Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church


 The Seven Corners area is home to the first major suburban shopping center in Fairfax County, developed in the 1950s, which “changed the relationship of Fairfax County as a solely suburban bedroom community satellite of the capital city,” according to Fairfax County, Virginia, A History, (1992 edition). The same volume identifies a 1948 aerial photograph of the Seven Corners area as the intersection “where seven roads meet in a tangle.”

Six decades of development since then, in both the commercial and residential sectors, reveals significant investment and opportunity, as well as underlying challenges. Those opportunities and challenges will be part of the discussion next Monday, May 21, when the first Seven Corners Visioning Workshop gets underway at the Fairfax County Human Services Center, 6245 Leesburg Pike, Rooms A & B on the first floor. The workshop, which is open to the public, will explore the future of the Seven Corners area and provide a forum for the participants to share their ideas about its future. This is the first step in creating a vision for the Seven Corners area in coming decades. The workshop will begin at 7 p.m., and is expected to conclude at 9:30 p.m. I look forward to seeing you there.

The arts are alive in Fairfax County, but maintaining a healthy arts community can be a challenge. In its FY 2013 budget, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors included about $2 million to support a variety of arts programs. The Arts Council of Fairfax County and its grant programs, the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, and the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, which provides artists/teachers for many early childhood education programs in Mason District and Fairfax County, are among the participants funded. County dollars stretch only so far, and private funding support is crucial to maintain the quality of programs that local audiences enjoy.

One group that receives small grant funding from the county through the Arts Council is the Virginia Chamber Orchestra (VCO), which performed the World Premiere of Claude Debussy’s Diane Overture on Sunday afternoon, followed by the American Premiere of a scene from his Diane au bois, L.51, at the Ernst Center at Northern Virginia Community College’s Annandale campus. The bucolic overture and scene apparently were designed by Debussy to be performed together but, until Sunday, arranged by VCO Music Director Emil de Cou and Baltimore Symphony President Paul Meecham, had never been heard by audiences, here or in Europe. Soprano Emma McDermott and tenor Mauricio Miranda performed the vocal roles.

The orchestra was magnificent, talented and well disciplined, and worthy of the “bravos” from the audience for the musicians and vocalists. Such outstanding performances, though, can only be sustained with community support, and lots of it. Ticket prices, which are affordable, do not cover the costs of most performances – music, dance, theatre, etc. – and philanthropic support is vital. Most arts organizations are non-profit, and donations may be tax deductible. Please select your favorite local arts group and become a benefactor now. Funding is the injection needed to ensure that our next generation, and the one after that, can enjoy the broad variety of arts experience we treasure today.


Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be e-mailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov