About 400 people gathered on the grounds of McLean's most historic home Thursday evening to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the McLean Project for the Arts.
"This is the traditional spring event for McLean. People are so excited to be here," said McLean architect and MPA board member Jack Wilbern as he stood in the midst of crowd gathered in and around the pool at Salona.
"This year MPA outdid itself with a grand 50th anniversary celebration," said Jane Edmondson, chief of staff to Dranesville Supervisor John Foust.
The crowd sipping primarily wine and nibbling on tasty cuisine from Windows Catering attracted elected officials, businessmen and women, artists and ordinary McLean residents to the popular fundraiser.
Back in 1962, the dairy farms that surrounded the tiny hamlet of McLean were disappearing into subdivisions to house workers coming to work at the new CIA building that was completed that year. Workers had started moving in the year before.
Six women decided that artists in McLean needed a place to show their work. MPA was born and started in space in the McLean arts building on Emerson Street in downtown.
MPA moved 10 times over the next 25 years before finding a permanent home on the second floor of the McLean Community Center.
"It's a real homegrown organization that has grown into a real presence in McLean," said board member Michelle Crone. "If you live in a town, you want an arts organization in the community. It's a community builder," she said.
"This is the culmination of a whole year of planning to get the word out about MPA," said Crone.
"MPA is a little jewel tucked in McLean," said Elizabeth Yeonas. "This is a community event. People have come from Great Falls and Arlington and that connection is a joyful and low key way, all for the appreciation of the arts."
Steve Yeonas, her husband and a homebuilder: "We come every year to help support McLean's small arts community."
Bruce Jay of McLean came with his daughter Anna. "I had an invitation from Bill Dubose (vice chair of the MPA Board). "I've lived in McLean since 1967 and I wanted to get involved again. It's just lovely," Jay said.
Anna: "It's a great organization and to spend the evening especially with my dad."
Others seen in the crowd included: U.S. Rep. Jim Moran, (D-8th). Dranesville Supervisor John Foust. Del. Barbara Comstock, (R-McLean, Great Falls and Loudoun). Terry McAuliffe, who hosted two U.S. presidents at his home two weeks ago. Dranesville Park Commissioner Kevin Fay.
McLean Community Center board members: Sean Dunn, Jay Howell, Chad Quinn, David Sanders.
MPA board members: Margi Vanderhye and Nyka Jasper Feldman. Kristin Cabral, who is running for congress against U.S. Frank Wolf, (R-10th). Bobbie Kilberg, president of the Northern Virginia Tech Council.
Standing in the midst of the crowd gathered around the pool, McLean Community Center executive director George Sachs said," "These are the wonderful people of McLean who support the arts and that's what this is all about."
"The setting at the Duvals was beautiful --- a great party," said Edmondson.