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Posts Tagged ‘the arts’

Celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month

by Casey | Posted on April 11th, 2014

If you have a love of jazz, you’ll find a lot to love in Virginia. April is Jazz Appreciation Month and as such, we’re shining a spotlight on our most beloved jazz musician, Ella Fitzgerald.

Don't miss the upcoming Hampton Jazz Festival in Hampton, Virginia.

Don’t miss the upcoming Hampton Jazz Festival in Hampton, Virginia.

Ella Fitzgerald, called “The First Lady of Song,” was born in Newport News, Virginia on April 25, 1917. Shortly after birth, she and her mother moved to Yonkers, New York. In 1934 Ella’s name was drawn to compete in Amateur Night at the Apollo. She planned to dance but changed her mind after seeing the dance act that preceded her. Instead, she sang “Judy” by Hoagy Carmichael and was cheered on to perform an encore. Impressed with the natural talent he saw, saxophonist and arranger Benny Carter helped Ella launch her career. Ella became the singer of the Tiny Bradshaw Band in 1935 before recording her first song, “Love and Kisses” in 1936. In 1938, Ella scored her first number one hit with “A-Tisket, A-Tasket.”

Highlights:

  • Worked with Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie
  • National Medal of Arts Award by President Ronald Reagan, 1987
  • NAACP Image Award for Lifetime Achievement, 1988
  • Recorded more than 200 albums
  • Thirteen-time Grammy Award winner
  • Gave her last concert in 1991 at Carnegie Hall
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom Award by President George H. W. Bush, 1992

Celebrate Ella Fitzgerald with a tour through Newport News to see her birthplace, or take in a show at The Hippodrome Theater in Richmond, a venue Ella played early in her career.

On what would be Ella’s 97th birthday (April 25), The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra will present A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News. Tickets from $29. Buy Now

Additional Notable Jazz Musicians from Virginia:

  • James Genus of Hampton is a jazz bassist who has played in the Saturday Night Live Band and most recently studio recorded with Grammy Award-winning Daft Punk. His talents are heard on “Giorgio by Moroder,” “Touch,” “Beyond,” “Motherboard,” “Fragments of Time,” and “Contact.”
  • Lonnie Liston Smith of Richmond is a jazz pianist and keyboardist who has recorded with the likes of Pharaoh Sanders and Miles Davis. Smith is noted for mashing jazz with rap in the 1990s.
  • Steve Wilson of Hampton is a jazz instrumentalist best known as a flautist and saxophonist.
  • Don Pullen was a Roanoke native and jazz pianist who was well received in Europe for his avant-garde style.

Upcoming Jazz Events:

Did we miss any jazz musicians in Virginia? If so, let us know by leaving a comment.

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Events, History | 2 Comments

5 Artsy Things to Do and See in 2014

by Casey | Posted on January 15th, 2014

The arts are alive and thriving this year in Virginia. Here are the top 5 places and things you need to see to round out 2014 – your year of art.

Brock Gallery, Chrysler Museum of Art

Brock Gallery, pre-expansion, Chrysler Museum of Art

1. After an extensive, 16-month expansion and enhancement campaign, the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk reopens its doors on May 10, 2014. Of note are upgraded heating and cooling to be more green and efficient, a greatly enlarged exhibit hall for glass and contemporary art, new galleries for American and European painting and sculpture, a bigger cafe area, Wi-Fi in every gallery, improved accessibility, traffic flow, and parking.

Watch For:

  • In the Box – “An intimate first-floor space dedicated to contemporary works in the digital realm,” is brand new to the Chrysler and will welcome four exhibits before the end of 2014.
  • Weitzer Community Gallery – You be the curator when your votes help to determine the pieces exhibited. Voting occurs online until February 26, 2014. Vote
  • 70 Years of Smokey Bear – This exhibit will go on display in August and will contain 19 works by Virginia artist Rudy Wendelin of Arlington. Wendelin “depicted the friendly firefighting bear with the ranger hat and shovel for four decades, and is often credited with immortalizing him in pop culture history.”

2. In October 2014, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond will welcome nearly 200 pieces from the Palace Museum in Beijing, China entitled, “Forbidden City: Imperial Treasures From the Palace Museum, Beijing”. The exhibition will include pieces from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. In exchange, VMFA will be the first museum in the United States to exhibit pieces in the Palace Museum, the most attended museum in the world with more than 11 million visitors annually.

3. From a musical point of view, celebrate 40 years of old time, country, and bluegrass music on stage at Carter Family Fold in Hiltons. Operational as a non-profit since 1974, the Fold acts as a tribute to the original Carter family (A.P. Carter, Sara Carter, and Maybelle Carter). The Carter family’s 1927 recordings are credited with launching the country music industry as we know it today.

If the name Carter sounds familiar to you and the paragraph above is not the reason why, perhaps June Carter Cash rings a bell? June was the daughter of Maybelle Carter and followed in her mother’s footsteps, performing with her sisters as the Carter Sisters, as well as the likes of Elvis Presley and her husband, Johnny Cash. June was a Grammy award-winning musician who passed away in 2003.

To get a feel for performances at Carter Family Fold, check out the Carter Fold Sessions embedded below.

4. Attend an arts festival. Pick one! Here are five good ones that should be on your list of contenders.

Spring: Virginia Arts Festival, Various Coastal Virginia – Hampton Roads Cities
April 18-19: Easter Decoy & Art Festival, Chincoteague
April 27-28: Virginia Hot Glass Festival, Staunton
May 23-25: Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival, Martinsville
June 12-15: Boardwalk Art Show & Festival, Virginia Beach

5. The American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton is the world’s only recreation of William Shakespeare’s indoor theatre, the Blackfriars Playhouse. If you’ve yet to experience a performance at Blackfriars, you’re missing out. Especially since 2014 would be William Shakespeare’s 450th birth year! Celebrate with cake, music, games, and more on April 20, 2014.

What would you add to the Virginia arts #BucketList for 2014? Leave a comment to let us all know.

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60 Films in 60 Days at the VMFA

by Casey | Posted on December 10th, 2013

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond  rolled out their first of “60 Films in 60 Days” on November 29 to coincide with their beautiful new exhibit, Hollywood Costume, on display through February 17. At a very reasonable $5 per person, seeing a film every now and again is an easy and affordable way to entertain guests into the New Year.

Superman ©Warner Bros/DC Comics/The Kobal Collection. Costume Design: John Bloomfield

Superman ©Warner Bros/DC Comics/The Kobal Collection. Costume Design: John Bloomfield

With titles like The Birds, The Matrix, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Chicago, Moulin Rouge, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Titanic, and Twilight Saga: New Moon, there’s certainly a film to appeal to most everyone.

Films are shown at 6:30 p.m. on Fridays and 1:30 p.m. the other days of the week.

See the Schedule

Prior to the movie, take your ticket stub to Amuse for a discount on lunch or dinner. Additionally, your receipt from Amuse will get you $1 off another film. Just take it to the Visitor Services desk for redemption.

Virginia is for Lovers.



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12 Places to Craft for Christmas

by Casey | Posted on November 21st, 2013

Some have green thumbs and others have fingers that can make something extraordinary from scraps. Is that you? I enjoy the challenge of crafting during the season of merriment and have identified 12 places for you to knock out some Pinterest inspiration and get your Picasso on.

Let's Paint, Virginia Beach

Let’s Paint, Virginia Beach

Paint-your-own pottery is a hit for those who don’t own a potter’s wheel and a kiln. Walk in, pick the piece you’d like to paint, and get to it. Some studios offer a flat fee where the price tag on the piece includes firing. Others offer a flat firing fee that applies to all of the pieces you paint that day.

  • All Fired Up has three locations in the metro Richmond region – Midlothian, Carytown and Short Pump
  • Color Me Mine is another Richmond paint-your-own business.
  • You Made It! LLC in Harrisonburg is open daily for your painting pleasure.

Keep your eye on art centers for class offerings geared toward adults or kids. You’ll find glass fusing, whittling, basketry, glass blowing, watercolor painting and more. You just need to know where to look!

Blow your own ornament at Sunspots in Staunton.

Blow your own ornament at Sunspots in Staunton.

  • Alleghany Highlands Arts and Crafts Center is located in Covington and has a Whittling Make-and-Take class for adults on November 23.
  • ArtSquare in Leesburg has many classes to offer, but of note is the Holiday Card Workshop for ages 10 and up on December 8.
  • Arts Depot in Abingdon has a Terra Cotta Angel workshop for all ages. Two dates: November 23 and December 7.
  • Bay School Community Arts Center is all about teaching. Sign up for a wide selection of upcoming classes: No-Sew Christmas Stocking, Christmas Tree Basket, Kids Gingerbread House and more.
  • Let’s Paint is located in Virginia Beach within Barclay Towers Resort on the oceanfront.
  • The Portsmouth Arts and Cultural Center is offering an Ornament and Tile Workshop November 29 and 30.
  • Sunspots Studios & Glass Blowing in Staunton invites you to blow your own glass ornament daily, by appointment.
  • The Glass Palette in Charlottesville is a studio where people of all ages can come in and fuse their own glass creations every day of the week.
  • The Jacksonville Center for the Arts in Floyd has a wide variety of classes coming up: Needle Felting, Solid and Blown Glass Ornaments, Metal Ornament Experience and more.

    The Glass Palette, Charlottesville

    The Glass Palette, Charlottesville

 

If you’re really not the crafty type but appreciate the art of others, explore our Arts Directory to locate an established painter, carver, potter, or other tradesperson for your holiday gift giving.

 

Virginia is for Lovers.



Events, Family, The Holidays | Comments Off

6 Virginia Trails for Arts and Culture

by Casey | Posted on September 18th, 2013

Take a drive that reaps rewards not with the scenery alone, but with the treasures along the way. The six trails below have been identified for their esteemed artisans and other relevant cultural experiences.

Rocky Knob area of the Blue Ridge Parkway

Rocky Knob area of the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Hidden Treasures Artisan Trail (HT) meanders through Patrick County in Southwest Virginia, leading you to and through a wealth of beauty. Marry it with the Floyd County Trail (FC) and the White Lightning Trail (WL) of Franklin County by way of the Blue Ridge Parkway, starting at Meadows of Dan. This trail is worthy of your 48 hours, be it weekday or weekend.

Key Highlights:

- Mountain Meadows Farm and Craft Market – corn maze and pumpkin patch, too! (HT)
- Mabry Mill (FC)
- Chateau Morrisette Winery (HT & FC)
- Villa Appalaccia Winery (HT & FC)
- Sarvisberry Gallery & Studios (FC)
- Tuggles Gap Restaurant & Motel (FC)
- Hensley Polseno Pottery (FC)
- Blue Ridge Institute and Farm Museum (WL)
- Moondancer Creations (WL)
- Icove Lighting Design Gallery (FC)

Download: Hidden Treasures | Floyd County | White Lightning

The Monticello Artisan Trail (MA) from the Blue Ridge Parkway through Nelson and Albemarle Counties pairs up nicely with the Nelson 151 Trail (151) and the Presidents Passport (PP) program.  Mix, mingle, and be merry!

Fall in Albemarle County

Fall in Albemarle County

Key Highlights:

- Wintergreen Resort (MA & PP)
- Mountain Vision Pottery (MA & PP)
- Devil’s Backbone Brewing Co. (MA & 151)
- Wintergreen Winery (151)
- Wild Wolf Brewing Co. (MA, PP & 151)
- Rockfish River Pottery (MA)
- Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery (MA, PP & 151)
- Nan Rothwell Pottery (MA & PP)
- Albemarle CiderWorks (MA)
- Carter Mountain Orchard (MA)
- Michie Tavern (MA & PP)
- Jefferson Vineyards (MA)
- Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello (MA & PP)

Monticello Artisan Trail Google Map or PDF | Sign Up for Presidents Passport | Nelson 151 Google Map

Where are you headed this fall in Virginia? Leave us a comment to tell us your favorite drive for foliage, your favorite festival, or whatever else you’d like to share about all the ways you LOVE fall in Virginia!

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