A perfect choice of artists

Published 7:46 pm Monday, January 10, 2011

When the school launched its Art Show and Sale 25 years ago, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy saw no need to look further than its Tidewater neighbors to find the appropriate artist to feature. Over in Portsmouth, it found J. Robert Burnell, a Hampton Roads treasure, well known for his portrayals of some of the area’s favorite landmarks and many of its most iconic scenes.

Burnell was an obvious choice for the featured artist position during that inaugural show and sale. The stroke of his brush has captured watermen plying their trade on the area’s rivers and creeks, it has memorialized the workboats of Tidewater and it has helped document some of Tidewater’s historic buildings.

Twenty-five years later, it makes even more sense for Burnell to be the featured artist for the Academy’s annual fundraising art event. During the time since it was first held, the event has become a showcase of talent, as well as an important fundraiser. Both the show and its artists have grown in stature during 25 years.

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Bringing Burnell back to NSA will be sort of like coming full circle for both the artist and the show. If he was a well known, appropriate choice for the featured artist position 25 years ago, his prolific and beloved work make him even more so today.

Congratulations to NSA for dreaming up an event that would remain important to the community even after 25 years. And congratulations to Burnell for the esteem the school and the community continue to have for him. The marriage of this artist and this show is one that honors them both.