Patrick Henry Community College will partner with Reynolds Homestead, a Commonwealth Campus Center of Virginia Tech, to expand offerings of non-credit courses in pottery and weaving at the site in Critz starting in January 2015.
Lisa Martin, senior program manager at Reynolds Homestead, said Patrick County already has a very strong market for these courses.
“We decided that some of the Artisan Center programs might be good ones to bring up to our area because we have a very strong artisan population,” she said. “Traveling all the way to Martinsville to take classes might be difficult for some students, especially if they live in the Meadows of Dan or Ararat area. It could easily be an hour-and-a-half commute one-way.”
The Artisan Center at PHCC will handle registration and processing for courses while Reynolds Homestead will deal directly with hiring instructors and setting the class schedule. PHCC also will provide equipment including looms and potters wheels.
“This is a nice partnership because each of us is providing things that the other can’t – we’re offering a space to bring more people into the program who can’t get to Martinsville, and PHCC is providing equipment that we don’t have so we can expand our offerings,” Martin said.
Dr. Angeline Godwin, PHCC president, said she’s excited at this new opportunity to bolster course offerings throughout the college’s service region.
“We’re pleased to expand our partnerships into Patrick County to allow us to offer career credit arts programming,” she said. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to reach more people and enable them to learn the skills necessary to become artisan entrepreneurs.”
The curriculum will stick to the same guidelines as the artisan certification at the Artisan Center, according to Kim Buck, coordinator of community development at PHCC.
“Students still will be able to receive a certificate of study in artisan entrepreneurship, and they can do so with a concentration in pottery or weaving,” Buck said. “From there, they can expand into other areas and work their way up to take more advanced courses.”
Although the partnership will begin with two programs, Martin said there is a possibility to expand in the future if there’s enough interest.
“We’ll start with courses we know people are interested in right away,” she said. “There’s some interest in woodworking, which may be a challenge because of the equipment involved. But we’re more than willing to expand if the need is there for artists who want to develop and hone their skills, and learn more about the business side involved in being an artisan entrepreneur.”
Martin added, “We’re part of Virginia’s Crooked Road music trail and the Artisan Trail Network, and we’re very committed to the economic development of our area artisans. This program is part of our mission to help our professional and recreational artists.”
Class dates and times will be announced in early January 2015. Students may register in person at The Artisan Center at 54 West Church Street in Martinsville, or over the phone by calling (276) 656-5461. A registration form can be emailed or mailed to potential students upon request.
The holiday season is a time for giving and Martinsville Speedway’s 18th annual Christmas Toy Drive showed that the NASCAR community is willing to do just that. The toy drive raised more than $13,000 and saw 200 toys donated for the Grace Network of Martinsville and Henry County.
A network of more than 100 area churches, the Grace Network will use the money to provide toys and clothes to underserved and underprivileged children in the area.
“Being able to donate more than $13,000 to the Grace Network is going to help bring smiles to a lot of kids’ faces on Christmas morning,” Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. “Martinsville Speedway is proud of our community and our fans. While the speedway presents the check, it truly is a community donation.”
The Grace Network gets lists of names from the churches in the network and then is able to take the money raised and shop according to each child’s needs and wishes.
“Being able to bring joy to children in this season is a blessing,” said Simone Redd, a Grace Network board member and the one who heads up the shopping. “The generous donations and toys received allowed us to spread the spirit and true meaning of Christmas throughout the community.
“Christmas is a special time of the year and we, at Grace Network, appreciate the opportunity to participate in the toy drive with the Martinsville Speedway.”
This year’s toy drive reached a bigger audience than ever before, thanks to some ticket packages that were put up for auction. Race fans from all over the country bid on race experiences like getting a picture taken in Victory Lane with the STP 500 winner or the opportunity to ride in the Official Pace Car for the start of the race.
However, it wasn’t all about change. Like in years past, fans had the opportunity to drive their personal cars around the track, in exchange for a new toy or a $10 donation. Different from years past though, the laps were spread out over two weeks, instead of being limited to one day. This gave fans from as far away as New Jersey and South Dakota the opportunity to participate.
When Ryan Newman visited Martinsville High School as part of NASCAR’s Chase Across America tour, he found himself 16th in points and an underdog in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Ten weeks later, Newman now finds himself as one of four drivers in the Championship Round, with a chance to win the title Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The school’s football team is now using Newman as inspiration, as they too find themselves in an underdog role heading into the state playoffs.
“Where he is winless and was still able to get to the Championship Round is a big deal for us,” said Bulldogs center Harrison Toole. “We have one win. Nobody’s expecting us to go anywhere in this tournament, but yet, if we tried hard and play our best we still have a possibility of winning the championship.
Much like Newman, the Bulldogs enter the tournament as a 16th seed. Their first round game Friday night is against Giles County, the defending state champion and a team that has won 25 straight games.
“We’re taking him (Newman) and using it as an ‘anything can happen, anything’s possible,’” said Nigel Preston, the team’s nose guard. “It doesn’t matter about winning. What matters is effort and how well you play.”
Kicker Emily Martin, who beat Newman in the kicking portion of the Punt, Pass and Kick contest during his visit, said that Newman played a role in the team getting to the playoffs.
“The fact that he was the underdog and we are the underdog, we can compare ourselves to him,” she said. “We used him as inspiration to get to the playoffs, to play hard and to get the points that we needed to get there.”
While a football game only lasts four quarters, the players will take what they learned from Newman and apply it to life off the gridiron, as well.
“It goes along with life too,” Toole said. “Because if you try hard and give it your best you have a chance to go far and be the best you can, in life.”
An art professor from Patrick Henry Community College is showing an exhibition representing three years of work in a new show at the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke.
Gerry Bannan’s “Vanitas” is described as a collection of still life arrangements connected to the art tradition vanitas, which comes from the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible from a passage that states: “Vanity of vanities. All is vanity.”
“The point behind this is the idea that the word vanity is referring to futility,” Bannan said. “When someone says, ‘all my efforts were in vain,’ it’s more about the futile than being egotistical. The purpose, spiritually, is to remember and be humble in the face of your own mortality. The vanity refers to the efforts and achievements that one makes in life, but one should always remember in the end that your earthly life is finite.”
Bannan used BIC brand crystal ballpoint pens to create nine pen and ink drawings on Mylar, a form of polyester material.
“A lot of people found that fascinating because these pens are such a common, every day, mundane writing tool,” he said. “But I have found them to be wonderfully versatile at art making in that they have a great range of tonal quality… People are familiar with them. When they look at my drawings and think about their experiences with BIC pens, I think it connects them to the work in a way that you don’t get connected to a bronze sculpture because it’s not something people do every day.”
Bannan’s drawings in the exhibit range in size from 12-by-16 inches to more than six feet long. The largest is 20 inches high by 72 inches long.
“People often ask how long they take to create, and they can take a very long time to make,” he said. “It takes months for some of the larger ones. Art making takes a lot of time, and sometimes people don’t realize the actual time that an artist needs to put into the creation of their work. People may think if a person is talented then the work just happens, but there’s always an element of actual time that needs to be put into developing the work.”
Bannan said his drawings also include a great deal of memento mori imagery, which is Latin for “remember death.” He said this is depicted by symbols including skulls, fading flowers, ribbons and scissors.
In addition to his drawings, he’s also displaying two still life tableaus from the setups he used in creating the artwork.
“Building up these collections of objects is part of the drawing process,” he said. “The curator visited my studio and said she would like to have one or two of them included in the exhibition. It’s really great because it makes me think of them differently as maybe artworks in themselves, whereas before, I always thought they were in service of the drawing.”
Bannan received his bachelor of fine arts in printmaking from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, Pa. and his master of fine arts from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y. He’s participated in solo and group exhibitions in several states including Virginia, Georgia and Pennsylvania. Bannan also owns BanG Studios in downtown Roanoke, a fine arts gallery and studio he operates with his wife Betsy Bannan.
“Vanitas” will be on display until March 21, 2015. Bannan will give workshops and gallery talks in connection with the show, some of which are planned for early next year. Check www.taubmanmuseum.org for details.
Amy G. Moorefield, deputy director of exhibitions at Taubman, curated this exhibit. To find out more about Bannan’s work, visit www.gerrybannan.com.
School is back in session but you can still get away for a little weekend adventure. Load up the family for a fun day trip to Martinsville-Henry County, Virginia in search of public art. You’ll be amazed at the variety of exhibits on display throughout the community.
A drive through the historic Uptown District of Martinsville will take you past four significant outdoor murals. The “Circus Mural”, by John Stiles, is located at the corner of Franklin and Main Streets in Martinsville. It is a cheerful look back in time to 1920 when the circus came to town. The work depicts a parade of elephants wearing colorful banners as they plodded through the streets to herald the upcoming performance. You can even see an actual photo of this day in time by visiting the nearby Martinsville-Henry County Historical Museum on Church Street.
“Old Glory”, located on Franklin Street in Martinsville at the Theatre Works Black Box is a 38’ by 18’ American Flag painted by world renowned artist Scott Lobaido. Just looking at the incredible detail of this mural you can almost see the flag rippling in the wind. The most remarkable thing about it is that the creation was completed in just one day! Lobaido, known for his speed painting techniques, created the patriotic work in honor of local veteran, Cpl. JB Kerns who lost three limbs while serving in Afghanistan.
The “Uptown Farmers’ Market Mural”, by Betty LaDuke, depicts the role of agriculture in society and showcases the people that help bring food to our tables. After the mural was mounted to the wall at the Market on Church Street in Martinsville, a group of high school students under the direction of local artist Celia Tucker created their own interpretations of LaDuke’s work. The student’s wooden painted cutouts of produce and farmers can be seen throughout the Market.
The newest mural in Uptown Martinsville is “June German Ball.” Located on Martinsville's historic Fayette Street, the mural depicts a fictional scene from one of Martinsville's famed June German Balls, which were popular within the African American community in the early part of the 20th century. These balls were held yearly, in the heat of June, and featured celebrated entertainers from the Jazz age like Jimmie Lunceford & His Dance Orchestra, who performed at the event in 1938. The mural was designed and painted by Abigail Kieselbach and Briana Amos, interns participating in the New College Institute's summer internship program; local artists Charles Hill, Iris Gillispie and Lex Hairston; Piedmont Arts intern, Ally Sneed; New College Institute's Coordinator of Experimental Learning, Katie Croft; and Piedmont Arts' Director of Marketing, Communications and Design, Bernadette Moore.
Just a short walk from Uptown, you can see a variety of sculptures. The brushed steel sculpture, “Kabuki Dancer” by Barry Tinsley can be seen on the grounds of Piedmont Arts on Starling Avenue. Artist Ed Dolinger created a variety of sculptures, inspired by nature, that are found along the Uptown Connection Trail and Silverbell Trail in Martinsville. They include large-scale leaves, Silverbell blooms and small bronze sculptures of native Virginia wildlife. Young children will especially love searching for Dolinger’s bronze animals that are “hidden” along the corridor of the Silverbell Trail. There are eight animals to be found, including a rabbit, frog, turtle and trout.
Just a short drive from Martinsville, in the Village of Fieldale, you’ll find an iconic structure now repurposed as a piece of trail art. The 1931 Fieldale Iron Bridge was a beloved part of the community as many tales revolved around events that occurred on, above and under the bridge. The iron truss bridge spanning the Smith River was slated to be destroyed in 2009 to make way for a more modern concrete bridge until the community rallied together to preserve a piece of it. Located in Fieldale along South River Road, the structure now bears the names of nearly one-hundred past and present residents that cared to see the bridge saved by contributing financially to the preservation effort.
For a more lighthearted category of art, drive around the community to see how many painted brontosaurus sculptures your family can find. Part of the exhibition “Dinosaurs on Parade” you can find the long-necked dinos in a variety of places throughout the community. See if you can locate the cowboy, the student, the mirror-ball dino and even the friendly fellow named “Bud Ice-cream-a-saurus.”
Two of the area’s indoor murals are available for viewing on weekdays. Inside the SunTrust Bank on Church Street, a 73-foot long mural by Richmond artist H. Warren Billings hangs just behind the teller’s counter. The mural, which took a year to complete, highlights Virginia and local history. It features eight detailed scenes from 1705-1832, including: The Capital in Williamsburg; Richmond; The Henry County Courthouse; The Colonel Joseph Martin House; The Major John Redd House; Stratford Hall; Redd House; and Lover's Leap in Patrick County.
One of the most historic works of art in the community is the 1939 fresco, “Manufacture of Furniture” by Walter Carnelli. The mural is located in the historic Bassett Post Office on Fairystone Park Highway in Bassett and it depicts scenes of furniture makers at work. This is one of a series of murals across Virginia that was commissioned by the WPA under the Treasury Department. The fresco technique involved painting onto wet lime plaster. As the plaster dried, the pigments were embedded and became part of the building’s walls.
From industry and architecture to history, nature and culture, the topics of area works of public art are very diverse. Have fun discovering each of these area treasures with your family and who knows - you might inspire a future generation of artists!
If you need help locating any of these public art sites, visit the Martinsville-Henry County Visitor Center (191 Fayette Street, Martinsville) for maps and helpful information. While there, pick up a copy of the Family Fun Passport that will enable you to earn a free t-shirt, just for visiting some of these sites.
Beautiful scenery and unique landscapes is what brought Thompson Creations, to the Martinsville-Henry County area. Their sole purpose was to use the Martinsville Hydro Plant Bridge as the backdrop for a Volvo Truck print advertisement or possible commercial. While in town the crew from Thompson Creative, Blackhorse Studios and Volvo enjoyed delicious food from area restaurants, had a rejuvenating nights sleep at an area hotel and experienced great hospitality.