s TMI Corporation building and the Herndon Municipal Center. A project to increase awareness of local art, the program allows area artists to display their work in about 40 different restaurants, businesses and municipal buildings in Reston and Herndon, according to Council for the Arts of Herndon president Grace Wolf.
For the artists "it’s free [and] they get exposure at different locations in the Herndon area," Wolf said. "It’s just a different type of exposure to a wide range of viewers that you won’t necessarily get in a gallery."
Describing Lenz’s work as elegant, Pat Macintyre, a board member for the Council for the Arts of Herndon, said that Lenz’s world and local photography as well as the work of other local artists have been enthusiastically welcomed by council member businesses and organizations.
"I think that [her photography] shows that Herndon is a very international town," Macintyre said. "It’s got the small town feel to it, but at the same time you can look around and see that you don’t need to go to the big city to experience high quality art."
DISPLAYING HER ART in multiple locations in the region has allowed Lenz the opportunity share her view and passion with the community even better, she said.
"People sometimes don’t know that there are these artists like me who are out here in the community," she said. "But there are so many of us here, doing what we love and sharing it with the area."
By allowing more residents to be exposed to the work that Lenz and other area artists have produced will hopefully inspire a greater interest in the arts, Wolf said.
"We’re all busy … but these [local artists] are working nine to five, they have families, yet they are still compelled to make art," she said. "It’s one of those things that we use when we’re young, but when we grow up, we tend to forget about the magic of creating art."
"And these people all exercise that, and they do it with so much passion."