According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of ‘reflower’ is “to blossom or flourish anew”. As we enter a season where plants stop making their food and the sun tends to shy away, there are still flowers blooming everywhere we look. They might be hiding behind buildings or underneath city sidewalks, but they are there, signifying life and new beginnings. Another place flowers are blossoming this fall is at 600 Main Street, within and along the walls of The Ann White Academy Gallery.
On the first Friday of each month, the Academy Center of the Arts unveils the latest art exhibits of local, regional, and national artists. Presenting their works in numerous mediums, ‘First Fridays’ is an event dedicated to art and artists that are constantly flourishing. The group exhibition bringing life to autumn this October is “A Cultural Reflowering”. Featuring pieces from the members of the Garden Club of Virginia, all of the paintings and photographs that appear in the gallery are done by 48 unique artists from across the state of Virginia.
This year, the Hillside Garden Club of Virginia wanted to bring to life all of the current rejuvenation and renaissance happening in the city of Lynchburg. They settled on “reflowering”, dedicating time and energy to bringing the best of our town to life. Dedicating their green thumbs and passion for gardening, The Garden Club of Virginia sets out to restore the natural beauty of the state and cities we call “home”.
Sallie Sydnor, an artist within the club, had a painting featured in the exhibit that depicted imagery directly from Lynchburg’s Old City Cemetery. “I wanted to convey the majesty of these old trees, kind of overseeing their section of the Old City Cemetery,” she said, “The light bouncing off them that Fall morning was captivating, highlighting the dimensions and textures in the bark and foliage.” When asked what ‘First Fridays’ is to her, Sallie said, “What I love about First Fridays is that it’s a planned event where we can all come together and socialize while enjoying a common appreciation of art. It throws a spotlight on Lynchburg’s rich arts scene, and encourages the creative spirit.”
Ted Batt, Director of Visual Arts, also holds a special place in his heart for ‘First Fridays’. He said, “The unique aspect about ‘First Fridays’ in October was that this was the first juried show that I have personally done in the 17 years that I have been at the Academy. I have always hired an artist, university faculty member, or a museum professional to jury a show so it was a different expectation knowing that my choices were subject to pleasure and or criticism!”
On the topic of working with the Garden Club of Virginia, Batt voiced, “Perhaps my favorite thing was meeting new artists from Virginia. It was a thrill to have 48 artists from all over the state of Virginia participate in the exhibition. It was a pleasure to work with the artists/members from the Garden Club of Virginia – I knew some of the artists but met a lot of new people who were showing for the first time at the Academy!”
October’s ‘First Fridays’ was one to remember. The evening was complete with live jazz music by the wonderful Donna Kay & The Carousers, a bar in the middle of the gallery, and smiling patrons enjoying all kinds of new art.
Each paint stroke and flower petal within the Gallery’s walls delicately tells a story, and we are here to ensure those stories are told. As the season of harvest, worry, and busyness threatens to consume the lovers of Virginia, art continues to prevent any kind of wilting to occur in our state and in our hearts.
Couldn’t make it to this month’s ‘First Fridays’? No worries – November is just around the corner! Mark your calendars and learn more about our upcoming First Fridays events listed here. See you there!