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From left, Council for the Arts of Herndon Director Signe Friedrichs, Anita Damron, Gail Greenberg, Susan Alger and Leroy “Ivan” Young at the Reston Embry Rucker Shelter. Photo by Ryan Dunn

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Embry Rucker Community Shelter dedicates mosaic project.

By Ryan Dunn

The Embry Rucker Shelter in Reston celebrated the completion of a mosaic project which began in April 2013. Stretching 20 feet long, the mosaic is in the main lobby, dining room area of the center. Residents of Embry Rucker lent a helping hand with the fabrication of the mosaic, which was installed Nov. 4.In April of 2013 Leroy “Ivan” Young asked Anita Damron, a professional mosaicist, to collaborate on a panel project for the Embry Rucker shelter in Reston. Young has been a regular volunteer at Cornerstone, formerly Reston Interfaith, for more than 10 years and has assisted at the Herndon Neighborhood Resource Center. Damron has taught mosaic classes at Reston Community Center and won numerous art awards. “I’ve been creating mosaics for over 10 years,” Damron said.

ArtSpace Herndon donated space for the planning and construction of the large mosaic, particularly pattern making and glass cutting. The Herndon Council for the Arts granted the funds needed for materials. An anonymous donor donated wood trim at the Herndon Depot. Maryland Mosaics and Weisser Glass discounted the cost of supplies needed for the project.

The wall divide contains 20 panels installed in the main common area where residents gather for meals and meetings. The mosaic was designed to be removable, and can be reconfigured into a large square designed by the artists as an alternative, should the homeless shelter be relocated in the future.

Also attending the dedication event were executive director of the Council for the Arts of Herndon, Signe Friedrichs and former Town of Herndon mayor Mike O’Reilly, president of the Council for the Arts of Herndon Board of Directors. “As the president of the Council for the Arts, I was particularly pleased to be part of this project,” stated O’Reilly. “I also have the privilege of serving as Chairman of the Fairfax-Falls Church Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness.”

“I think the mosaic adds a festive atmosphere to the shelter,” Friedrichs said. “This was truly a collaborative effort on the part of all the town arts organizations to help with the project…The Board of the Council for the Arts of Herndon could not have been more pleased to help.” The Council for the Arts of Herndon (CAH) is the Town of Herndon’s officially designated local arts agency. CAH is a not-for-profit charitable organization supported by citizens, businesses and the public sector including the Town of Herndon.

The Embry Rucker Community Shelter is a 70-bed residential shelter that provides healthy, safe, emergency housing for families and single men and women. They are dedicated to helping clients overcome the circumstances that led to their homelessness, and facilitate their transition to stable housing. The shelter first opened in 1987 and is operated by the nonprofit Cornerstones. To learn more about this organization, visit