A nonprofit community arts center, VisArts fills its studios with amateur artists learning techniques of creative expression, and acts as an exhibition opportunity for seasoned creators. Classes span a wide artistic spectrum, including concentrations such as ceramics and glass, many of which can be specifically tailored for the educational needs of children or resurrected Renaissance men in need of a new hobby. VisArts also enriches the community with a trifecta of galleries—the Kaplan, Gibbs Street, and Common Ground—and a thriving resident-artist program.
The artisans behind K.H. Art & Framing understand that the best kind of preservation combines traditional techniques with modern technology. Each day, they draw on more than 20 years of experience as they craft museum-quality frames with 200 moulding options and conservation-grade glass and matting. Inside their photo lab, staffers look to the future, printing passport photos and canvas prints or digitally restoring images before storing them safely on CDs. While framers and technicians preserve memories, curators stay busy filling the studio's gallery with artwork—such as oil paintings, lithographs, and silk-screens—from both local and international artists. They also sell posters that can turn a house into a home or a bathroom stall into a personal workspace.
Ford's Theatre, the site of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, preserves Lincoln's legacy by hosting dramatic and historical plays on its legendary stage and educational experiences throughout its halls. The theater presents dramatic works such as Big River and 1776, and the museum displays artifacts from Lincoln's White House and the Civil War, along with the swallows that nested in his distinctive stovepipe hat. Those toting Player memberships are showered with benefits including service-charge-free ticket purchases, gift-shop discounts, and a biannual newsletter subscription. With four complimentary passes in tow, members can take in performances of One Destiny, a theatrical eyewitness account of Lincoln's assassination, as well as educational events throughout the year, such as a lectures by National Parks Service interpreters, who recount tales of the fateful evening.
Part art gallery, part cocoa bar, Artfully Chocolate was established in 2007 when owner Eric Nelson quit his job as an executive in order to pursue his artistic passions. Needing a little something extra to draw attention to his shop and unwilling to sound a tornado siren after every purchase, Eric called on the services of friend and chocolatier Rob Kingsbury. Kingsbury instantly infused the colorful gallery with the sweet allure Eric was seeking.
Today, the duo's handiwork takes center stage inside two different locations: Eric's masterpieces parade across the walls, and Rob's expertise reveals itself in sips and bites of decadent drinks and pastries. They also host tasting classes, including a wine-pairing class and chocolate-tasting class.
At Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE), art aficionados mingle in a community that fosters a love of visual arts with hands-on education, exhibitions, and special events. A yearlong family membership grants parents access to contemporary-art exhibitions with artist receptions, workshops, special events, and a 10% discount on a kids' single summer art class (20% when registering for multiple classes). Children smear glue, sprinkle glitter, and splatter paint from three brimming art buckets without tattooing your living-room sofa during Explore More, a self-guided exploration of the current exhibition with related art-making activities. Unleash your child's inner Picasso with priority admission to GRACE's summer art programs, which immerse children in puppetry, comic books, and self-portraits ideal for proudly mounting on refrigerators or above castle mantels.
The Framing Studio and Art Plus Frame carries an assortment of custom framing options, including wood, aluminum, and other materials. Using only acid-free materials, the shop's staff can lend elegance to prints with conservation framing, linen mats, and custom brass and aluminum plaques. For lonely frames with nothing to hold, the studio also stocks prints from several fine-art distributors, including Charles Bibbs, Washington Green, and Rod Chase. The shop's photo-restoration services rejuvenate even the most faded screenshots of Lewis and Clark's live blogging. Many services can be completed in as little as one hour.