Category Archives: Happenings

Open Studios: Gina Louthian-Stanley

Gina Louthian-Stanley has been a creative person since she was born. In the first grade, she won her first art award for her visual narrative of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.” She continued taking as many art classes as possible throughout school. While she learned techniques in college, most of what she does today is a combination of those techniques used in a totally new and different way.
“Formal training has brought its rewards,” Gina says, “but self-exploration has produced the greatest results. By taking all of the insights  that my teachers have taught me, I’ve been able to merge them to create my own artistic style or styles. Experimental art has always fascinated me.”
Which may be why Gina uses a variety of mediums including cold wax, encaustic, watercolor, oil, monotype and intaglio printmaking, pastel and ink drawing, pottery, and jewelry making. She even mixes the medium at times to “push the limit” of what the medium can do to convey the ethereal atmospheric landscape that she loves.

Which is your favorite medium, and why?
I have two passions at the moment, working in wax and printmaking. I have been a printmaker since the 70s, and working in hot and cold wax at least ten years. With the encaustic mediums, I can utilize photography, printmaking, and painting. I have also been introducing encaustic mediums into jewelry pieces. I am attracted to the natural elements of the damar resin and beeswax. 

What/who are your inspirations?
All of my inspirations come primarily from the earth and nature. I am influenced by artists and writers who are intrigued by nature and natural elements. I am also inspired by music and always have it playing in my studio. 

Would you say that any of your work is a reflection of living in Roanoke? 
Most certainly. I have lived in Roanoke all of my life and have always been inspired by the landscape here. I have a particular piece, Bent Mountain Marsh, that was created from a memory of a place. I was there on a clear blue day and the reflected blues of the sky in the glass-clear water against the textured brown grasses on the bank etched in my mind. I had to paint it. 
For me, driving to work and seeing a heavy mist rising just above the earth in the early morning sunlight–that moment, you take a deep breath and all is right in the world.

Gina’s work will be available alongside participating artists through Open Studios Roanoke, beginning on April 29-30. Visit www.openstudiostourroanoke.com for more information on Gina and participating artists!

 

Open Studios Artist: Meridith Brehmer Entingh

Meridith Bremer Entingh developed a fascination with textiles when she was very young. She started knitting at age seven, and continued to explore the things she could do with fiber. In the 60s and 70s, she worked with embroidery, macrame, and needlepoint. Under the guidance of her father, she switched her major from textiles to business in college, but she never lost her love for working with fiber.

“In the mid-1990s, I became friends with a wonderful weaver, Jane Kinzler Anthony. She had a studio in her basement where she wove beautiful tapestries she sold as office art, as well as functional weaving,” Meridith recalls. “Just seeing what she wove inspired me.” Meridith began taking classes at an arts studio in Old Town Alexandria, and volunteered to work in their yarn shop. She purchased her first loom within the year.

How long have you lived in Roanoke?
We moved here 11 years ago. Part of the criteria for purchasing our home was that there be a room for my weaving studio. Our house has this great little room, 11×11 with built-in cupboards. There was room for my loom and plenty of storage. I quickly outgrew the room with the purchase of my second floor loom in 2007. So, in 2013 , we built a new weaving studio. I bought another large floor loom this year, so now it has two large floor looms, and it is bursting at the seams. 

How long have you been involved with Open Studios?
This is my fourth year on the tour. I asked to be involved in 2014 when my new studio was completed. In my travels around the area to do demonstrations, people are fascinated with how the loom works and they want to know about the process. For this reason, I felt that my studio would be a good addition to the tour. By visiting the studio, people can see all of the tools and the process from start to finish.

Do you have a favorite piece? Why is it your favorite?
My favorites evolve over time. One is the first scarf I ever made 13 years ago. It was woven on a 4-harness table loom. It’s made of alpaca, in cream and a pale grey green. I found the design in a weaving book and was very pleased by the result. I know that creating it inspired me to continue weaving. Most recently, I’ve enjoyed creating table runners and wall hangings using many colors and geometric designs. It’s as close as I can get to drawing and painting with yarn.

Would you say that any of your work is more a reflection of living in Roanoke or your travels and experiences outside of Roanoke?
Both. I’ve lived in many places including up state New York, Oregon, Colorado, and Northern Virginia before moving to Roanoke eleven years ago. I think my work is a reflection of the diversity of the places I have lived in my life. Last year, I designed and wove a ministerial stole for my church. I wanted the stole to be representative of the Roanoke Valley. It is hand painted (dyed) in curves that remind me of our mountains with the Roanoke Star placed on top of the curves. When worn, the Star sits just below the minister’s left shoulder where he can touch it when expressing something heartfelt. 

Meridith’s work will be available alongside participating artists through Open Studios Roanoke, beginning on April 29-30. Visit www.openstudiostourroanoke.com for more information on Meridith and participating artists!

Open Studios Artist: Elaine Fleck

Elaine Fleck has been involved with Open Studios Roanoke on and off for the last ten years. However, her use of oil on fabric goes back to when she was a teenager. Eventually, she moved on to fabric and embroidery to create her work.

“After some time, I experimented with painting in acrylics on fabric and then completely switched to oil and fabric,” she explains. “So one could say I have been cutting things to bits for over 40 years!”

Who are your inspirations?
I tend to like artists that use either a lot of texture or color. For painters, I like Gustav Klimt and Matisse. Lately, I am inspired by mosaic artists and this has led me to creating some new mosaic sculpture–specifically my mosaic shoe collection that will be featured on the Open Studios Tour this year along with my paintings. Locally, I like the mural artist Toobz. His piece in the Wasena Tap Room rocks! I love the creative license he gives himself.

Do you have a favorite painting? What makes it your favorite?
Right now, my favorite painting is “Jesus Saves.” I think the couple in this painting look so comfortable under that iconic Roanoke landmark. I like the fact that the painting is pretty simple in design, mainly consisting of the sign, the field, and the couple. 

How does your work reflect living in Roanoke?
“Jesus Saves” is most definitely a reflection of my living in Roanoke for the last 20 years. I had been looking at that sign for years and did not know what kind of a scene I wanted to set up. One day, after walking by that sign for probably the 50th time, it unfolded before me. My favorite model and her husband are the models for that painting. 

Elaine’s work will be available alongside participating artists through Open Studios Roanoke, beginning on April 29-30. This is a great opportunity to check out her paintings and mosaic sculpture work! Visit www.openstudiostourroanoke.com for more information on Elaine and participating artists!

Open Studios Artist: Jamie Nervo

Jamie Nervo’s need for art started when she was a child. Her father was in the military, and she is the oldest of seven children who spent their early years moving around a lot. The joy to create art was the one thing that followed her throughout her travels.

“My work depicts life’s everyday events with a twist, masking the harsh realities of life and focusing instead on the positive and lighthearted issues we encounter each day,” she explains. “We are bombarded with negative imagery and events that echo over and over in our minds. My colorful abstractions shut out those unsavory events and look at life in a patchwork of pleasant ideas and color.”

How long have you been involved with Open Studios?
It has been about 10 years. I’ve been showing up with the same great group of artists for a while: Winn Ballenger, Barry Wolfe, and Nan Mahone. We all set up in Barry’s driveway and peddle our art. I’ll show up with them until they kick me out of the group. Rain or shine, it’s always worth doing the show.

What are your inspirations?
Attending museums or visiting galleries, travel, and studying people. Looking at other art excites me, and I can’t wait to get to the studio downstairs in my house to paint. I get all charged up and the energy builds. A couple cups of tea helps too! My landscapes are definitely a reflection of living on Bent Mountain. The view is mighty fine. Changing cloud formation, color, and shadows keep me inspired to paint.

Can you tell us a little about your creative process?
Without much thought, I usually just go for it. What I create is raw and immediate, using an open mind. I don’t second guess things, I just put down strokes of paint and add color. Sometimes I create ugly messes, but out the mess there is always beauty or something interesting. Discovering the unknown and pushing the envelope always feels good. There are a lot of times when I say to myself, “This looks like crap.” But I keep going, and then the painting either evolves, or it doesn’t. There are also the safe paintings that are within the bounds of the familiar like chickens and dogs. These are abstract realism with a twist.

What impression do you hope to leave with your work?
My work is upbeat and happy. When I’m not feeling it, I usually don’t paint. There is enough sadness and destruction in the world. I hope they bring a little happy chuckle to everyone.

Jamie’s work will be available alongside participating artists through Open Studios Roanoke, beginning on April 29-30. She will offer primarily oil paintings, but will also have a few encaustic paintings available for purchase. Visit www.openstudiostourroanoke.com for more information on Jamie and participating artists!

Strong is the New Pretty

Kate T. Parker began taking photos of her girls in everyday life–biking, playing soccer, discovering tide pools–and quickly came to realize the most resonant images captured her daughters’ true, authentic selves. Her recent book, Strong is the New Pretty, is a celebration of the tenacious spirit inherent within all girls. Featuring Parker’s stunning photography alongside advice and wisdom from her subjects, the book demonstrates that all girls are unstoppable.

“As the project grew, I met and photographed hundreds of girls from all over the country, and I learned that strength doesn’t ways come in one package, and it doesn’t always manifest itself the way it does in my girls,” Parker explains.

This book features girls reading or studying, girls jumping in mud and leaves, girls comforting their best friend, girls on the playing field, and girls creating art, among many other awesome activities reflecting their mental and physical strength. It reminds us that beauty is not about being a certain size, having your hair done a certain way, or wearing a certain dress. It is about being yourself.

Head over to www.katetparker.com to learn more about the author. We will be giving away a copy of Strong is the New Pretty on our Facebook page tomorrow! For those that do not win, you can purchase it here.

Fearless Release Party

We are excited to sponsor the official release party for Fearless–A Woman’s Guide to Self Protection by Logan Doughty at Parkway Brewing Company on Sunday, Marcy 26!

The event will begin at 4 pm, and will feature the author Logan Doughty, also owner and instructor at Personal Self Protection LLC.
Guests can use this opportunity to participate in a question and answer session on Personal Self Protection, promotions throughout the evening, raffle drawings, and more!

Those who purchase Fearless will receive their own SABRE pepper spray, and can have the book signed while they are there. Foster Burton, lead singer of Mad Iguanas, and Teresa Berry, of SARA Roanoke, will also be in attendance.

There is no cover charge for this event. RSVP on Facebook, and let us know you are coming!

 

 

Opera Roanoke Makes Case for the Arts

In a time when the NEA (National Endowment of the Arts) might face elimination due to proposed budget cuts, Opera Roanoke is pushing for more arts & culture in the region.
The 41-year-old non-profit organization announced the appointment of Nancy Harder as the Director of Outreach and Associate Conductor.
“I am thrilled to join Opera Roanoke in a leadership role after my involvement as a pianist and vocal coach,” says Ms. Harder. “Opera Roanoke is an innovative, exciting opera company with a national reputation that is an integral part of the arts & culture scene in Roanoke and the New River Valley. I look forward to playing a significant role in its future.”
Opera Roanoke was recently named as one of only a handful of recipients of OPERA America’s highly competitive Building Opera Audiences grant.
“The most recent grant awardees demonstrate the many ways companies are developing innovative strategies to not only attract audiences, but to increase the civic impact of new works — by engaging generative artists with local communities, developing partnerships with organizations outside the arts, and facilitating dialogue to connect storytelling with contemporary issues”, said Marc Scorca, OPERA America President/CEO.
Following the OPERA America announcement, Opera Roanoke was awarded a $50,000 challenge grant from the Ceres Foundation. The grant must be matched by new contributions before June 30. The grant will assist Opera Roanoke in leveraging funds towards its productions, programs and youth music education opportunities in our region.
As a way to connect with new audiences, Opera Roanoke will be holding its first “Opera Tap Takeover” at Soaring Ridge Brewery on April 19 at 6pm. The fundraising event includes great southern food, live music and craft beer.
And on April 28 & 30, Opera Roanoke will present Carlisle Floyd’s American opera Susannah at the Jefferson Center under the baton of Metropolitan Opera conductor, Steven White. Artistic Director Scott Williamson will direct the company premiere of Floyd’s award-winning “folk” opera, set in the Appalachian mountains, which will feature the mainstage debut of Met Opera soprano, Danielle Talamantes.
“We couldn’t be more excited and grateful for all of the great things happening right now,” said Williamson. “The recognition and support from OPERA America, one of the leading arts organizations in the country, and the matching grant from one of our most generous foundations just heightens the anticipation of our premiere production of Floyd’s Susannah. We hope our community here will not only share the excitement of our good news, but will join us for this moving and lyrical drama, full of music which sounds like it came from our beloved Blue Ridge Mountains.”

For more information on Opera Roanoke, and how you can help give back to keep the arts alive in our region visit www.operaroanoke.org.

Spring Happenings!

As the weather gets warmer, your schedule should begin to look a little brighter. With fun events happening locally throughout March, there will be something for the whole family. Check out our favorites below:

McDonald’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Shamrock Festival
Don’t miss the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration on Saturday, March 11, beginning at 11 am in Downtown Roanoke. This is a great event for families with two free McDonald’s Kid’s Zone locations available from 12 to 5pm. Children can enjoy games, inflatables, face painting, and more in front of the Taubman Museum of Art on Salem Avenue and in Market Square. Corned Beef & Co. will host a Celtic Celebration from 10 am to 5 pm, and Martin’s St. Pats Block Party will open at 11 am. Visit www.downtownroanoke.org for more information.

American Impressionism in the Garden at the Taubman Museum of Art
The American Impressionism in the Garden exhibit at the Taubman Museum of Art includes several new loans from major institutions across the United States. During the late 19th century, many American Impressionist artists studied alongside their French counterparts in Paris and Giverny to capture light’s fleeting effects by painting en plein air, or outside. They distinguished themselves by depicting uniquely American subjects—notably, the garden. This exhibition explores that era, breathing in the fresh aroma of a world in bloom. It will be on view until May 14. Go to www.taubmanmuseum.org for information.

Just Stevii Presents: Experience!
A free event to encourage women to empower themselves and reach their full potential is a great way to celebrate Women’s History Month. That’s why we are so excited that Just Stevii Presents: Experience! will take place at the Kirk Family YMCA on Friday, March 17 from 5 to 9 pm. Roanoke is one of four stops on Stevii Aisha Mills’ cross-country tour. Stevii is a motivational speaker with a goal to help women who are dedicated to pushing past their past to loudly (and proudly!) declare, “I love my life!” Her event will feature several fantastic vendors, including The Purposeful Speaker and Total Life Changes. Visit www.stevii.com/experience to learn more.