Arts venues collaborate on event

Published 9:40 pm Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Downtown Suffolk will draw art lovers from all around this Sunday as part of a grant-funded event to get more people interested in the arts and bring people downtown.

Three arts venues and four nearby eateries that feature art on their walls will participate this weekend in “The heART and Soul of Downtown Suffolk: A Walkable Arts Destination.”

“We want to get people to come to Suffolk and see what it’s all about and see we have a wonderful art community here,” said Susan Babiy, director of development at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts. “We are trying to make Suffolk a destination for art lovers.”

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The event is the kickoff of the new marketing initiative by the downtown arts venues. The marketing campaign is funded by a matching grant from Virginia Commission for the Arts and Virginia Tourism Corporation. The venues, along with the city and a few local businesses, pooled funds to match the grant, said Linda Bunch, executive director of the Suffolk Art League.

“It really is one of those wonderful public/private deals that will help promote downtown,” Bunch said.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, each of the venues will have demonstrations, special exhibits and deals to entice visitors.

The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, 110 W. Finney Ave., will have an exhibit of children’s art, titled “Me as a Child,” on display in conjunction with the Minds Wide Open statewide initiative “Celebrating Children and the Arts 2012.” The exhibit is a Virginia Museum of Fine Arts traveling exhibit.

The Suffolk Art Gallery, 118 Bosley Ave., will have six artists demonstrating various mediums from 1 to 4 p.m. Ryan Gothrup, a visiting artist through the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Statewide Outreach Program, will have a mobile hot glass studio on the grounds.

“Anytime you can watch somebody work with hot glass is just fascinating,” Bunch said. “To watch somebody take the molten glass and form it into something is a really neat experience.”

In addition, there will be demonstrations of basket making by Sherry Matthews, painting by John Taylor, precious metal, clay and fused glass techniques by Cynthia Quesenberry, wood carving by Ed Morrison and silk painting by Angelia Armstrong.

The Shooting Star Gallery, 118 N. Main St., will celebrate the opening of its “The Joy of Life” exhibit from 2 to 4 p.m. The exhibit features oil and watercolor works by four women — Betsy Brothers and Nancy Dempsey, both of Suffolk, and Doris Jordan and Edith White, both of Norfolk. The works present a chronicle of life experiences from the artists. The exhibition will continue through June 30.

Local eateries also will support the event. Mosaic Café, inside the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, will feature a special heART and Soul menu for brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

At the Plaid Hatter, 116 W. Washington St., patrons can enjoy a taste of different teas to be featured in the new tea room. At the Plaid Turnip, 115 N. Main St., and Rosa’s Coffee Cantina, 149 N. Main St., patrons can enjoy the offerings and the local artist work on the walls.

Adding another dimension to the arts event, each of the participating venues and restaurants is in an adaptive reuse building — buildings that used to be schools, libraries and other uses.

There is no admission charge at any of the venues. For more information, call 514-7284 or 925-0448 or visit the new website of the marketing initiative, www.heartandsoulsuffolk.com.