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Suffolk’s artistic eye

Published 9:32pm Monday, March 17, 2014

Whenever art is displayed in public in Suffolk, chances are good Linda Bunch has something to do with it.

As executive director for the Suffolk Art League, she coordinates several gallery shows every year at the Suffolk Art Gallery on Bosley Avenue, sometimes lending her own creative clay work, always hand-thrown, that frequently features natural motifs such as leaf patterns.

Linda Bunch, a clay artist and executive director of the Suffolk Art League, is always ready with a plug for Suffolk artists and their art.
Linda Bunch, a clay artist and executive director of the Suffolk Art League, is always ready with a plug for Suffolk artists and their art.

It was little surprise to anyone, least of all her mother Betty Glasscock, when Linda became a clay artist. The propensity was obvious from her earliest choices of playtime activities.

“I have fond memories of mud puddles as a child,” said the diminutive and short-haired Bunch, who has a ready smile and is quick with a plug for Suffolk artists and their art. “My mother always said she always knew where she could find me; she looked for the closest mud puddle.”

Betty Glasscock, too, was an artist, a musician who also enjoyed fabric art and ceramics. But her understanding of the creative gene didn’t stop her from making her children do what was right. Upon finding Linda and her sister Lisa playing in a mud puddle one time when it was time for children’s choir practice, Betty Glasscock simply hosed the girls down and sent them across the street to the church.

Her mother’s wasn’t the only creative gene Bunch inherited. Her paternal grandfather was a painter, and her father Sam Glasscock still enjoys woodcarving.

“I came from quite a creative family,” she said.

Bunch’s first job threatened to upend that family legacy, however. In high school, she worked for a Chuckatuck company that made microscope slides, a gratuitously technical and tedious process for a creative mind like Bunch’s. She got away as soon as she could and, after graduating from John Yeates High School in 1976, earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Virginia Commonwealth University.

She returned to what she considers her home in Suffolk, though she spent her first year in Germany after being born there during her father’s military service.

Her first employment in the arts world was at a hobby ceramics shop at Carrollton’s Nike Park. She soon moved from being a volunteer at the Suffolk Art League to being its executive director.

Though her job ranges from writing grants to hanging art to sending out postcards reminding folks about the next show, her favorite part of the job is the people, including the dozens of volunteers who help make the league’s events happen.

“It’s just interesting finding out how they came to be here, how they developed and the way they create art,” she said.

She especially enjoys working at the kids’ workshops the art league holds (“We encourage them to create any way they want; grass doesn’t have to be green,” she said) and promoting the importance of art in society, particularly in education.

“Every leader is an artist,” she said. “If you can only do what people have already done, where would the Apples and the Microsofts be?”

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