Making Highland an Arts Destination:  The Arts Council Board of Directors spent a Sunday afternoon to discuss what the work of the Council should be in the next five years and map out strategies to accomplish those goals. The consensus was that the Council, whose purpose “to Promote the Arts and provide enrichment to the community,” could use its activities to draw visitors to Highland County while continuing to provide arts experiences for the local community.  Accomplishing that goal will require partnering with other Highland organizations. More specific plans are being developed.

Economic Impact of the Arts: According to recent studies and an article published by Forbes Magazine, arts and culture are an under-appreciated economic force.  According to the last study, arts and culture represents 4.3 % of the GDP or more than $800 billion in economic activity. That is a greater percentage than either agriculture or transportation.  And according to the study, the arts account for a surplus in the trade balance by delivering more cultural goods and services  abroad than the nation imports.  

Art Exhibits: Then and Now, Artworks  by Elizabeth McClung will open on March 28 and run to early May.  The exhibit consists of print and watercolors, both early works and new pieces.  The Reception for the exhibit was held on April 7.

Artists’ Weekend: The work continues to organize the annual weekend (June 29-30) when painters from around the state and beyond will join those from Highland.   The relaxing low-key event is dubbed “just for the joy of it.” A Sunday, June 30, West Paint Show will be open to the public at the Highland Center.  For more information check the Highland Chamber of Commerce website or contact Liz Delahoussaye at edelahoussaye@yahoo.com

April Performances: April will bring two performances to the Highland Center. After Jack, a trio of female folk singers, will be the Arts Council’s Saturday, April 13 performance at the Highland Center at 7 pm.The group won the 2014 Americana Vocal Group of the Year given by the Appalachian Cultural Music Association. The trio is said to “seamlessly blend bluegrass, gospel and folk” music.  They are especially noted for their vocal harmonies.  The three members play an assortment of traditional instruments to compliment the sound.

On Sunday, April 28 at 3 pm, Heifetz On Tour will bring a set of outstanding young classical musicians to the Highland Center.  Highland is one stop on a tour that takes the performers around Virginia and the East Coast. The program will include works by Bach, Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Mark O’Connor and features violinist Ria Honda, cellist Dominic Lee, and pianist Jingxuan Zhang.

Coming Performances: On May 11,  Bobby BlackHat Band will give Highland a taste of the blues.  The group is led by Bobby “BlackHat” Walters a harmonica player, vocalist, songwriter, comedian, and actor.  Bobby has won two Blewzzy Awards for “Song of the Year” and had the honor of opening for Blues Legends B.B King, Taj Mahal, and Steady Rollin Bob Margolin.  In 2016, the Bobby BlackHat Band advanced to the FINALS of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN.

 2019 Arts Academy: Creative learning in a tranquil environment After months of planning and activity, the Highland Arts Council is proud to announce the launch of the 2019 Arts Academy summer workshops.  Complete information about the classes, instructors, and registration can be found on the new website www.highlandartsacademy.com. Of the four workshops offered this summer, basketry, barn quilt painting, pottery, and stained glass, artists and crafters will choose one week-long workshop. This will offer an opportunity to learn basic skills, complete projects, and add a new dimension to your art. Class size is limited and personalized instruction will be a key element of each session. Register early!

Drama Camp: How to Eat Like a Child by Delia Ephron will be performed by students in the summer camp. The musical celebrates the joys and sorrows of being a child.  The Drama Camp will be held at the Highland Elementary School the week of June 24-28. Performances will be the 28thand 29th.  Tuition is $85 with a $10 script fee.  Scholarships are available.  Contact Caroline Smith at carolineanddoug@htcnet.orgfor more information.

Highland High School Jazz Band:  On March 28th, ten high school students and their band director took to the Highland Center stage to perform some of the most popular jazz hits of all time.  The concert featured tunes in nearly every style of jazz from the 1930s to the 1960s. Highlights of the night included Benny Goodman’s Sing Sing Sing, Thelonious Monk’s Round Midnight, Dave Brubeck’s Take Five, Glenn Miller’s In the Mood, andNina Simone’sFeeling Good.  Highland High School Band’s next performance will be Thursday, May 30that 7:00 in The Highland Center Auditorium.  In their final concert of the school year, the band will play songs from your favorite movies and musicals.

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