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- Community Arts

“Our Beloved Community: Uniting Through Stories”
Free. Preregistration required. To register as a Story Teller, click here. To register as a Story Adapter, click here.

The deadline to register for Storytellers and Story Adapters is February 5, 2021. The deadline to submit story adaptations is April 30, 2021.

*All workshops will take place virtually over Zoom.


Each year, The Alden endeavors to honor the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by engaging and connecting the many communities of McLean through live performance. While live performances remain unsafe, The Alden is committed to finding new and creative ways to break through the barriers brought on by the global pandemic and bring our “Beloved Community” together in a tangible way.


While we have all witnessed the damaging effects caused by COVID-19, it is our senior neighbors that have, perhaps, struggled the most due to the isolation in which we find ourselves. Recognizing this as a problem easily solved, we look to the principles of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with the goal of uniting our community through outreach and personal connection. This year, The Alden is launching a community connection project that we are calling “Our Beloved Community: Uniting Through Stories.” We are inspired to dust off our virtual note pads and pencils and help our community reconnect and heal through the power of storytelling.


How will this project work?

First, we invite those of you with generations of knowledge and wisdom to share with us a personal story—it could be historically significant, a family story that you hope will live on or just a story you love to share. We will affectionately refer to this group as our Storytellers. Some ideas to help get your creativity started are:
•  The day your child was born.
•  How you met your spouse.
•  A story from your days in the service.
•  A moment you made a difference in someone else’s life.
•  The experience you had on a big day (Inauguration day, President Kennedy’s assassination, September 11, D-Day, Pearl Harbor, etc.)
•  Your first... (fill in the blank).
•  Why did you move to McLean? What was it like then?
•  Something you want to pass on to the generation that is growing up now.


Next, we will match that story with Story Adapters, composed of families, friend groups, scout troops, etc., to interpret their given story into whatever art form they are comfortable with. Comic books, videos, short plays, songs, visual art… the possibilities are only limited by your imagination!


The Alden will be providing a virtual workshops* for teams so our Story Adapters can help you brush up on your artistic storytelling skills. As projects are submitted, we will determine the best way to curate and display these art pieces for the community’s viewing.


This project is open to everyone in the McLean community and the surrounding areas as either a Storyteller or Story Adapters. We encourage families to work on this together, but all participants age 13 or younger should have parental supervision when creating their stories.


Won’t you please help us share a story? You never know how sharing a life story could inspire someone else to rewrite their own.


To register as a Story Teller, click here. To register as a Story Adapter, click here.


For more information, please contact Danielle Van Hook at Danielle.VanHook@fairfaxcounty.gov or Jeff Virchow at Jeffrey.Virchow@fairfaxcounty.gov.


“Seeing White”—Season Two of “Scene on Radio” from the Center for Documentary Studies
Thursdays Jan. 14–Feb. 18, 7 p.m.
Moderated by the staff of The Alden
Free. Preregistration required. Registration closes at 5 p.m. the day before each session. Click here to register for one or all the sessions.

*All events will take place virtually over Zoom.


About “Seeing White”
Where did the notion of “whiteness” come from? What does it mean? What is whiteness for?
Hosts Jon Biewen and weekly guest host Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika delve into the historical origins of whiteness and racism in the US. The series looks at the history as well as the social constructs and emotional grappling that Americans engage in when discussing race and whiteness.


Prior to each session, listen to the corresponding episodes of “Seeing White” on your own, and then join your friends and neighbors for a virtual community conversation about the episodes. The podcast can be accessed through your preferred podcast app or on the “Scene on Radio” website.


For more information, please contact Sarah Schallern Treff at Sarah.SchallernTreff@fairfaxcounty.gov.


Session 1

Thursday, Jan. 14, 7 p.m.

Parts 1, 2 and 3

• Turning the Lens (16:30)

• How Race Was Made (28:50)

• Made in America (33:39)

Session 2

Thursday, Jan. 21, 7 p.m.

Parts 4 and 5

• On Crazy We Built a Nation (36:30)

• Little War on the Prairie (62:57)

Session 3

Thursday, Jan. 28, 7 p.m.

Parts 6, 7 and 8

• That's Not Us, So We're Clean (40:05)

• Chenjerai's Challenge (14:27)

• Skulls and Skin (45:56)

Session 4

Thursday, Feb. 4, 7 p.m.

Parts 9 and 10

• A Racial Cleansing in America (29:14)

• Citizen Thind (38:26)

Session 5

Thursday, Feb. 11, 7 p.m.

Parts 11 and 12

• Danger (45:53)

• My White Friends (40:17)

Session 6

Thursday, Feb. 18, 7 p.m.

Parts 13 and 14

• White Affirmative Action (48:00)

• Transformation (44:11)