July 2021 HCAC Newsletter

Mark your Calendar: July 10th, 5pm -LAWN PARTY at The Highland Center Blue Ridge Thunder & Monterey Lion’s Club Chicken

It’s time for an old fashioned Lawn Party! Join us at The Highland Center on July 10th at 5p for music by Blue Ridge Thunder and Lion’s Club Chicken!

Blue Ridge Thunder is from the heart of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The group was formed in late 2018. From traditional bluegrass to some more modern sounds, Blue Ridge Thunder provides a hard driving bluegrass set, along with some gospel and slower tunes.

Group Members –

Steve Good – He plays upright bass and sings lead, baritone and tenor.

Tim Lansberry – He plays guitar and sings lead and baritone.

Eddie Shifflett – He plays the mandolin and sings tenor, baritone and lead.

Zach Cardin – He plays banjo.


We invite you to bring a lawn chair and picnic to enjoy with the Lions’ Club Chicken.

Music Cost: Free Will Donation to cover cost of the band

Chicken Cost: $5/per half

LIVE IN PERSON AT The Highland Center in Monterey, VA.  In case of rain, the show will be moved inside.


Arts Academy: Eco Printing with Theresa Brown

The 2021 Arts Academy season had a great start on June 12th with the Ecoprinting Workshop. Instructor Theresa Brown led the participants through the process of dying silk and wool scarves using leaves and plants from their gardens to get a natural imprint on the surfaces of the fibers. Leaves are placed on the material and then tightly rolled and wrapped before simmering for up to 90 minutes.

When the results were unwrapped and dried, each person had unique and personalized scarves to take home. The measure of the success of the workshop was underscored as participants pulled out calendars to help plan the next session.

Planning is in process for fall workshops that will offer a variety of experiences.

On Friday, October 1, Theresa will show participants how to use the Ecoprinting techniques to dye on paper. This will be followed on Saturday with another workshop to dye with materials from nature on silk and wool.

On Sunday, October 3, those who have had previous experience in this art will then be given an opportunity to improve their skills with additional instruction on natural dying.


Creativity Corner: Karen Milnes

I’ve always been a visually stimulated person. I love to get up close and personal with the natural world and study every detail. I had my first experience with printmaking back in High School when a printmaker came to visit our classroom. I enjoyed it but didn’t think much more of it until a drawing professor in college recommended I take a course. I signed up and was hooked and came out with a degree in studio art with a concentration in printmaking to compliment my biology degree.

You’ll see that these two passions intersect in my artwork. Drawing inspiration from biological illustrators such as Ernst Haeckel, I sometimes like to make the subjects quite realistic but slightly fantastical. Like the lab work I did, printmaking has a methodology to it that really speaks to me. It takes a lot of effort to get consistent prints, and I enjoy what some might call tedious—but I look at as meditative—processes involved.

When I need to get my quick art fix, I still fall back on painting, but really, just about any medium will do—from graphic design to basketry!

If you would like to learn more about Karen’s art she can be reached at: www.KarenMilnes.com or www.etsy.com/shop/CabinCritter

Summer Season Details!

Building on its successful campaign to bring a wide-range of entertainment to Highland County residents and those of surrounding counties. the Arts Council will schedule a number of performances in and around Highland County.

On July 10, the Council will present The Blue Ridge Thunder, a Shenandoah Valley bluegrass band at the Highland Center Pavilion from 5 to 7 pm. The performance will be in conjunction with the Monterey Lions Club chicken bar-b-que.

The Council will provide two performances in August. Saturday, August 7, the Classical Trio Terra Voce will perform in the Highland Center Auditorium at 7 pm.

The performance supported by the Virginia Commission for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts and a gift from the family of Dorcas Jean Lohr.

On August 21, Tales Tall and Short will entertain its audience at the Church of the Old Oaks at 7 pm. Norma and Bucky Reynolds have recruited local talents to use words and music to create an evening of storytelling.

On September 11th, the Council will take its portable stage to the Highland Historic Museum in McDowell for an evening of music with Lorie Botkin at 7 pm.

All performances are free, but donations to the Arts Council are gratefully accepted and will be used to continue its work.

HCAC Receives Community Grant

The Highland County Arts Council was the recipient of a grant from the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge. The grant will be used to support the Council’s work “To Promote the Arts, provide enrichment to the community and make Highland County an Arts Destination.”

“The Arts Council is grateful for the on-going support of the Community Foundation,” said Donna Bedwell, President of the HCAC Board of Directors. “its funding helps us provide the many, many arts activities and educational opportunities that would not otherwise be available in Highland County. The $5000 grant will indeed encourage many to see Highland County as ‘an Arts Destination.’”

The HCAC will begin its summer season of performances on July 10 at the Highland Center Pavilion in a joint venture with the Monterey Lions Club. This will be followed by performances around the County by local musicians, actors, and storytellers. The Fall season will begin in October with a performance by the nationally known African-American Gospel Singers, Larnell Starkey and the Spiritual Seven, in the Highland Center Auditorium.

The Council’s Arts Academy will again offer multiple workshops in various visual arts media. A set of new workshops will join the previously well -attended programs. One will focus on printmaking and will be led by awarding-winning artist Karen Milnes. The second, Taking Better Pictures with a DSLR Camera will be taught by Elizabeth Larson.

Broom Making with Emily Bell

Emily Bell once again shared her love of the traditional craft of broom making with participants in this workshop on June 29. Emily taught a popular whisk broom workshop in 2020 and returned to instruct participants in the skill of making a sweeper broom.

The process began with selecting the stick to be used as the handle and then proceeded to securing broomcorn with weaving techniques.

The finished creations will make the ordinary task of sweeping floors, with a handmade broom, a much more pleasant task.

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