Centroid Towns: Like a Passing Shadow
New work by Nate Larson

Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) presents the next chapter of Baltimore-based artist Nate Larson’s Centroid Towns project. Since the first US census in 1790, the United States Census Bureau has been recording the mean center of population as it moves steadily west and south. The first Centroid Town recorded was Chestertown, Maryland, and the projected Centroid of the 2020 census is Hartville, Missouri. Larson has done preliminary research in all 25 towns and completed five chapters of the project with communities in Ellicott City, Maryland; Bloomington, Indiana; Mascoutah, Illinois; and De Soto, Missouri. For this exhibition at GRACE, Larson dives deeper into the community of Waterford, Virginia, Centroid Town of 1810.

Exhibition booklet
Press release

Nate Larson works with photographic media, artist books, and digital video. His projects have been widely shown across the US and internationally as well as featured in numerous publications and media outlets, including WiredThe Guardian, NPR, HyperallergicNew York TimesThe Washington Post, and Art Papers. His artwork is included in the permanent collections of the High Museum Atlanta, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Orlando Museum of Art, Portland Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago. Larson is currently serving as Chair of the Photography Department at MICA / Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.

‘Anonymous Tributes to Anonymous People’
New York Times

Photographer documents towns at mean center of US population, including those in Missouri, Illinois
St Louis Public Radio

Contact Sheet: After the Flood
Baltimore Sun

This exhibition is generously supported by Virginia McGehee Friend.
Additional support provided by the Exhibition Circle.

Join us for this special event: Waterford Fair with artist Allison Smith
October 5, 2pm
In conjunction with GRACE’s exhibition Centroid Towns: Like a Passing Shadow, join artist Allison Smith for a personal intergenerational reflection on the Waterford Fair, this year celebrating its 75th anniversary. Smith will share her memories of attending the Fair as a kid and share insights and favorites from this year’s Fair through a critical and loving lens. She will be joined by her mother, Kitty Smith, and aunt, Kimberly Dickerson, who attended the Fair as kids with their mother Edith Barton. These women have made visits to the Waterford Fair an almost annual pilgrimage for multiple decades and their homes are filled with handcrafted objects made by Waterford Fair artisans.

Nate Larson, Colonial Camp, Waterford, Virginia, 2019

Discounted tickets are SOLD OUT, but you can still purchase a ticket through the Waterford Fair website.

SOLD OUT – Private reception at historic Waterford property
October 5, 5pm
After the fair, join GRACE for an intimate private reception at an historic Waterford property. Wine and light refreshments will be provided. RSVP is essential and directions and further details will be provided after registration. Please RSVP by October 3. Reception tickets are discounted for GRACE members. Become a member

About Allison Smith

Allison Smith is Dean of Fine Arts at California College of Arts. She received a BA in psychology from The New School for Social Research, a BFA in fine arts from Parsons School of Design, and an MFA in sculpture from the Yale University School of Art. Smith has produced over twenty-five solo exhibitions, installations, performances, and artist-led participatory projects for venues such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Public Art Fund, New York; and Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University. She has lectured extensively and participated in a number of group exhibitions and residencies in the United States and abroad. She was born in Manassas, Virginia, in 1972.


Artist Talk (4pm) and Opening Reception (5–7pm)
September 28
Join artist Nate Larson and GRACE’s Executive Director and Curator Lily Siegel for a conversation about Larson’s exhibition. Followed by an open Q&A. All ages. Sponsored by Reston Community Center. Free and open to the public.

Meditation Workshop: Contemplating Creativity
October 17, 7–8:30pm
Join Greater Reston Arts Center and Jean McTigue from Beloved Yoga for a meditation workshop contemplating the Nate Larson exhibition, currently on view at the gallery. Free for members of the Greater Reston Arts Center. $5 for non-members. To register, please email info@restonarts.org

Family Day
October 26, 12
Greater Reston Arts Center opens its doors for a free day of SPOOKY family art making and exploration in the gallery and park celebrating the exhibition featuring artist Nate Larson! Come celebrate Halloween and see all that GRACE has to offer and have a fun, free outing with the family including face-painting, story-telling, and hands-on art making. Parking on Saturday is free in Reston Town Center garages.

Creative Response
October 30, 7pm: Vanessa Meikle Schulman
Join the Greater Reston Arts Center to hear an expert in their field respond to the work on view in the gallery. The short presentation will be followed by open conversation. Presenters may include poets, dancers, writers, musicians, visual artists, and more. All ages. Sponsored by Reston Community Center. Free and open to the public.

Vanessa Schulman is Assistant Professor of Art History at George Mason University, where she teaches courses on American art, visual culture, and history of photography. Her book Work Sights (2015) examines the representation of industrial spaces in 19th-century American paintings and illustrations. She is currently working on a book manuscript on the art and culture of the American Civil War, including photography. Her work has been published in the scholarly publications American Art, American Periodicals, Invisible Culture, and Early Popular Visual Culture, among others. Her research interests center around science, technology, vision, and modernity in American artworks of the 19th through 20th centuries.

Artist-led workshop: Cyanotypes
November 2, 1–3pm
Join photographer Nate Larson who will lead participants through the process of turning simple smartphone snapshots into cyanotype photographs using the power of the sun. All materials included. Ages 6 and up. Residents $10; non-residents $20. Sponsored by Reston Community Center.

Enter this code into the keyword/activity number search bar to quickly find the class: 402717

Insights: Shannon Thomas Perich, Curator at the National Museum of American History
November 16, 3pm
Greater Reston Arts Center presents Insights, a program bringing curators and academics of major art institutions to Reston to discuss the work on view at GRACE. All ages. Sponsored by Reston Community Center. Free and open to the public.

Shannon Thomas Perich is the Curator in the Photographic History Collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History where she has worked for over twenty years. Most recently, Perich served as a project director for a new floor of  NMAH that explores the history and power of American entertainment. Returning to photographic history she has upcoming publications on photographs and the circus, and photographic process patent from 1840 into the 1870s. She is the author of Changing Face of Portrait Photography: From Daguerreotype to Digital (Smithsonian Books 2012) and Portrait of Family (Harper Collins 2007) about Richard Avedon’s photographs of the John F. Kennedy Family.  Her exhibitions include, Laughing Matters at the National Museum of American History, and Country: Portraits of An American Sound at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles.  Other exhibitions include, Pushing Boundaries: Portraits by Robert WeingartenThe Civil War Experience at the Smithsonian, and Honky-Tonk: Photographs by Henry Horenstein, 1972-1981. She has taught History of Photography at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Her blogs can be found on the National Museum of American History’s website and NPR’s Picture Show. Perich’s research often explores the dynamic intersections of the art, technology and history of photography, especially where the personal experience and national narratives are at play. 

Creative Response
November 21, 7pm: Michael Ratcliffe 
Join the Greater Reston Arts Center to hear an expert in their field respond to the work on view in the gallery. The short presentation will be followed by open conversation. Presenters may include poets, dancers, writers, musicians, visual artists, and more. All ages. Sponsored by Reston Community Center. Free and open to the public.

Michael Ratcliffe is Assistant Division Chief for Geographic Standards, Criteria, Research, and Quality in the Census Bureau’s Geography Division, where he is responsible for geographic area concepts and criteria (for example, how to define urban and rural areas, places, and other geographic areas), address and geospatial data quality, and research activities. For the 2010 Census, he led the team responsible for identifying the center of population and was part of the team that scouted the location to place the 2010 center’s monument in Plato, Missouri. In addition to his work at the Census Bureau, he has been an adjunct instructor in geography at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County and George Washington University. He is also a published poet, with work appearing in a variety of print and on-line journals, most recently Gargoyle, Fourth & Sycamore, and Fredericksburg Literary and Arts Review. His work can also be found on his website at michaelratcliffespoetry.wordpress.com.