September 2020 Newsletter

As the virus continues to flourish in much of America, the arts, businesses, education, and social interactions have been drastically curtailed. Yet, the Highland County Arts Council continues its quest “to promote the arts and to provide cultural enrichment to the community.”   We are pleased that our work has been recognized by the Virginia Commission for the Arts with an operational grant and by the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge.  The Council is exploring avenues for broadening its reach into Highland County.  In next month’s newsletter, we hope to detail a new chapter in our work to invest in the quality of life in Highland County and to make this beautiful land an arts destination.


Arts Academy: The Highland Arts Academy has an exhibit of the items made in the 2020 Summer Workshops. The window is located in the old Highland County Craft Shop on Main Street in Monterey. We are grateful to Charlotte Stephenson of Shamrock and Stephenson Realty for providing this opportunity to showcase the creativity expressed in the three workshops. Barn Quilt Basics, Ecoprinting, and Basketry workshop participants learned new skills and are excited about sharing their experience – stop by and admire their art!

Artists Weekend:  The weekend of painting in Highland scheduled for October 2-4 has fallen victim of the pandemic.  Both the group dinner and the celebratory show for the community would have been impossible under the current regulations.  Our collective fingers are crossed that it will be possible to host the 2021 Artists’ Weekend planned for June 25-27.


Amazon Smile:  If you shop on Amazon, you can make a donation to the Highland County Arts Council by using Amazon Smile.  The costs, selection, and convenient are the same as To select the Arts Council, go to Type in Highland County Arts Council.  Each time you shop using Amazon Smile, a donation of 0.5% of your eligible purchase will be contribute to the Arts Council. There is no cost to the purchaser.



Second Saturdays at Seven:

The series will continue Saturday, September 12 at the Highland County Fairground.  Dr. Levin and the Dreaded Blues Lady, will bring an evening of acoustic blues music from the early twentieth century to today including early artists such as Bessie Smith, Ida Cox, Memphis Minnie, Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt, along with contemporary musicians such as Gaye Adegbalola, Keb’ Mo, and  Taj Mahal.  The duo also mixes in R&B, Classic Rock, and other blues-inspired songs, including their own compositions.

Lorie Strother, ‘The Dreaded Blues Lady’, has performed her interpretation of Blues music since the 1990s. In 2012, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities awarded Lorie an apprenticeship with blues singer Gaye Adegbalola, formerly of the trio Saffire ~ The Uppity Blues Women Years.

Stephen is a guitarist and a historian at the University of Virginia, where he studies and teaches about the evolution and cultural significance of blues music in American society. Whether it is the early acoustic based styles of the 20s and 30s, such as Mississippi Delta and Piedmont Blues, more recent, electric oriented styles, such as Chicago Blues, or original material, Stephen loves to play it all and share his music with others.


The Allegheny Mountain String Program (AMSP): 

One of the programs that the Highland County Arts Council supports will start its Fall season in September. Private lessons are available on violin, viola, cello, and string bass, as well as small ensemble experience. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will be “staying within counties” for ensembles. Therefore, there will be no orchestra (Allegheny Mountain String Orchestra) until further notice. If you are interested in contacting a teacher about lessons, please contact:

Highland County – Gretta Sandberg

Bath and Alleghany Counties – Jaime McArdle

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