Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

The New Year is already a week old, as the busyness of the holidays is replaced by the business of returning to our normal routines, interspersed with the occasional sports event, watching the winter weather reports (so far, so good), and finishing off the last of the holiday goodies. If you are looking for some special, and free, community activities, here are a few suggestions.

Have you retired, or are planning for retirement, and wonder what your next phase will be? The Lifetime Leadership Program (LLP) is for individuals who have accumulated skills and leadership that can make a difference in the life of their community. LLP, a partnership between Leadership Fairfax and Volunteer Fairfax, can show you how to translate expertise from your career to “premiere” in a safe and supportive environment. Two informational sessions are planned: Tuesday, January 15, and Thursday, February 7. Each session will meet at 11 a.m. at Leadership Fairfax offices, 8230 Old Courthouse Road, Suite 350 (in Tysons). Register for a session by phone (703/752-7504) or by email at Moniek@leadershipfairfax.org. Additional information is available at www.leadershipfairfax.org/lifetimeleadersprogram.

Volunteer for the National Day of Service on January 19, honoring both Martin Luther King Day and President Obama’s second inaugural. Ten thousand volunteers, ages 12 and older, are needed at the D.C. Armory to pack 100,000 toiletry care kits for military service members and others. Visit www.volunteerfairfax.org to find out more!

For decades, the D.C. Prison was a mainstay in southern Fairfax County, begun during the Progressive Era as a rehabilitative prison farm, but ultimately incarcerating thousands of prisoners in a traditional barbed-wire and guard tower setting. In the late 1990s, Fairfax County negotiated with the federal government to transfer the acreage for parkland, county facilities, and new neighborhoods. The Lorton Arts Foundation is sponsoring a lecture series, “Uncover the Prison in Your Backyard,” built around the story of the former prison. Unfortunately, the opening lecture occurred yesterday, but four more lectures are planned: February 13, “Life Behind Bars,” is a panel discussion with former inmates; March 13 is “Working Behind Bars,” featuring retired correctional employees; April 10 will focus on the civil rights battles that changed the country and the prison; and May 10 is “Out of the Ashes,” the events that resulted in closing the facility and its transfer to Fairfax County. The free lectures will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the McGuireWoods Gallery (W-16) at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton. Register on-line at www.workhousearts.org/events/general-events/uncover-prison-your-backyard.

Art at the Mason District Governmental Center features Springfield (and Mason District) artist Judy Wengrovitz. Judy is a well-known watercolorist, who also works in other media. A row of Venetian gondolas on blue water contrasts with a gaggle of sun-washed hilltop houses. Day and night versions of activity in Times Square maintain a lively sense of movement; you can almost hear the taxi horns. Similarly, you can feel the warmth of the sun and smell the aromas in two larger oil paintings of outdoor markets. After all that activity, a “Porch Wicker” painting invites the viewer to linger awhile with something tall and cool to drink. The show may be viewed Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. until the end of February.