Herndon, VA – Dranesville Elementary School students learned the importance of public art through a fun and exciting activity: painting their very own 10’ X 30’ foot mural. With the help of the Docent/GRACE Arts parent volunteers, Marc Archambault and Stewart Image, over six hundred kindergarten through sixth grade students had the chance to work together to create their own public art project that will hang in their school’s main lobby. The Docent volunteers worked hard to trace the mural pattern (designed by Marc Archambault) onto foam core sheets that were then divided into seventy five 2’ x 2’ square tiles for the students to paint in groups of four. The square tiles come together to create a fine symbol of community involvement and cooperation.

Public art can play a huge part in developing a positive atmosphere within a community; it can be described as any art or design created by an artist, landscaper, architect or engineer that can be shown in a public space and is easily accessible. The first discovery of public art can be found in the intricate caves of Lascaux, France, where there are nearly two thousand paintings and etchings nearly 17,300 years old. Here in the U.S., programs like the Federal Art Project and the GSA Art in Architecture Program created a very large number of public arts, and inspired many cities to start their own programs. In 2007, The Initiative for Public Art in Reston (IPAR) was formed to inspire an ongoing commitment to public art. Many of their projects can be seen around the city. Public art creates a more beautiful environment, and can encourage cultural growth as well as inspire the people who live and work there.

The Dranesville Elementary School Community would like to give a big thank you to Larry Spevak at ColorBurst Systems in Ashburn, for lending a helping hand in this project by ordering the foam core sheet for the students and allowing the Docents to craft and cut the sheets in his facility.

About Marc Archambault

Marc Archambault, founder of Hammerhead Stoneworks, is a stone mason and artist based in Asheville, North Carolina. After working with developmentally disabled adults and teaching English abroad, Marc decided to pursue a career in stone work to show his sons that it was possible to make a living doing something you love.

He describes his work as an artful balance between graceful aesthetics and sound structuring and is a strong advocate of drystone construction, as it is gentler on the environment. Marc’s work is both functional and beautiful; finding inspiration in what surrounds him. When he’s not installing a mosaic floor or adding putting his own spin on a once ordinary outdoor space, Marc can be found teaching stonework classes or updating his blog with his latest projects. Along with running his own business, he is also a member of the Stone Foundation and Handmade in America.

Through his dedication to his work, family, and promotion of artistry, Marc Archambault has made a positive impact not only on his community, but the environment as well

To see Hammerhead Stonework’s projects, go to


About Stewart Image

Stewart Image is a visual marketing services company founded by Michael R. Stewart in Northern Virginia. Michael has been in the photography business for over twenty-five years and has an impressive resume as an author, researcher, and teacher. His studio is decorated with his extensive camera collection, which once boasted over one hundred different cameras. His portfolio ranges from headshots and architecture to fine art and food and his business has taken him all around the country. He used his production skills and contacts to bring and business contacts to bring this project together.

Michael puts a lot of emphasis on the importance of volunteer work and giving back to the community, and is currently the GRACE Arts school coordinator.

About GRACE Art

The GRACE Art program was established in 1976 to encourage art education in local schools. Every month, with the help of parent volunteers, an in-class historical art lesson is taught, which is then followed by a hands project, such as the mural.

GRACE Art also offers art programs for families, teens, adults, and is committed to promoting artistic enrichment in the Reston area.

To learn more about this project, please e-mail

Hannah Coyne, media contact