May 2020 Newsletter

The Highland County Arts Council continues to look to the future when the coronavirus has been defeated and all of us can gather for workshops, performances and art openings. The Council, like other arts groups across Virginia and the United States, is urging all to take care so that the quarantine can work to limit the number of cases and ultimately release us from the quarantine. To that end, the Arts Council has made some difficult choices as it faces the future.

Performances: The Second Saturday schedule of performances by After Jack, Bill Jenkins and the VA Mountain Boys, and Robert Jospe have been cancelled. However, Tyler Hughes’ solo performance is rescheduled for August 8 and Banjoist John Bullard is scheduled for November 14. We are optimistic that we will be able to reschedule the other three in 2021.

Little Swiss Grant: Because of the quarantine, the schedule of workshops for the technical interns had to be postponed. Gary Kirby has created a series of lesson plans to introduce and train the interns in the sound design. A date to begin the workshops will be determined once the quarantine is lifted.

Highland Arts Academy: Donna Bedwell reports, “Another month has passed and our understanding of the impacts of COVID-19 continues to grow. We are monitoring social distancing and public gathering policies set by Virginia and remain committed to a final decision in June on whether to hold the 2020 Workshops scheduled for July 26 – August 7. We are discussing this decision among our Board members, instructors, community businesses, and those who have expressed interest in participating in a workshop. Registration remains open and could also give us insight on interest and preferences. We now have gift certificates available for creative gift giving. Save these dates or visit to register and reserve a space in a workshop now. Watch for announcements in June.”

Summer Drama Camp: Caroline Smith said, “I am very sad to report that there will be no drama camp this summer.” There are several reasons that made the decision. First, the head of Virginia’s Department of Education has declared that all school buildings are off limits until he lifts the ban. Highland’s Superintendent Dr. Schott does not anticipate the ban being lifted soon. “Things that make camp so special are having campers from other parts of the state attending and performing for a large audience on Friday and Saturday night,” said Smith. “Given our challenges to keep COVID19 in check, neither of these is really recommended. I will miss everyone and the work and pleasure we share during drama camp week.”

2020 Artists’ Weekend: The long-standing Arts Council event, the Annual Artists’ Weekend has been tentatively rescheduled for the first weekend in October. Many of the participants of the earlier weekend have expressed an interest in painting Highland’s colorful autumn views. Liz Delahoussaye, who organizes the Artists Weekends, wants to encourage folks to continue to exercise their creative side at home during these difficult times and join in the weekend as a painter or as a viewer of the exhibition on the final day.

© Highland County Arts Council | Site design by Augusta Free Press LLC